As technology blurs the line between digital and physical medical care, private practices and doctors must start using technology to promote the intimate connection necessary in doctor-patient relationships. In 2017, more than 95% of non-federal acute care hospitals used information technology for health care. Technology in medicine is widespread and growing, redefining how we think about healthcare.
To efficiently implement the use of technology and digital capabilities in the medical industry, be aware of the opportunities this evolution allows and consider all of them when developing a unique strategy.
Telehealth is a new industry that combines doctor availability with remote accessibility. Different platforms offer doctors who can chat (via video or text) with patients about a variety of issues. These doctors on demand can be general physicians or any type of specialist. Often, telehealth can even include robotic chatbots who can help with very basic health needs.
Another type of telehealth is remote care with one's existing doctor. For instance, if you have a relationship with a doctor and want to follow up on a visit or connect about a health issue for another reason, many providers offer platforms that will allow patients to directly communicate with their doctor.
Telehealth has been praised for increasing the overall accessibility of the overall populace to healthcare as well as decreasing ER visits.
The advent of electronic health records (EHRs) has shifted the way that medical records are stored and accessed. Cloud technology has been introduced into the medical industry as a way of storing EHRs easily. Using the cloud means that scaling the use of EHRs quickly and easily. Furthermore, platforms have been created that allow patients to access and view their health records and information, sharing the information from provider to consumer, which can ultimately increase the efficacy of care as patients are more informed of their health situation and healthcare decisions.
Devices like FitBit have revolutionized medical tech as part of a recent trend in wearable tech. These medical devices have changed the accessibility of personal health data for individual consumers, and have made considerations of health more a part of our everyday lives.
Something often overlooked is the potential digital marketing has on the medical industry. For instance, the use of social media to connect doctors with patients and spread medical tips could help make health information easily accessible as well as fun. There is also a huge opportunity to gauge responses via this type of marketing to learn more about consumers.
Research and development
Innovation is ever increasing! It's important to consider the benefits of investing in research and development. The future and implications of ideas like healthcare robotics and machine learning are still in their infancy but quickly growing with a lot of potential for decreasing the cost and increasing the quality of healthcare while influencing the doctor-patient relationship.
Looking to the future
As these new innovations have rocked the marketplace of digital medical tech, they have simultaneously brought with them their fair share of problems. In an increasingly intertwined and connected world, the security of sensitive medical information is more important than ever. Safe data strategies need to have measures in place for data security while remaining HIPAA compliant.
These measures need to both physical and virtual. For instance, providers must store devices used to record EHR under a physical lock and key. On the other hand, virtual security is just as important. The use of healthcare cloud computing tripled in the years from 2014 to 2016, and the security of the information stored in the cloud is thus more vital than ever. Measures such as a multi-factor authentication process, audit controls, and data backup are important. Another strategy should be implementing software that tracks all access and changes to existing data.
Related read: How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App for Healthcare?
These innovations that we have seen in recent years in the medical industry have transformed healthcare. They each appeal to a different niche of health needs and desires, but what similarly spans across all of them is the data they collect about consumers. While services like telehealth mean that we can find out how to decrease emergency room visits, medical technology like FitBit can help us understand the day-to-day health of our consumers and easily implement strategies to tangibly measure and improve it.
A quality, competitive strategy would feature using some or all of these venues and the data they collect in unique ways to extract the most meaningful data about patients doctors serve. Providers can use this data, for instance, to determine what care works and what care doesn't work and how to best cultivate the doctor-patient relationship. The future of data analytics in the medical industry has the potential to make healthcare not only more efficient and more cost-effective, but more personal, humane, and intimate as well.
This is a guest post by Nick Andrew Rojas. Nick is a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has worked with various startups as a business consultant. He's also a journalist focusing on technology, marketing, and social media. He loves meeting new people online and being challenged with new projects. He loves to connect, so reach out on Twitter! @nickarojas.