Technology is essential to the healthcare industry. Without it, advancements in patient care might not be possible.
But how did they change the industry as we know it? Also, what impacts are these changes bringing to the healthcare industry?
Here in this article, we will list the different technologies altering the healthcare industry and their benefits. Read about them below!
What is Digital Transformation in Healthcare? 🖥️
Digital transformation in healthcare is identifying a healthcare organization’s current and future needs and implementing technology solutions.
Since each organization is different, the digital transformation changes per business.
There’s no stopping digital transformation, so the time is now to inform yourself of new technology in the healthcare industry and adapt to it.
What Are the Disruptive Technologies That Are Changing Healthcare?
The healthcare industry is a massive beast, so there are many gaps that technology is filling so it can improve it.
Understanding the technology you will use going forward in the industry will help you adapt to it and move forward.
To give you a start to understanding digital transformation in the healthcare industry, here are 9 crucial healthcare technologies.
1. Remote Patient Monitoring Tools 🤢
Organizations can offer better, more personalized care using remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools. It can also reduce unnecessary visits because patients only need to visit the hospital during critical conditions.
These RPM tools include:
- Sweat meters.
- Exercise trackers.
- Fitness Trackers.
- Blood Pressure Monitors.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) Monitors.
These tools collect, monitor, and analyze health data for better patient outcomes. They also help the healthcare industry save a lot of money.
They saw massive use during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, here is the conclusion of a study about virtual patient monitoring tools during the pandemic.
Source: The National Library of Medicine
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence presents massive changes to the healthcare industry by providing numerous benefits to patients, healthcare workers, and organizations. Here are some advantages they can get:
- Chatbots and robots – can answer inquiries and assist people with tasks.
- Diagnostic tools – used for diagnosing health issues.
- Risk calculators – identify potential health risks in people.
- Administrative software – to help reduce time-consuming tasks.
- Machine learning algorithms – reduce the drug development cycle.
- Pattern recognition – can provide personalized therapies depending on the genes and lifestyle of the patient.
- Computer programs – can offer highly accurate diagnoses and drug combinations.
However, there are risks of people in the healthcare industry relying on AI too much moving forward. Here is a quote to suggest how we should move forward with AI in the healthcare industry.
3. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices provide high-quality care by giving healthcare options to people with limited mobility and isolated communities.
For example, IoMT devices can provide the following:
- Remote patient monitoring.
- Early diagnosis tech for patients.
- Telehealth support.
- Emergency response triggers.
- And more.
They also help save money by enhancing access to diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care.
It is another technology people became adequately aware of during the pandemic. It is a growing technology that the healthcare industry will rely on more and more.
Source: Medical Device
4. Telehealth and Remote Care
Because of the pandemic, the demand for telehealth and remote care increased to avoid going to the hospital unless necessary. Health organizations must adapt to this trend because it might not go away anytime soon.
Before offering these to their patients, they must also ensure they comply with their country’s laws and regulations.
5. Data Usage 📈
By using software that can collect and analyze data, health organizations receive the following benefits:
- Decreased medication error – by checking the patient’s electronic health records, healthcare workers can identify possible medication errors.
- Best client care – you can use the stored health information to provide the best patient care.
- Preventive care – helps reduce the number of people returning to the hospital.
- Better staffing – healthcare organizations will know how many staff they need per shift.
- Improves medical research – you can use the data to enhance treatments and produce necessary medicinal drugs. It can also identify patterns in diseases and illnesses.
6. Smart Implants
These bio-implants have diagnostic capabilities and therapeutic benefits.
They promise better efficiency in regenerative medicine and improved outcomes in patient rehabilitation. They may even provide a cure for specific disabilities thought to be incurable.
7. Employee Wellness Apps 🤳
When discussing healthcare, we shouldn’t only consider the patients but also the welfare of healthcare workers. Because how can they take care of other people if they can’t care for themselves? That’s where employee wellness apps come in!
Through using these apps, the employees will have more control over their health and have greater satisfaction. The apps will also save money and reduce employee turnover.
Below are some of the features you can find on employee wellness apps.
- Health assessments will help healthcare staff understand their health status and any potential health risks they are encountering or will encounter.
- Personalized plans based on individual health attributes. These plans will include recommendations and tips for exercising, nutrition, and more.
- Activity tracking functions like distance tracking, step counting, and calories burned in a certain period.
- Nutrition tracking functions like dietary advice based on the food you input into the app.
- Mental health support, like tips to reduce stress and access to high-quality mental health resources.
- And much more.
8. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)
Virtual and augmented reality were originally for entertainment; they also have various healthcare applications. For example, you can use virtual reality to train healthcare workers. It can enhance retention, reduce skill fade, and help complete procedures faster.
Mental health organizations also use VR on patients. Below are some results from a test to use virtual reality for therapy.
“Most participants perceived VR to be acceptable (84%), appropriate (69%), and feasible (59%) to implement within their role or service and envisioned a range of possible applications.”
Source: National Library of Medicine
Source: National Library of Medicine
VR and AR can also enhance treatments, decrease pain and surgical errors, and help people with developmental disorders. You can also use VR to motivate people to exercise and navigate the world.
9. Digital Therapeutics
These devices provide therapeutic interventions via software (wellness apps, for example). They aim to complement or replace an existing treatment for a disorder.
It can help chronic and behavioral conditions such as anxiety and depression.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Transformation?
Digital methods are now all over the healthcare industry (as shown above), but we still need to answer: Why is this?
Digital transformation represents a change in the industry, and with that change comes benefits for patients and healthcare staff.
Here are some of the most crucial benefits of digital transformation.
1. Data Enhances Medical Research
Organizations can produce medical advancements using various data they receive.
They can analyze, curate, and share data to inform clinical trials. The discoveries then translate into new therapies that help produce patient treatment options.
The Australian Department of Health website stresses that data can help them understand patient health needs, create new policies for patient health, and make more informed plans to improve healthcare.
You can also use the data to produce potential drug targets.
2. Improves Patient Care
Because of cutting-edge technology, medical professionals can perform preventative care and early diagnosis treatment interventions to help patients. These will produce better patient outcomes.
For example, healthcare staff can use advanced MRI technology to produce an accurate early diagnosis. Doing this is a crucial step to detecting a disease early.
Remote monitoring also improves patient care for those who cannot visit the hospital. It allows healthcare staff to keep an eye on patients with a progressing condition and see if it changes.
Any technology that allows healthcare workers to monitor or update patients from home will improve the doctor-patient communication process.
3. Accelerates the Healthcare Industry 🏥
The latest technologies help the healthcare industry speed up workflow and processes.
They can help assist with the tasks of healthcare workers and assure their welfare. Technologies can also help reduce the costs of organizations while delivering better service.
What Are the Concerns of Digital Transformation in the Healthcare Industry?
While digital transformation has multiple significant benefits in the healthcare industry, its massive changes will create concerns among patients and healthcare workers.
Here are some concerns regarding digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
1. Patient Data Security and Privacy
While keeping patient medical data in an online format helps organization levels and makes it easier to access, it can also make it more vulnerable.
Many patients will have concerns about the privacy and security of their medical records and data. In a worst-case scenario, a cybercriminal could steal sensitive patient data and leak it to the public.
Here is an example of how data breaches happen in a study from January to June 2023.
70% of data breaches came from malicious online attacks.
Because of this, healthcare organizations must use high-quality encryption software to create a virtual barrier between the data and people attempting to steal it.
Despite encryption technology, the above data shows there is still potential to improve, so this concern will likely remain in the near future.
2. Not All Patients Will Use Technology Often 🧓
Some patients won’t use much technology in their day-to-day lives, so asking them to transition to it might be challenging for them.
Therefore, healthcare organizations must find ways to bridge the knowledge gap in technology as much as possible.
For example, integrating remote healthcare monitoring for an elderly patient but sending someone out to talk to them in person rather than via online channels when they need an update.
3. Technology’s Impact on the Healthcare Workforce 🧑⚕️
As well as affecting the patients, technology can also provide concerns for the workforce.
Healthcare workers know how to do every part of their job and how to operate at the highest level regarding patient care. If they have new technology to deal with, they will need training, and there will be an adjustment period.
The adjustment period for new technology will depend on the person. Healthcare staff who don’t often use technology will take longer or may struggle to adjust at all.
Therefore, training on new technology going forward must be as accessible and intuitive as possible. Improving accessibility in training can be an individual or group training session, depending on what staff will be more receptive to.
Final Thoughts on How Technology is Changing the Healthcare Industry
Technologies are a crucial part of the healthcare industry. Even though they caused many changes and will continue to do so, they only exist to help everyone in the present and the future.
If you are still skeptical, remember that despite the potential concerns, every technology we listed benefits patients and healthcare staff.
However, you still need to be mindful of these concerns. If a patient has concerns about data security at a healthcare organization, reassure them by discussing the encryption software and privacy policies.
If you have more thoughts or questions on how technology is changing multiple industries, find the answers on Tommy!