Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Benefits and Trends

May 25, 2022

What is Digital Transformation in Healthcare?

Digital transformation in healthcare is a constructing block of a patient-centred approach to healthcare. Technology can help in healthcare by providing patients with an app or an online platform. So patients can book appointments online at home or anywhere, and keep track of heart rate and blood pressure using wearable bands.

From AI (Artificial Intelligence) to Big Data technology has paved the way for faster delivery and provides efficient healthcare and real-time access to patients' history. In this blog, we will discuss the technology of digital transformation in healthcare.

Examples of Digital Transformation in Healthcare:

  • On-Demand Healthcare
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) based assistants
  • EMR (Electronic Health Record)

Why digital transformation for healthcare?

With a large number of patients flocking to every health centre, it is of utmost importance for these institutions to adopt digital strategies and solutions to provide patient care more fully and rapidly.

In particular, dealing with a large amount of patient data and records is often challenging (often done manually) for most health-based companies impacting patient care. To provide faster and better service to patients, companies need to tie up with experienced digital transformation services investing in digital solutions.

Benefits of Healthcare Digital Transformation:

  • Seamless doctor-patient coordination
  • Automated administrative tasks
  • Secure data
  • Access to real-time health information
  • Relationship between multiple health experts
  • Collaborative Studies and Research
  • Ease of online appointment
  • Better patient management
  • Faster access to caregivers or nurses during a medical crisis
  • Reduced manual errors
  • Supercharged Hospital Appraisal

Digital Transformation Trends In Healthcare

1. On-Demand Healthcare

Remember when you make an appointment with a doctor and stay a few hours in a hospital or clinic? After the test, you will have to wait several days to get the results and visit the doctor again. Many innovative solutions are changing the way patients communicate with doctors and/or healthcare professionals.

From finding a doctor to scheduling an appointment online and communicating with a doctor via video or voice call. It's all for convenience - more patients have access to health services, including those with disabilities and those living in remote areas.

Benefits:

  • Convenience
  • Reduce health care costs and hospitalization
  • Effective communication with patients
  • Reduced paperwork

2. Wearable Technology

Another trend of digital transformation in healthcare is to collect health data from medical devices with wearable technology. In the past, most patients were satisfied with a physical test once a year and only their doctors checked to see if something was wrong. But in the digital age, patients are focusing on prevention and seeking information about their health more frequently.

According to a report, the wearable device market (like Fitbit, fitness bands etc) is expected to reach more than $ 27 million by 2023, this is a spectacular jump from almost $ 8 million in 2017.

Mainly following sensors/devices are:

  • Heart rate sensors
  • Sweat Meter - Used for diabetics to check their blood sugar levels.
  • Oximeter - monitors the amount of oxygen, most often used by patients with respiratory diseases such as COPD or asthma.

Advantages:

  • Promotes active healthcare
  • Engages patients
  • Performs multiple tasks
  • Healthcare providers and staff benefits

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is a technology that uses computer-generated simulations of 3-D images or environments that allow a person to see, hear and interact using a headset. Unlike the traditional user interface, Virtual Reality (VR) takes users into a virtual experience rather than just a screen display.

Here's how VR can help the healthcare industry: Reducing pain

The Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., conducted a program on an experimental basis. In 2019 program includes virtual reality headsets for kids in need of procedures such as stitches, seams and removal of foreign bodies.

About 40 children between the ages of 7 and 23 participated in the program. Each child was provided with a protective VR headset gear for disinfection. After that, the children chose various situations including walking through the forest, talking with a friendly snake and a roller coaster ride.

A VR headset was attached to the screen so that parents could see what their children were watching. Throughout the activity, the children did not experience any pain and the parents were happy because their children were happy and the process was peaceful.

Benefits/Advantages:

  • Mental relief and healing
  • Data Visualization / Body Mapping / Interactive Patient Information
  • Advanced Diagnosis / Risk Assessment
  • VR surgery run-through
  • AR Surgical Assistance
  • Medical education/training (simulation)
  • Emergency navigation
  • Highly effective pain management
  • Studying cancer in 3D
  • Helping to recover from brain injuries
  • Reducing the symptoms of depression
  • Helping veterans with PTSD

4. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence provides several advantages over clinical decision-making. It allows doctors to gain some insights into care processes, treatment, patient outcomes, and diagnostics. AI technology is especially important when talking about serious illnesses. IBM released findings that its model could detect breast cancer was analyzed in a surprising 87% of cases. 

