Digital technologies transform the healthcare industry, create new pools of profits, and provide virtual connection between patients and doctors. Digital initiatives for healthcare improve environmental sustainability, create new jobs, and make our lives safer. In addition, as new generations are raised as “digital natives,” they can also envision how artificial intelligence, mobility, and robotics can be used to improve their lives.
Digital healthcare technology
Today, leading healthcare providers deliver personalized, timely, and efficient care due to the following technologies:
- Mobile applications and tools
- Automated healthcare systems using Cloud
- Analytics tools and applications, including big data
- Field-based diagnostics
- Analytics & reporting systems
- Remote patient care systems
- Connected Healthcare Management Systems
- Predictive Healthcare Solutions
Let’s have a closer look at how digitalization could produce benefits for healthcare business and technology, and what solutions and challenges it brings.
Healthcare digital transformation: Challenges
Here we will try to identify the most obvious obstacles to digitalization and transforming healthcare.
Choosing the right technology
Healthcare digital transformation is currently not well understood. It is difficult to decide which existing technologies are worth investing in to assist doctors’ work, optimize existing systems, improve patient outcomes, and reduce human error. The dynamics of advanced healthcare technology where medical devices are interconnected in different ways through the Internet of Things (IoT) makes the industry quite competitive and patients quite demanding.
Processing and analyzing medical data for more personalized care requires robust artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The collection and synchronization of patient data is another sharp challenge. The challenge is to transform big data in healthcare into actionable clinical intelligence to meet the challenges of collecting, cleaning, storing, reporting, updating, and visualizing healthcare data.
Data breaches cost the healthcare industry in the U. S. approximately $5.6 billion every year, according to Protenus whitepaper. In healthcare, malware and ransomware, cloud threats, user authentication deficiencies, misleading websites, phishing attacks, endpoint leakage, excessive user permissions are the most common vulnerabilities. The adoption of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and connected medical devices are also under the threat of cybercriminal attacks.
Non-compliance with regulatory standards
Digital healthcare providers need to learn of current regulatory standards required for using healthcare app and web development services. Healthcare organizations must comply with federal healthcare laws, The Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The regulations require the protection and confidential handling of patient health information and standardized electronic health records (EHR). Any data breach may cause severe penalties and additional costs for healthcare providers.
Complicated user experience
An uncomfortable user interface of a patient portal, health application, or IoMT device can taint a patient’s experience and limit the willingness of medical professionals to use digital innovation in healthcare. It is extremely important for digital healthcare products to be user-centered to avoid insufficient data and medical errors.
Healthcare digital transformation: Solutions
The proper strategy for phased digital transformation
Adapting to the digital age requires a shift towards flexible thinking. It means abandoning legacy business processes and believing that digital medical transformation brings great results. The best solution is to start digitalization with the automation of routine administrative processes that can take time from healthcare providers.
Example: Elinext Measure management and administration system (MMA) is a health analytics tool for ACO administration to build quality measures. It is integrated with existing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software to help providers manage performance-based contracts and rapidly improve quality reporting measures. Medical practice and billing healthcare CRM is another solution developed by Elinext to empower doctor practice, office automation, and medical billing.
Artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare
Artificial intelligence software engines can be designed for accurate diagnosis and efficient decision making. Moreover, physicians can share experiences and learn through AI-based educational modules. AI applications are used to find new links between genetic codes, to power surgery-assisting robots, and to improve the diagnostic process.
Example: Buoy Health is an AI-based symptom and cure checker that uses an intelligent algorithm backed by medical data to diagnose patients, prevent incorrect self-diagnosing, and clarify the options for treatment.
Healthcare organizations should implement a well-thought cybersecurity strategy to reduce the risks of hacker attacks, data leakage, and strengthen the protection of personal data. It’s better to limit network access, install licensed anti-virus software, use a firewall for anything that is connected with the Internet, and protect mobile devices used by physicians to access any healthcare data.
Example: Elinext participated in the development of Healthcare Data Anonymization Platform where the main task was to protect patient’s data and to automate the process of receiving and uploading de-identified Protected Health Information (PHI) files.
Patient portals and Electronic health record (EHR) software
Better patient care is possible with timely information access and transmission. EHR systems and patient portals are designed to accurately collect, store, share patients’ data, and capture the state of chronically ill people. Patient portals are developed to improve the interaction between patients and healthcare professionals with 24/7 availability. The patient portal often includes immunization records, lab test results, doctor visits, physician instructions, and appointment notes.
Example: At Elinext we’ve developed the fully automated Patient Portal that provides access to patients’ medical exam history for hospitals in Canada, Australia, and other countries.
Healthcare digital transformation: Benefits
Emerging technologies in healthcare bring to medical institutions the following advantages:
Improved patient experience
Digital health solutions make medical treatment more patient-centered especially when a wide range of specialists is involved. Thanks to digital health devices, quality healthcare becomes affordable in hard-to-reach places where patients have remote access to health platforms.
Real-time information share for physicians
The technologies allow doctors to use real-time patient monitoring analytics to deliver more targeted care that improves outcomes. High-performing digital patient portals are integrating all their systems and make them interoperable to give quick access to all the necessary data at any time.
Better coordinated care
Patient records management tools allow the delivery of more systematic, high-quality care while health providers collaborate more effectively. Telehealth improves the ability of professionals to avoid unnecessary appointments and provide access to specialist’s advice in real-time.
Greater patient engagement
Digital health devices for self-service and wearables intelligently support long-term health management and short-term episodes of illness. At the same time, clinical professionals receive a wide range of communication tools to interact with and consult their clients remotely.
Effective data management
There is a possibility for transparent data collection and analysis due to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Health systems are able to create holistic views of patients, personalize treatments, improve population health outcomes, and understand physician activity.
To be Continued…
Today technology transforms the healthcare field with the adoption of digital tools for diagnosis, treatment, and management to take the burden off physicians and improve communication with patients. And the core task is to adopt such innovations as Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, VR and AR, chatbots, and machine learning to the healthcare industry step by step.
At Elinext, we provide our clients with the most appropriate solutions for the healthcare industry, backed by over 20 years of software development experience.
What specific digital trends are relevant in 2020, we will consider in our next article on healthcare transformation.