Healthcare is changing, it is going digital, and this is good news for patients, healthcare providers, as well as medical software development services.
From telemedicine to genomics, digital transformation in healthcare industry has the potential to improve patient outcomes, make healthcare as much about prevention as curative treatments, and reduce the overall cost of medical treatment.
As life expectancies have increased around the world, aging populations have had an impact on healthcare provisions. Lifestyle choices, particularly in Western countries, also have a negative impact on healthcare provisions. Combined, lifestyle-related health issues that cause non-communicable diseases contribute to 75% of deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Quality of life, for patients and those caring for them, suffers.
Economically, non-communicable diseases and poor lifestyle choices could cost the global economy $47 trillion by 2030, according to World Economic Forum data.
Let's look at how digital technology can improve care coordination and patient outcomes.
Table of Contents
- Trends in Digital Health Transformation
- Benefits of Digital Transformation in Healthcare
- Challenges for Healthcare Digital Transformation
- Ways to Accelerate Digital Transformation
- Final Thoughts
Trends in Healthcare Industry Digital Transformation
These are amazing healthcare digital transformation trends that both patients and clinicians can benefit from are now available through smartphones and smart medical devices, for personal use and for the sake of public healthcare.
Preventative lifestyle apps
Prevention is better than cure, a philosopher said in 1500. To date, this has become a fundamental principle of healthcare worldwide.
When it comes to fitness, diets and lifestyle, health apps can support consumers in making better choices. There are many popular apps and wearables that can help people to track what they eat, how much they exercise (steps taken, activity levels, etc.), and whether they're smoking, drinking or making other choices known to have negative health consequences.
Lifestyle apps don't need to be prescribed by a doctor, and they do require willpower and honesty on the part of the person using them, but they can have a positive health impact. Progressive custom software development companies often use gamification and social elements in apps, making it easier for people to engage with others doing the same activity and feel rewarded when they exercise and make smarter health choices.
Ongoing treatment apps
Some diseases and conditions require close monitoring. However, it isn't always feasible or possible for a doctor to spend as much time looking after individual patients as needed. One way around this problem is with digital healthcare services.
Apps and devices can more closely monitor the health of a patient and this is one of the major ways how mobile technology is transforming healthcare. Some diseases require easy-to-administer tests that patients can take at home, others need health vitals monitoring, whereas others need patients to take regular quizzes to let their doctor know how they are feeling. Or all of the above. And then with this information, a doctor or healthcare team can take action whenever needed. This way, preventative cures can be administered before a patient required more serious medical treatment, with better outcomes and lower costs for everyone.
Decades ago, we mapped the human genome. Projects are still ongoing to map the DNA of every species on this planet.
Now, we are entering the next round of technology disruption in healthcare. With AI and quantum computing on the horizon, we have the capabilities to truly personalized testing and treatment that could transform our relationship with the worst diseases we face as humans. In time, people can hopefully eliminate cancer and other diseases for good.
Big data in medicine
Data is everywhere in the medical profession. One of the main challenges healthcare, pharma and insurance providers are wrestling with is generating useful insights from a wide variety of sources. Electronic health records, wearable data, medical apps, and dozens of other platforms contain countless valuable insights.
With machine learning, AI, deep learning as a service and new ways of organizing data to make it easier to connect with other sources, the healthcare sector is slowly going to transform as new healthcare technology trends, insights, treatments and data are uncovered. These innovations drive forward the evolution of digital hospital platforms giving them the ability to offer data-driven care to patients.
Healthcare providers are under strain everywhere, whether you live in a country where healthcare is public, private or hybrid.
One way to reduce that strain is to provide telemedicine development services. It can also introduce more choices for patients. Letting them speak to a doctor on the phone or an app makes it easier to diagnose non-life-threatening conditions and provide a prescription. It will reduce incorrect diagnoses since this is more accurate than a patient searching for symptoms online without the guidance or knowledge of a medical professional.
Benefits of Digital Transformation in Healthcare
All of the benefits of digital health transformation can boil down to saving time and costs for treatment. Now let’s focus on how these outcomes are achieved and what is the impact of digitalization on healthcare.
Advantages for Hospitals
Automation. Eliminates paperwork so doctors can spend more time on other important tasks. All formal matters and workflow organization can be managed in a system from a computer and modified in a way that if one parameter is changed, it’s replaced everywhere else needed.
Sharable database. Software developed specifically for healthcare institutions should include patients’ electronic health records (EHR) in which entries are made easily and synchronized across the devices of all medical staff, providing a sharable yet secure database.
Advanced metric tracking. With medical software, doctors are able to track their patients’ vital metrics instantly as data from wearable sensors is transmitted to software. Based on these data, doctors can make conclusions about treatment efficiency and make necessary changes to the prescribed treatment plan.
Advantages for Patients
Appointment scheduling. Phone calls are in the past as appointments are scheduled online, with the ability to choose the doctor and time ahead and re-schedule afterward if needed.
Telehealth opportunities. A lot has been said about how telemedicine cuts off the need for hospital visits that cost more than a video call. Still, patients need to remember that not all features can be addressed this way and require physical examination/intervention.
EHR are available not only for doctors but for patients too, so they are fully informed of their current health state and treatment course.
With changes, which digital transformation is, unevitably come associated struggles. Some are in the middle of being resolved while others remain relevant to date.
Challenges for Healthcare Digital Transformation
No utopia is real and not each and every side of healthcare embraced digital transformation so far. One of the most urgent stoppers to broader and deeper digital transformation is security concerns. To guarantee patient data protection, not only software has to ensure maximum protection and encryption but also healthcare professionals should have skills to detect and handle vulnerabilities. Currently, the market is very short in such specialists.
The other limitation to digital transformation in medicine is the abundance of legacy systems used in healthcare facilities. These still perform their purpose but again, security concerns arise and maintainability of such systems are in question, since the older they are, the fewer software engineers are capable of understanding their inside.
Every software designed for medical use has to comply industry-specific regulations concerning personal data, mainly HIPAA. This regulation is aimed at keeping patients’ health data save and undisclosed and violation of HIPAA leads to a legal responsibility in the US. It may require additional costs to make software HIPAA-compliant, as well as staff training, which is also resource-consuming.
Last but not least what may hold in digitization is the amount of time needed to adopt it. In promotional articles, you only see the benefits and calls to start implementing new trends as soon as you can. In fact, let alone software development which can take months to years, there’ll be countless enhancements to it, employee training, and so on.
But knowledge is power, and since you know this bottlenecks already, no unpleasant surprises will emerge as you develop your own healthcare software if you think of it.
Ways to Accelerate Digital Transformation in Health Care
Tech is tech but there are always people behind it, so the most effective ways to accelerate and improve adoption of digital transformation in medical facilities are all about people.
The first point concerns strong leadership in the healthcare facility. Effective management and guidance from a leader can accelerate adoption of new technologies across the organization. Individual approach to personnel increases personnel motivation and leads to faster results.
The second point is about the tech provider. If you go with medical software development services, choosing the company to fulfil your vision is half the battle. Really a lot depends on the communication established between you and the development team, their time to response, and their involvement in the industry. So take your time to find the best match among the variety of healthcare digital transformation companies.
These are a few of the ways that digital technology can transform healthcare. We are stepping into a world where patients will have more choices, health providers should be under less strain and preventative health is driving improved outcomes and the health of billions around the world.
If you are looking to bring your innovative ideas to life, drop us a line. Together, we’ll find a way to improve people’s lives with technology.