Nowadays, AI-based chatbots and assistance technology are becoming familiar to patients. AI is used in chatbots and virtual health assistants. Chatbots can play multiple roles from customer service representatives to diagnostic tools and even therapists.

AI applications in the real world-

  • Virtual Nurse assistants for a personalized patient experience
  • Robotic surgical systems to conduct surgical operations

Benefits:

  • Mind-mapping through the brain-computer interface
  • Developing next-general radiology tools
  • Restricting the risk of antibiotic resistance
  • Accurate analysis data for pathology images
  • Empowerment with intelligence for medical equipment, machines
  • Improving immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer
  • Converting EHR's potential risk estimates
  • Health monitoring by wearable tech and personal equipment
  • Enabling automatic and accurate compliance
  • Providing better decision making
  • Predicting future diseases

5. Big data

Big Data is changing the way we analyze, leverage and manage data in every industry. Healthcare is one of the promising industries where it can be applied to avoid preventable diseases, increase quality of life, and reduce treatment costs. Health professionals can collect vast amounts of data and find the best strategies for using the data. Using Big Data in Healthcare can lead to positive and life-saving outcomes.

With so much data available in the healthcare sector, such as financial, clinical, R&D, administration and operational data, big data insights can enable them to meaningful actions to improve the overall efficiency of the industry. In addition, health data will be easily managed, retrieved and accessed with cloud technology.

Benefits:

  • Advanced Patient Services
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Finding the best treatment for the disease
  • Personalized and integrated communication
  • Enhanced access to critical information

6. Internet of Things(IoT)

Before the introduction of the Internet of Things, patient and doctor interactions were limited to physical visits and text communication only. Using IoT, healthcare professionals can be more actively communicate with patients.

IoT can collect data from devices to help doctors find and obtain the best treatment for patients to get the expected results. The data collected from IoT devices can help doctors find out the best treatment process for patients and achieve the expected results.

IoT for doctors

With IoT sensors and wearable devices embedded in-home monitoring devices, doctors can monitor patients' health in real-time. IoT allows healthcare professionals to actively interact with patients. Data collected from IoT devices can help doctors find the best treatment for patients and achieve the desired results.

IoT for patients

Devices such as fitness bands and wirelessly connected heart rate monitoring devices allow patients access to personal attention. IoT devices are used to record doctor's visits, calorie counts, how many steps are taken in a day, blood pressure, heart rate and more.

IoT devices are used to remind you of doctor visits, calorie counts and more. IoT is used in real-time remote monitoring to see the elderly patient’s information about their health. It uses alert systems and sends notifications to relevant healthcare providers and family members.

Benefits:

  • Low cost
  • Great patient experience
  • Improved drug management
  • Improved treatment results
  • Real-time reporting and monitoring
  • End-to-end connectivity and affordability
  • Organized data and analysis
  • Remote medical assistance

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is a system of storing information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger that is distributed across the network of computer systems on the blockchain.

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the digital version of medical information and includes all the medical history of patients and diagnoses, treatment plans, and test results. In healthcare, blockchain has proven to be an effective tool for preventing data breaches, improving the accuracy of medical records, and reducing costs.

Technology is a distributed system or network that generates and stores data records. It holds a digital ledger of connected data blocks that shows information shared or accessed on its peer-to-peer network.

Advanced analytics will use this sophisticated and optimized information to build real insights for patients and caregivers. This helps to create a more intuitive and personalized care ecosystem for patients.

Benefits:

  • Patient-centred electronic health records
  • Supply chain transparency
  • Patient data management and sharing
  • Drug detectability

8. Cybersecurity in healthcare:

Addressing the risk of cyberattacks is one of the most important tasks for healthcare organizations. According to several security research reports, healthcare is one of the top industries targeted by cybercriminals.

