While the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way healthcare is delivered around the world in 2020, the year 2021 has brought its own set of challenges, including powerful COVID-19 variants and hospitals that are overflowing as they try to care for patients with and without the virus.
In the face of so many hurdles, technology has shown to be critical in keeping the healthcare business resilient. Many technology-based solutions have been widely adopted in the healthcare industry, aiming to improve efficiency and streamline clinical operations. Given how technology gives accessible solutions to all modern concerns, the widespread incorporation of technology into the healthcare sector is unavoidable.
As intelligent systems advance, clinics that use cutting-edge technology will continue to thrive. The forthcoming years are set to witness the large-scale adoption of innovative technologies into healthcare. Our specialists have highlighted several healthcare digital transformation trends for 2022 that they believe will help healthcare professionals continue to deliver high-quality care for all of us.
What Is Digital Transformation in Healthcare?
The term “digital transformation” in healthcare refers to a collection of the most recent developments and innovations in digital technologies that have the potential to improve healthcare operations dramatically. The backbone of this transition is the use of sophisticated technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, and other cloud technologies.
Critical medical data, medical records, pharmaceutical orders, and other data may now be handled efficiently thanks to modern technological breakthroughs in healthcare. IoT devices, wearable gadgets, real-time medical data monitoring, and other digital technologies have had a significant impact on making healthcare more advanced and accessible. The adoption of innovative technologies opens up new business models and productivity opportunities.
Healthcare Digital Transformation Trends
Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring
With telemedicine, in-person visits to doctors are no longer a necessity. The technology that uses electronic devices and software allows conducting video and audio appointments on smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and other internet-connected devices. It doesn’t matter if you are on vacation, can’t leave work, or are not sure if you need to go to the hospital – telemedicine ensures your remote access to different types of medical services, saving your time and even money.
Nowadays telemedicine provides such services as telepsychiatry, teledermatology, teleophthalmology, teleoncology, teleobsterics, and telerehabilitation. To put it simply, it offers more convenient care for patients and increased access to specialists. Thus, the number of telehealth patients increases rapidly.
Artificial Intelligence in healthcare has a number of surpassing benefits: it ensures fast diagnosing and speeds up reading test results (150 times faster than a human), helps to determine the most effective pharmaceutical compositions, prevents identity theft – all enabling a better customer experience and substantially reducing the risk of medical mistakes. Moreover, the use of AI in healthcare is associated with significant cost savings.
AI can improve decision-making, information processing, precision, efficacy, and diagnosis speed. This would enable doctors to provide early therapy and better treatment to patients with the right approach to the patient. Besides, with the help of machine learning, pharmaceutical companies can create more effective medicines and enhance medical research and experiments.
Implementation of augmented and virtual reality solutions for healthcare was considered sci-fi just a decade ago. Nobody knew what benefits it might bring in the near future.
These promising technologies enable healthcare professionals to test new ideas and practices before implementing them in reality. The technology’s realistic 3D modeling of human organs and tissues allows researchers and doctors to virtually test drugs to see how they would react in a live human. AR and VR technologies often called “virtual patients” or “organs-on-a-chip” can reduce animal testing and expedite human clinical trials.
Besides training medical students and practicing surgeries, AR and VR can be used in therapy, treatment of psychological traumas, phobias, opioid addiction, phantom limb pain, as well as rehabilitation, and wound care. The possibilities of virtual and augmented reality applications in healthcare continue to evolve, offering a serious breakthrough in the industry.
Wearable Technologies and IoMT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming a critical component of making healthcare more efficient and accessible. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a category of IoT created by a network of internet-connected devices. These devices are usually controlled remotely via software applications and connected infrastructure, and send patient data through strategic touchpoints. This approach helps healthcare specialists in tracking various medical measurements of their patients, such as blood pressure, body temperature, blood sugar levels, ECG, and so on.
