Adoption of digital is the key to realize the future of healthcare. Though healthcare businesses have a tough decision at hand to understand which emerging technology to invest in. However, one truth stands out — the future of healthcare will be customer-driven. I see this happening at a fast pace in the sector and the disruptions caused by the lasting influence of the pandemic have added a considerable urgency in the otherwise slow-moving healthcare sector. Investments in healthcare have accelerated, remote patient monitoring is now a reality. The focus is identifying & developing investment avenues focused on health and safety.
Telemedicine has emerged as a major player.
Millions of people worldwide were forced to adopt and adapt to virtual doctor visits as a face-to-face visit became difficult. Records show that investment into telemedicine solutions has almost tripled in the last two years. Hence it is prime time for investments. Change in reimbursement policy for both government and private organizations is another cause for the boost in investments. With wide adoption, the benefits of telemedicine have become clear quickly. Improved costs and efficiencies, reduced demands on facilities, and greater access to care are some of the major paybacks. The real question for healthcare providers now is how to blend telemedicine with other technologies to build a comprehensive care package.
Big data and predictive healthcare are the ways to go.
The benefits of collecting information and identifying trends for treating patients are being realized in several ways in healthcare. This is digital health. And almost all my healthcare clients are doing this.
· Analyzing the medical records of patients can ensure that any inconsistencies are highlighted. That way drugs prescribed to patients can be more error-proof. Doctors can be alerted of deviations, ensuring immediate care is provided and dire consequences are avoided.
· Preventive care plans can be created and implemented for people who need to visit the emergency room frequently. Big data and predictive analysis can be of huge assistance in such cases.
· The trend and patterns for institutions can provide visibility into staffing needs. This means less waiting time for people in need of emergency care and adequate staffing to tend to all requirements.
· Healthcare companies can rely on the data to create customer journeys and profiles. This is key in predictive healthcare. It also helps customers get an exclusive and personalized experience.
All these make the investment in Big data and predictive analytics a profitable opportunity.
IoT-powered wearables for at-home monitoring are on the rise.
Days, when people were happy with getting a full physical checkup done yearly, are in the past. Individuals are much more health-conscious today. So, instead of visiting the doctor only when something is wrong, people prefer tracking their health in real-time. The focus is on maintenance and prevention and staying in touch with their doctors regularly. It is no surprise then that wearables or mobile smart devices are in high demand. Wearables come with the capacity to track heart rate, exercise, blood oxygen, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.
Powered by IoT, wearables and other mobile smart devices are connected to each other through the internet. As a result, at-risk or aged patients can be monitored by practitioners at all hours, from any place in the world. This also enables supply chain optimization for personalized patient care in clinics and hospitals.
Artificial intelligence is the buzzword in healthcare.
Undoubtedly, the biggest investment drawer is AI. From the use of robotics in surgery and nursing to completing routine tasks like housekeeping, AI-aided tools have plenty of applications. Diagnostics, image recognition, medical prescriptions, and cybersecurity are other areas where AI is intensively used.
A recent development is using AI in medical product development, especially in pharmaceuticals. The process is safe, quicker and helps cut costs radically. AI is also being used in the current pandemic to research the virus and develop medical breakthroughs for its containment.
VR and AR-aided applications are expanding rapidly.
Medical diagnosis and education have made significant advances using VR and AR. Enabling emergency response, diagnostics, and preventive care with the use of imaging, and pain management are some of the major impact areas. Others include rehabilitation of trauma patients and treatment of cognitive disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. Other high-impact AR and VR applications are in complicated surgeries, medical research, and education.
Blockchain promises long-term EHR for patients.
A hassle-free repository of the entire health history for patients is soon to be realized using blockchain. This technology has drawn millions in investments. The personalized digital ledgers enabled by blockchain are a safe means to share and update medical information. The same can be used by hospitals and insurance companies alike, as needed. It has been proven safe against data breaches and can preserve the accuracy of diagnosis and medical history. Duplication, conflicts, and other glitches can be detected and eliminated by the system. Hence, it allows for centralized recordkeeping, cutting costs significantly.
The time for making an investment in digital healthcare is now.
It’s apparent from the continuous disruptions in the healthcare sector that technology will continue to be an enabler. Hence, to stay relevant and ahead of the competition, adopting emerging technologies and pushing the limits of what’s possible is the way to go. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.
About the Author:
Saumil Shah, the CSO at Rishabh Software, is a technocrat with a successful track record of helping clients solve complex business problems. Under his strategic presidency, Rishabh has established a prominent market presence across multiple domains like Healthcare, Retail, Manufacturing, FinTech & more. He is an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur & London Business School and has been on the advisory panel of industry-leading bodies like NASCOM and GESIA. When he’s not busy solving business technology challenges, he enjoys playing tennis or football.