Risks are increasing due to a large number of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) connected devices, the volume and availability of medical and patient data, and the complexity of patient care delivery models. Another factor is cloud security challenges, with healthcare organizations increasingly storing data in the cloud to promote collaboration and data sharing.

The attack surface is enormous, spanning multiple organizations, IoMT devices, cloud systems, and traditional medical devices in the healthcare security perimeter. Furthermore, despite increased security oversight and investment, many organizations lack security measures.

Most hospitals maintain thousands of medical equipment that do not have proper safety measures in place. While organizations are committed to digital transformation, risk management practices do not always hold.

9. Predictive Analytics in healthcare:

Earlier, we looked at how big data can provide healthcare companies with predictive analytics about admission rates and help them position their facilities properly. But another factor supporting digital transformation in healthcare is predicting which diseases will become major problems soon.

Information gathered through Big Data and other marketing sources can help healthcare companies develop healthy lifestyle recommendations for their patients. For example, you can hire an analyst to analyze keyword activity on social media channels and major search engines to determine the most common searches for medical conditions, diseases, and general health.

The analyst can then develop a predictive model that will predict where and when the next major health scare will occur, and how your company can prepare for that event. But a smaller-scale, predictive analysis could help businesses of all sizes determine when to hire temporary workers due to impending outbreaks of colds and flu that could result in labour shortages.

Benefits:

  • Increases the accuracy of the diagnosis
  • Helps with preventative medications
  • Provides doctors with answers for each patient
  • Provides estimates related to insurance production costs to staff and hospitals
  • Allows researchers to develop prediction models for overtime accuracy
  • Choose the right hospital and clinic site
  • Optimize staff levels and improve business operations
  • Identify which homes respond the most to marketing messages
  • Optimize new and existing commercial markets
  • Support long-term strategic planning initiatives

10. Robotics in healthcare:

Automation and artificial intelligence will help reduce inefficiencies in healthcare by at least 30%. Robotic process automation should be expected to be one of the important trends of 2022. Robotic integration will be a benchmark, leveraging technology to present opportunities that can assist physicians and make the healthcare sector more advanced and accessible.

Some everyday use cases of RPA include:-

1. Improving the healthcare cycle by more easily extracting and optimizing patient data.

2. Scheduling new patient appointments with a cost-effective method of scheduling new patient appointments, increasing satisfaction for both patients and providers.

3. Simplify claim processing by streamlining the process by expediting data processing as well as reducing the number of errors.

Benefits:

  • Reducing pain and discomfort
  • Quick recovery time and return to routine
  • Microscopic incisions, resulting in reduced risk of infection
  • Decreased blood flow and reduced blood flow
  • Minimal stain
  • Greater visualization
  • Increased dexterity
  • More accuracy

11. Chatbots:

The lack of skilled staff has resulted in better outcomes for patients and manual procedures in this area have increased the challenges. Leaders in the healthcare industry are turning to a variety of technology solutions, among which medical chatbots are widely adopted. If you are a healthcare organization leader, you would love to implement medical chatbots to ease your healthcare challenges and improve patient care.

Benefits:

  • Answer the customer's FAQ
  • Schedule appointments and consultations from anywhere
  • Track patient care to minimize unwanted visits and admissions
  • Inform patients of prescription refills and care guidelines through alerts and instructions
  • Organize access, discharge, and transfer requests
  • Patient emergency alert team
  • Archive and update medical history and records of patients
  • Allow data exchange from existing heterogeneous health systems
  • Automatic data entry to reduce man-made errors and duplicate entries

Conclusion

All this technological advancement is redesigning healthcare as we know it, and professional help is now more accessible and affordable for more and more people. At the same time, healthcare is a conservative industry in terms of innovation and product development.

It is important to understand that digital transformation in healthcare is an ongoing process. This approach enables healthcare providers to successfully address critical issues while maintaining patient focus and value-based care.

How Can Fission Labs Help you with Digital Transformation.

Fission Labs have diversified teams with years of experience developing custom software solutions and digital transformation across various technology, including AI/ML, Data Engineering, UI/UX Design and Cloud Computing Solutions.

Our team can convert your needs or requirements into pixel perfect software solutions with a user-friendly user interface and user experience. Contact us for more information.

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