Posted: 22 Aug 2022 Contributor: Ghia Marnewick
Digital Transformation in Healthcare: 5 Key Trends and Innovations
Digital transformation is the latest trend in the digital healthcare industry where people are starting to use digital assets. It is the process of bringing digital technologies into all aspects of the healthcare business – payment operations, provider operations, member interactions, and more.
As a result of the need for value-based care, the healthcare industry is experiencing a significant shift towards digital transformation. Digital transformation is aimed at positively influencing the member's health and quality of life. At the same time, digitisation is a booming market and can be just as beneficial to the medical team involved -having been estimated to be worth $200 billion in 2020 and projected to reach $504.4 billion in 2025. In addition to this, the technology used is predicted to save the healthcare industry around $150 billion by 2026.
Digitization also helps:
- Better customer experience by enabling personalized healthcare with a single point of access for patients and the exchange of clinical information
- A full overview of cost-effectiveness and results
- Real-time access to relevant patient and clinical information at the point of care for faster analysis and decision making
- Retain members/customers, allowing health plans to expand their markets
5 Key Trends And Innovations of Digital Transformation In Healthcare
We see healthcare evolving in a new way by incorporating advanced technology, digitization, and practices that meet high customer needs. Healthcare providers around the world are on the cutting edge of using new methods to detect disease, deliver health services, develop vaccines, tests, and more.
As we look to the future, it is important to stay abreast of the current trends that will drive healthcare technology in 2022 and beyond. If legacy infrastructure and software will continue to play an important role in the success of care providers, it is important to understand how these systems can be integrated with technological advances and how they will be replaced by more reliable systems in the future.
The primary focus should be on improving productivity, performance, safety, and process efficiency without compromising availability and reliability.
Let's take a look at new technologies and trends that have the potential to drive the digital transformation of your healthcare organization.
The most important trends in digital transformation are:
- Internet of Things, Remote Health Monitoring, and TeleHealth – Involves the exchange of data between different applications or devices (health monitoring devices, devices like Fitbit) to connect patients and providers. It helps in tracking important statistics and medical information of members in real-time.
- Smart Hospitals – Real-time integration with EHR systems for real-time data exchange; reduce emergency room waiting for times and monitor availability and access to hospital facilities.
- Cloud migration – Most stakeholders expect to upgrade the legacy platform and are inclined to migrate to the cloud to realize the benefits. The cloud enables the secure storage and exchange of data that is required for health data as it deals with members' PHI.
- AI/ML and Analytics – Digitization enables artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to create analytics in predictive analytics, telemedicine, precision medicine, population health analytics, and more. It helps effectively use structured and unstructured data to create an effective analytical model that helps the industry move towards proactive/preventive care.
- Security and privacy in healthcare - In addition to the extent of quality and efficiency of care, security and privacy are considered important priorities in healthcare. We have seen many cases where sensitive and private data of patients and healthcare providers have been breached. According to a report published by HealthITSecurity.com, more than 550 healthcare organizations will suffer data breaches in 2021, affecting more than 40 million people. You must ensure that your organization and healthcare solutions are compliant with HIPAA, GDPR, and other health and safety regulations and frameworks.
Benefits of Digital Transformation In Healthcare
It is clear how digital technologies are driving change and reshaping healthcare to ensure organizations deliver personalized, high-quality patient care while growing sustainably.
Digital transformation will help healthcare organizations create connected systems and processes for patients and healthcare staff, enabling them to deliver the care and services they need with greater efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy.
With all this in mind, let's look at how the latest advanced digital solutions can benefit the healthcare industry, patients, staff, and services.
Seamless real-time management of the hospital and patient data
Hospitals have to work with large amounts of data every day. They must be able to provide, store and collect medical reports, invoices, and other patient data daily. Doing requires a lot of physical effort and a lot of time. With digitization, all these hospitals and medical processes can become more efficient, seamless, and faster.
Social channels make it easy to answer patient questions
One of the best things about digital transformation is that it allows organizations to create digital connections with users across the various social channels available today. Through such a connection, healthcare facilities can quickly respond to patient inquiries about various types of medical conditions and diseases.
Patients can submit their questions anytime, anywhere through their internet-enabled mobile devices and get professional answers in real-time. Instead of physically visiting a hospital, patients can get all the information they need through mobile devices.
Improved Data Management with Electronic Health Records
Digital health records are the best way for healthcare organizations to ditch paper records and bring some order and organization into their daily processes and procedures. The first and most obvious advantage of going digital is the almost complete elimination of human error.
