Have you ever considered the dramatic changes that have taken place in the healthcare industry over the past century? It seems as if the entire medical field moves at a breakneck pace.
In reality, the field moves at a methodical pace that’s often dictated by technological advancement in other fields. Medicine relies on technological innovation and uses new advances to meet the needs of patients.
The digital transformation era has brought about improvements in both the practice of medicine and a patient’s experience throughout their care journey. Let’s look at some of the digital healthcare trends transforming healthcare in 2019.
One of the greatest struggles that have faced practitioners over the past century is how to reach high-risk patients. Some of these patients live in rural areas without access to the medical care they need. Some of them need a specialist but can’t make it to one due to cost, limited access to transportation, or health risks.
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft see an opportunity to help transport patients to their appointments so they can receive timely care.
For many patients, using a digital platform to see a doctor can save their life. Specialists use telemedicine technologies to consult with doctors, meet patients, and offer a diagnosis from thousands of miles away.
Thanks to another advancement, cloud networking, doctors can seamlessly share files without violating a patient’s HIPPA rights. Cloud networks keep information safe and give doctors real-time access to data.
Advancements in telemedicine also improve patients accessibility to doctors across the country without having to take time off of work and risk losing their job.
Big data continues to be a buzzword thrown around in both the healthcare and business worlds, but it comes with an inherent problem. Many people collect data with no real idea of what to do with it. This leads to a large amount of information that doesn’t have any real-world value.
With predictive analysis, this data can be used to improve patients and their caregivers total health care experience and, as a result, influence qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Doctors can take information that they gather and use it to pinpoint potential problems in the near future based on statistical models. Instead of fighting health problems after they happen, we can now take a proactive approach to healthcare.
These models also allow professionals to explain care plans to patients using actual data including success rates. Let’s say that a team works with a diabetic patient. Instead of presenting the patient with intangible treatment options and plans, doctors can now show them real-life data that gives the patient a clear understanding of how each option impacts them.
As big data and our ability to harness its power continues to develop, we could, in time, get to a point where we can predict disease. We know that certain genetic markers suggest a higher chance of cancer and other diseases. What if we could combine the genetic information of a patient into a data packet that then outlines future health risks?
Of course, there are obvious moral questions that need answers. While we could peer into the future of a patient, should we? And how do we protect patients from prying companies that want to protect their investments? These questions will need answers before we go too far down the road of predictive analysis.
Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard that artificial intelligence will take over the world. In reality, AI is going to save lives.
Advances in AI improves both patient experience and treatment procedures. Currently, the technology improves the speed of the diagnosis process by looking at symptoms and determining the most likely cause faster than a human. Of course, a doctor still needs to confirm, but this takes some of the guesswork out of medicine.
AI can also run certain diagnostic tests, like what we see in the eyecare industry. The FDA recently approved the first AI diagnostic tool that can detect certain eye conditions within minutes. Patients can get the help they need without spending a day away from work.
In the future, this technology could work for other types of conditions, as well as operational workflows like booking patient appointments and providing related healthcare information.
As with most of the things on this list, the advancement of AI depends on the improvement of other technologies. The best possible result is for AI to diagnose and connect patients to a providers using telemedicine technology where cloud technology keeps a patient’s information secure and sends important data to predictive analysis machines.
Most people are aware of chatbots. If you’ve ever been online, you’ve seen them, although there’s a chance that you thought you were speaking with an actual person.
Chatbots are a natural extension of AI, as they rely on automated responses and the ability to ‘read’ what someone types into the chatbox. These bots can do everything from scheduling appointments, giving office information, and answering billing questions. They can also let patients know what they need before their visit to help reduce anxiety
With AI moving forward at a rapid pace, however, in the future, Chatbots could render low-level medical advice. We see this now on sites such as WebMD but without the interactive qualities. With Chatbots, the patient could enter a list of symptoms, answer questions, and then get a working list of potential causes.
The Internet of Things
Connectivity has brought the medical world to the masses through the use of wearable technology. 22.3 million people wear Fitbits and Apple watches which now boast many features that contribute to total wellness.
These devices allow people to upload their stats online and print out reports to show their doctors if they notice any health concerns. While the data gathered isn’t anything ground-breaking, having access to a patient’s normal heart rate, O2, and blood pressure can provide valuable diagnostic information.
These devices also help to encourage physical fitness, which can keep patients from having to see a doctor as often.
There are also sleep apps that help patients monitor their sleep patterns. These apps come in handy, as doctors can use the information to see if there is an underlying cause to the patient’s problems. Maybe they aren’t sleeping enough, which can cause migraines, mental health issues, and more. All information is valuable if you know how to use it.
The medical internet of things has given rise to smart pills, which enable doctors to see inside of a patients GI tract and detect problems. These pills give real-time feedback to doctors. The goal of all medical advancement is to take the guesswork out of medicine, and the IoT makes that possible.
The shift toward patient-centered care and consumer-focused systems are driving factors in boosting patient satisfaction, improving care quality, and profitability for healthcare enterprises today.
The adoption of the smartphone, and other smart devices, has increased the mhealth industry’s ability to provide a smarter and more personalized system to engage patient communities. Hospital mobile apps are moving beyond EMR-based experiences that provide baseline features and functions towards multi-system connectivity providing a completely unified experience.
Location-based Technology and Wayfinding
Location-based technologies, like LogicJunction, are playing a key role in mHealth initiatives because they provide rich data, improve patient engagement, create opportunities for greater personalization of the healthcare experience, and seamlessly connect people, places, and things.
The ability to guide a person to their appointment, not only to the nearest parking facility, but also provide turn-by-turn walking directions inside of the healthcare facility solves a significant challenge for many hospitals who deal with lost and stressed patients on a daily basis. These systems leverage AI to provide directions that make traveling through the hospital easy, factoring in elevator use, shorter routes, and ability to share your location with a hospital representative in case of an emergency, or with a family member.
Prompting a patient to check-in to their appointment and sharing approximate waiting times with the patient upon arrival not only improves operations for the hospital, but also improves the experience for patients. Data captured by the system can offer the patient, for example, a 1 mile walking route when there’s a back up at the doctor’s office, or a coupon for a free coffee in the cafeteria, or related health information to review while they wait.
These systems are iOT based and connect with the hospital’s website and other systems for finding locations. doctors, events, appointment scheduling, care alerts and asset tracking systems. They can even be expanded to provide AR/VR based experiences. With indoor mapping and navigation products, you can now assist your patients in making their way to — and through your healthcare facility. You can also deliver real-time information to your patient depending on where they are in the hospital, allowing them to make it to appointments on time and find the correct testing area. Our technology takes the frustration out of healthcare.
Are You Ready for a Digital Transformation?
The future of healthcare is shaping right before our eyes — it will be important for hospitals to keep watch over ways to transform their organization with using the latest technologies. Focus on the patient experience and creating a seamless, consumer experience can be achieved using many of the systems we’ve covered in this article. Many organizations have created digital transformation and innovation departments to help drive change and influence positive outcomes.
At LogicJunction, supporting innovative healthcare systems is important us. So many of the high-value features that improve the patient journey utilize location-based systems, like digital wayfinding. We’re excited to play a key role the future of digital health initiatives and are eager to see more hospitals make the shift to richer data, better patient engagement, and a more personalized healthcare experience that connect people, places, and things in a digital environment.