The IoMT is efficient at providing effective care to rural and isolated areas, as well as patients who are unable to see their healthcare professionals. Innovation and data integration enable patients to receive convenient and high-quality treatment from the comfort of their own homes.
As the availability and integrity of information in medicine are critical, the implementation of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is actively discussed. It will ensure quick and secure access to patients’ records for everyone who is granted access.
One day, the discussed innovative healthcare technologies will totally transform the sector and will remain as its basis. At SCAND, we are keeping an eye on the current situation and are pleased to make our contribution to the digital revolution, developing our very own products and delivering solutions for our clients. For the healthcare sector specifically, we developed two medical apps for physicians that provide them with access to clinical pictures of their patients.
While some industries are already enjoying the benefits of using chatbots, healthcare makes its first steps towards implementing this technology. Even though it’s just the beginning, it already looks very promising. According to the market research by Statista, the size of the chatbot market is forecast to reach around 1.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2025.
Currently, there are two types of healthcare chatbots: patient-only bots aimed at tracking patients’ health data and patient-clinician ones that serve as a connector between the two groups. While the first type is fully represented by a machine that provides evidence-based responses and friendly reminders, the second includes human-to-human communication when it is required, can serve as a transmitter of medical test results and as an assistant for scheduling appointments.
Being some kind of bridge between the digital and physical worlds, digital twins allow creating exact, dynamic models of things that exist in the physical world. In terms of healthcare, digital twins provide the ability to make safe tests and measure the impact of potential changes to a living organism, including the human body. Technology opens space for “what if” questions, allowing healthcare IT providers to shift from historically used non-living things to machine-created living bodies.
Used in conjunction with machine learning and AI, digital twins technology offers even more sophisticated results: it provides deeper insights into the understanding of how the human body functions and reacts to certain manipulations, allowing to significantly reduce medical mistakes and improve healthcare procedures.
Sooner or later, all paper-based record files of patients will become a thing of the past, and this time is coming. Cloud computing provides the ability to outsource such information to cloud service providers, enabling hospitals and practitioners to better direct internal resources and optimize their services.
One more advantage of cloud computing is its effectiveness in terms of data privacy and security. It is interesting to note that according to Maintel’s head of security, the price of medical information is 10 times higher than the information on credit cards on the black market.
There are various scenarios of using big data in healthcare: it can be used to stop epidemics, help in creating a patient’s detailed personal record or collecting family medical history for predictive analysis, reduce medical costs for both patients and healthcare institutions, cure chronic diseases and serve as a means of preventive medicine. When combined with AI-based systems and having enough information resources, big data can work miracles in the healthcare industry.
Adding business intelligence to healthcare in this way can help drive financial growth and provide physicians and patients with more advanced health options. Healthcare organizations may utilize analytics to cut expenses across the board, identify areas for savings or investment more easily, and develop a better understanding of their finances.
Predictive analytics can help clinicians detect patient deterioration based on a larger set of health data than humans can’t process. It could also be used to forecast patient behavior patterns, suggest new treatment options for illnesses, and identify which areas of the facility require improvement or investment.
The innovative technologies can create more personalized healthcare ecosystems for patients while healthcare providers will find it easier and more effective to use modern technologies. Healthcare organizations can create a digital foundation on which they can add new technologies by merging fragmented medical information available from social systems, financial resources, home care, and self-care monitoring, and other traditional modalities of treatment.
Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, for example, can leverage this enhanced data to produce insights for patients and their caregivers. Wearable IoMT devices can be used in conjunction with digital therapeutics and remote care options to improve access to treatment for people who live in remote areas or who require higher levels of care but can’t stay in a facility.
While much of the focus of the healthcare industry digital transformation has been on technology, the human factor is also important. The new technologies must improve patient-provider relationships, promote organizational change, and increase staff engagement.
The changing face of the healthcare industry inspires SCAND to make its own contribution, to promote the adoption of such ambitious technologies. We have enough experience of working in the domain and waiting for you to contact us with any questions!