IT innovations continue to transform the healthcare sector in incredible ways. For healthcare businesses, making that crucial switch to digital alternatives can seem overwhelming and necessary at the same time. With new IT technologies specifically designed for the healthcare industry being launched more frequently, it can be hard to decide which ones will be really beneficial in the long run.
Why is the adoption of digital alternatives necessary?
Telemedicine, blockchain-based digital health records and computer-assisted surgical devices have brought unprecedented digital transformation in the medical and healthcare industry. These are just a few among the countless technologies that have revolutionized how people access healthcare, how medical data is shared between various healthcare providers, how treatment strategies are finalized and how all this improves the entire experience for patients.
Hospitals, clinics and other medical care providers such as urgent care centers who have incorporated large-scale digital technologies into their operations report numerous benefits that include:
- Hassle-free scheduling of appointments
- Streamlining duties of healthcare professionals
- Keeping human errors to a minimum
- Reducing operational costs
- Simplifying and enhancing healthcare experience for patients
Based on the specific requirements of healthcare providers, there are established tech firms offering medical grade IT support, cyber security solutions and cloud services.
Digital advancements in healthcare
Here is a look at the most notable digital transformation trends in healthcare that have redefined standards of medical care in the last few years:
On-demand medical attention
With the advent of telemedicine, it is no longer essential to physically visit a clinic to access quality medical care for minor ailments. Patients can get in touch with a doctor of their choice and avail themselves of excellent medical assistance through mobile applications or online means. This technology is also a boon for people located in areas facing an acute shortage of medical facilities or who stay far from a healthcare center.
Big data technology
Big data deals with collecting integral data about healthcare businesses from various sources such as eCommerce, social media, informational posts and patient feedback. The patterns in these are then identified, analyzed and stored for future reference.
The predictive analysis aspect of big data technology gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on data such as the spread of disease, rate of increase in patient numbers and severity of disease in a selected population, predictive analysis provided reliable information on the beds, medications and extra staff that would be required during specific periods. Needless to say, the information proved valuable in streamlining medical facilities during difficult times.
Big data technology is also helpful in precision treatment of patients. For instance, if the drug prescribed for a patient is not consistent with their medical issue, the software will immediately raise an alert. This goes a long way in preventing medication errors.
This is perhaps the most happening of digital transformation developments in healthcare. Chatbots are commonplace these days, performing a number of duties, from answering patient queries to facilitating diagnostic tools. AI is also increasingly gaining significance in precision medicine. Rather than offering patients standard treatments, AI-enabled precision medicine ensures personalized treatment plans that offer better recovery rates.
AI-powered medical imaging diagnostics are way ahead of conventional imaging technologies. It is especially beneficial in spotting anomalies or details that may not be easily visible to humans. To cite an example from more recent times, AI-powered computer algorithms played a pivotal role in helping hasten the development of vaccines to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Maintaining health records safely while ensuring easy access to them has always been challenging for the healthcare industry. Digital transformation technologies in healthcare have ushered in blockchain technology that facilitates the storage of data, transaction details and financial information at considerably reduced operational costs.
Electronic health records contain a wealth of information such as medical history, test results, treatments received, diagnosis, physical address, professional profile and bank details. A few years back, this data was stored across various systems, affecting accuracy and accessibility.
Blockchain technology enables creating a single, secure system to share medical records among physicians, patients, medical facilities and insurance companies. Since every transaction will be efficiently monitored and registered, there is zero margin for errors in medical records. Better still, this system is almost fully safe from the risk of hacking.
Although the popularity of wearable medical devices has been on the rise, it is expected to experience a huge spike with 5G networks. With powerful 5G networks, doctors will be able to collect real-time data of their patients, thereby monitoring health and providing diagnosis more effectively.
5G is expected to boost telemedicine with top-notch quality of video conferencing and network speeds around 100 times faster than 4G. Interestingly, doctors have begun exploring the possibilities of performing robotic surgeries over 5G networks. 5G drones are expected to be widely used to transport medications to patients in far-flung areas.
A decade ago, nobody would have imagined the possibility of helping patients manage pain with a pair of goggles that projected visuals. Today, VR finds a repertoire of applications in various healthcare settings. For instance, it is progressively replacing painkillers and helping people manage chronic pain without being over-dependent on medications. VR is also gaining recognition for being a safer and more effective alternative to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Doctors have begun to discover the benefits of VR simulations to practice surgical techniques and prepare for complex surgeries.
When you go for a major digital transformation for your healthcare practice, it is necessary to partner with the best IT companies to support your enhanced IT requirements. Your IT solutions provider must be always easily accessible to respond to your queries and resolve any issues that may arise. Most importantly, the IT provider must have an impressive track record of securing medical data and networks and provide HIPAA compliant services. Contact us here to know how Tier3MD can get your healthcare practice on the fast track to digital transformation.