Digital Transformation in Healthcare: An Overview
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The Role of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in Digital Transformation
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Digital transformation hugely impacts the performance of almost all industries, including the healthcare industry. In fact, it is becoming an integral part of the healthcare industry as it helps to improve patient care, irrespective of where they are. In general, digital transformation involves adopting innovative technologies that serve to improve the operational efficiency of healthcare facilities and take patient care to a totally new level.
In this post, we will be discussing a few aspects of what digital transformation is, why it is important for the healthcare industry, and how it is impacting patient care.
Digital Transformation of the Healthcare Industry: What Is It?
Digital transformation involves delivering care to patients in a totally new way while upgrading the hospital's internal processes and meeting the needs of patients by adopting advanced technologies. In other words, it actively employs technology to add value to patients and healthcare facilities and achieve optimum benefits.
According to experts in the field, nearly 92 percent of healthcare businesses expect to improve their performance using this patient-centric business model. That’s why businesses in the healthcare industry are digitally transforming themselves and radically changing the way medical services are delivered to patients. Having said that, let us now understand a little bit about the digital transformation the healthcare industry is going through.
Digital Transformation in the Healthcare Industry
The main goal of healthcare businesses is to use technology to implement innovative solutions that help them optimize their workflow processes, improve patient service, and cut costs.
The automation of workflow has a huge impact on the performance of the healthcare industry. It is helpful to drug manufacturers as it enhances production safety. This is because technologies can be employed to enable accurate and detailed testing of materials. Automation algorithms help boost the efficiency of microbiological studies, assess and analyze specimens, and improve laboratory research outcomes.
Furthermore, automation helps to minimize paperwork, which reduces human error. Besides, it contributes to maximizing productivity across departments.
As far as doctors are concerned, automation helps them spend more time with patients and provide better and more personalized care. Automation also enables doctors to handle patients with similar needs as a group, and save time. Moreover, automation enables hospitals to send automated appointment reminders to patients and ensure that they keep up with their appointments.
A connected ambulance is helpful to healthcare service providers as it potentially gathers and transfers vital information related to patients through wearables, HD cameras, and sensors as they are being transported to the concerned department.
Even before a patient reaches the hospital, doctors have all the data they need to decide the course of treatment for him/her. Furthermore, this enables doctors to carry out the procedures not only faster but also more effectively. In certain critical situations, a connected ambulance helps doctors and paramedics perform certain important procedures while the patient is being brought to the hospital.
Virtual doctor visits or consultations are one of the most recent developments in the healthcare industry. This helps patients meet specialists at their convenience and from anywhere they like. This is a more convenient and time- and cost-efficient proposition for patients and hospitals.
The use of telemedicine solutions increased multifold when people were forced to stay at home due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This strategy is now widely used on a regular basis. These solutions allow patients to schedule appointments, talk to doctors through video chats on their phones or PCs, receive prescriptions via email, etc.
Today, people are more health-conscious than ever before. They are looking for effective ways to keep track of their health. This has led to the development and use of wearable medical devices. The wearable technology enables users to track their health metrics in real time. Some of the health devices that use wearable technology include:
- Heart rate trackers
- Exercise machines and fitness devices
- Sweat meters that track blood sugar levels
Smartwatches are some of the most popular wearable devices available on the market for anyone who wants to track his/her health and fitness parameters on the go.
Another trend in healthcare solutions is the creation of specific platforms that allow patients to:
- Schedule an appointment with a specialist
- Check prescriptions
- Schedule consultations
- Obtain additional information from doctors
- Review laboratory results
- Share health data with doctors
- Analyze their health records
This is not an exhaustive list of features that these platforms offer. These are just a few options available to patients on some healthcare platforms.
All said and done, the healthcare industry has a long way to go to achieve the expected levels of digital transformation. Surveys show that people find these systems too confusing, and the interfaces are not intuitive enough.
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Digitizing healthcare improves patient care in many ways. It makes it easy and quick for patients to access care. When patients have access to their medical records, they can easily share them with the doctors they are consulting as and when needed, from anywhere in the world. This enables doctors to provide the best possible treatment for their patients. Furthermore, it ensures a better experience for patients. This is because it eliminates barriers between them and their healthcare expert. This also translates into reduced appointment wait times.
The digital transformation of the healthcare industry is gaining momentum. The use of new tools and technologies is enabling businesses to improve patient experience, enhance the quality of patient care, reduce costs, and engage more with patients than ever before. In fact, digital transformation has started impacting all aspects of healthcare businesses, from hospitals to pharmaceutical and insurance companies to medical equipment and device manufacturers.
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