In this modern era, it is becoming increasingly noticeable how digital technology plays a crucial role in our daily lives. It has paved its way into several industries, including healthcare.
As a provider, it is crucial to keep up with the latest healthcare innovation. So, let’s explore the 5 digital healthcare trends that providers should adapt to.
1. Healthcare IoT
IoT is short for ‘Internet of Things.’ With it being adopted into healthcare, this has opened new opportunities throughout healthcare transformation.
It has enabled real-time health monitoring, allowed digital healthcare providers to improve their patients’ experience and healthcare options, and generated new revenue streams for providers.
Remote patient monitoring
Wearable technology enables care teams to remotely monitor patients and their health conditions as they go about their lives.
This feature benefits both parties, as healthcare professionals are provided with real-time data insights while patients can have fewer in-person appointments.
As healthcare professionals become up-to-date on their patient’s health conditions and can analyze patterns in their patients’ health easier, they can arrange appointments or treatments for their patient even before the patient experiences a physical illness or ailment.
Reduction in human errors
Data collected from IoT devices helps improve healthcare services by ensuring efficient decisions and reducing errors, waste, and system costs.
Lowered costs for health providers
Hospitals use expensive medical equipment, such as x-ray units, CAT scanners, and magnetic resonance imager (MRI) machines. Routine maintenance must be performed on this equipment to keep them running smoothly, as the cost of breakdowns can be high.
IoT technologies support hospitals by monitoring the operability of these machines and sending alerts to technicians whenever a repair is needed.
2. Extended reality in healthcare
Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). This technology allows people to experience an immersive virtual environment or view overlaying virtual elements in real-life settings simply by wearing specially designed lenses or headsets.
All of these can be applied in digital healthcare.
VR is already being used for medical training across the world. For instance, surgeons can now practice complicated surgeries before actually doing them, which allows them to hone their skills and avoid putting patients at risk.
Not only can VR be used in the medical training of health professionals, but patients can also use it. For instance, VR can be used as a part of therapy, promoting cognitive behavioral therapy and supporting patients working through their mental illnesses in safe environments.
3. Increased use of reporting and analytics
Healthcare reporting and data analytics have enabled providers in digital healthcare to gain better insights into their patients and healthcare spending, allowing improved decision-making in their healthcare systems.
Therefore, it plays a crucial role in developing strategies and budgets for long-term healthcare transformation and short-term operations.
Monitors performance across the organization
Easily accessible healthcare reports allow supervisors to monitor organization-wide performance whenever and wherever.
Performance data can comprise patient outcomes, the number of appointments over a certain time, and operational expenses. This can be used for exploring potential improvements in processes and spending.
Measures patient satisfaction
Patient feedback can be documented digitally and compiled to allow easier analysis of aspects such as what patients complain about the most, what patients appreciate during their in-care experience, and the overall areas that can improve.
4. Digital Twins
Creating digital twins is an increasingly popular trend where virtual models of a system or process are simulated in a controlled digital setting based on real-world data.
In healthcare, this could take the form of a ‘virtual patient,’ which includes digitally simulating the impact of new drugs or treatments on human beings.
Reduces risks to individual patients
Having a digital twin of a patient’s organs and internal systems allows doctors to explore various potential treatments for a diagnosed illness without risking their patient’s life. The therapy could therefore have a more targeted approach and be done more efficiently.
One example would be the Living Heart Project launched in 2014, where they crowdsourced the creation of an open-source digital twin of a human heart.
Another benefit of a digital twin is reducing the need for human and animal trials.
Having doctors test out treatments on a digital twin can allow them to provide the best treatment for their patients in a way specific to their physical and health conditions.
This practice would prevent multiple or redundant treatments, thus reducing costs.
5. Healthcare automation
Patient-centered care management software is software beneficial to clinicians, care managers, and administrators. It indirectly improves the quality of patient care and health outcomes through the decision-making of care teams and addressing the needs of healthcare professionals. Care Management platforms like Welkin also enable healthcare automation, allowing care teams to unburden themselves from menial tasks and focus on what they do best — caring for their patients.
Automation is using software and technology to complete tasks with minimal human input, and comes with a bounty of benefits for patients, providers, and care teams.
Updating patient records and collecting data doesn’t have to be a tedious task, but it does unfortunately take up a lot of your care team’s time. With automation, updates can happen immediately and data collection can be sped up. Patient health data forms, such as clinical assessments, monthly progress check-ins, questionnaires, patient feedback, and more, can be automated and sent to patients on specific and automated cadences.
By being able to update patient records in real-time, care teams and providers can get a comprehensive view of a patient, their diagnosis, and any potential risks. Automation allows clinicians to stop spending the bulk of their time on administrative tasks, and enables them to streamline patient care instead.
Decreased clinician burnout
Clinicians have to juggle a lot of things at once, from real-time communication with patients to administrative duties. Not to mention how time-consuming it can be to locate a patient’s lab results or personal information.
However, automation reduces these burdens and allows care teams to spend less time on menial tasks.
Implement patient-centered Care Management
At the end of the day, delivering patient-centered, holistic care is what’s most important. To do that, the healthcare industry must embrace advancements and innovations in technology. These five digital health trends — healthcare IoT, extended reality, reporting and analytics, outcome-based care vs sick care, and healthcare automation — are a vital way to improve patient-centered care.
Ready to get started? Read our guide to care management software and learn how to implement the right patient-centered care platform.