An EHR is an excellent solution for improving efficiency and is extremely beneficial to physicians and patients. These records help doctors quickly diagnose various medical conditions and provide timely care. In some cases, it can make the difference in saving someone's life.
Mobile medical applications for patients and medical personnel
The emergence of mobile health applications has significantly reduced the burden of patients searching for nearby doctors and planning hospital visits. GPs and doctors can connect with patients through health apps and provide them with valuable consultation, advice, and care.
This is very important for patients around the world, especially in rural areas where access to medical facilities is very limited. On the other hand, patients can use health apps to continuously and quickly search for drug information, search for diseases, ask for things they want, get helpful advice, and much more.
Challenges Facing Digital Transformation in Healthcare
Of course, having mentioned the benefits, it only makes sense to look at some of the challenges that may arise as a result of digital transformation in the healthcare sector as well as the potential impact of digital transformation in healthcare.
Challenges of digital transformation:
- Regulation and Compliance: Regulation can hinder technological progress, especially in highly regulated industries such as healthcare. The stricter the regulations, the more difficult it is to take advantage of technological advances.
- The complexity of the healthcare industry: The healthcare ecosystem is more complex than any other industry. It involves various parties, factors, and competing interests—security, HIPAA compliance, customer requirements, data privacy, employee needs, costs, and more.
- Dynamic customer expectations: Customers want convenience and control over their health care. In today's digital market, they expect it. At the same time, they need more control over their data and their privacy.
- Skillsets: As previously mentioned, many organizations consider their workforce to be more digitally mature than the organization itself. However, a closer look at this topic reveals a more subtle issue – as healthcare becomes more digital, the need for specialized digital skills will increase.
- Culture: To survive in the digital age, organizational cultures must be more digital, innovative, and open to change. However, like all other change projects, change initiatives are complex, long-term activities.
Future Innovations That Get The Health System Moving
No one can predict the future, but you can at least glimpse it in the concepts below. Like the people behind them, they are at the forefront of healthcare. The list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but rather representative of what is likely to be a reformulation of public health and medical science.
Medical Supplies Delivered by Drones
Since March, UPS has been conducting an experimental program called Flight Forward, which will use autonomous drone deliveries of critical medical samples, including blood or tissue samples, between two hospital branches in Raleigh, N., located 150 meters away. A fast runner could cover the distance almost as fast as drones, but as a proof-of-concept program it was successful, and in October the FAA approved the company to expand its reach to 20 additional hospitals across the United States over the next two years.
A stem cell cure for diabetes
Type 1 diabetes affects 1.25 million Americans, but two, in particular, caught the eye of Harvard biologist Doug Melton: his daughter Emma and son Sam. Treatment may include a lifelong careful diet, insulin injections, and multiple daily blood glucose tests. Melton takes a different approach: It uses stem cells to create replacement beta cells that produce insulin. He began the work more than 10 years ago when stem cell research generated both hope and controversy. In 2014 he co-founded SemmaTherapeutics, the name derives from Sam and Emma to develop the technology, and this summer it was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for $950 million. The company has developed a small implantable device containing millions of spare beta cells that allow glucose and insulin to pass through but block immune cells.
Artificial intelligence for cancer diagnosis
The symptoms of lung cancer usually only appear at a later stage when it is difficult to treat. Early detection of high-risk populations with CT scans can reduce the risk of death, but it comes with its own set of risks. The US National Institutes of Health found that 2.5% of patients who underwent CT scans later endured unnecessarily invasive treatments, sometimes fatal after radiologists diagnosed false positives. Shravya Shetty, the lead researcher for a team at Google Health, believes artificial intelligence may be the solution. She has spent the last two years building an artificial intelligence system that outperforms human radiologists in diagnosing lung cancer.
Any way you look at it, it's clear that digital transformation in healthcare 2022 is benefiting all aspects of the healthcare industry. This has enabled the creation of modern digital healthcare platforms, improved operational efficiency, and enabled healthcare organizations to take an integrated approach to patient care.
Modern technologies have a huge impact on the world's industries, including healthcare. This positive effect has led to the development of solutions based on modern health technologies, such as blockchain electronic health records, medical devices with artificial intelligence, and telemedicine.
The main goal of going digital is to lower the costs of healthcare services, reduce human error, improve patient outcomes, optimize healthcare systems, streamline physicians’ work, and provide each patient with outstanding service and experience. With the right marketing strategy for healthcare brands in hand, there is a ton of possibilities for transformation and positive change.