New technologies are transforming the landscape of the healthcare industry. They are reshaping our interactions with health professionals, data sharing among providers, and the decision-making process behind treatment plans.
The popularity of custom software development solutions in healthcare is booming. And those solutions are becoming “smarter,” powered by Artificial Intelligence. For instance, MarketsandMarkets expects the global AI in the healthcare market to grow from $4.9 billion in 2020 to $45.2 billion by 2026.
The COVID-19 pandemic makes the importance of healthcare digital transformation even more pronounced. “COVID-19 has forced health care leaders and clinicians to move faster, work smarter, and take a more focused approach to decision-making than ever before. Digital health solutions and technology will play a crucial role in the difficult work of optimizing processes and systems for greater efficiency, financial viability, and enhanced outcomes,” claims a team of chief information officers, led by John Glaser, an executive in residence at Harvard Medical School.
Nevertheless, such transformation requires tremendous shifts in the operations of healthcare institutions. How should this task be undertaken? In this article, we are going to describe the innovation strategy framework for healthcare.
Why are New Technologies Important for Your Healthcare Strategy?
Before dealing with the how’s of digital transformation, let’s study the why’s in more detail. Developing your healthcare IT strategy is a must in the modern world. Here are some of the most obvious benefits of digital transformation in healthcare
- Better patient experience. Healthcare is a customer-oriented industry. New technologies allow healthcare professionals to provide more personalized treatment. While common recommendations may fail in some cases, an individual approach has a greater chance of succeeding.
Besides, practitioners can respond to patient queries on various health conditions and ailments faster. Healthcare apps make planning hospital visits and finding nearby physicians easier. Searching for ailments and drug information with the help of a mobile app is seamless and swift. Healthcare chatbots can make the triage process more efficient.
- Improved organization. Cloud computing and other tools allow all data to be digitized. Thus, medical records can be accessed in the blink of an eye. Doctors can make decisions effectively and provide more thorough treatment. Moreover, software can alert healthcare professionals in the case of an emergency and even call an ambulance;
- Enhanced analytics. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning boost the effectiveness of data analysis. Plus, they can solve some problems much more quickly than humans. These technologies also reduce the chance of mistakes, improving staff productivity;
- Enhanced growth of medical knowledge. A large amount of data becomes available for medical researchers. New technologies improve communication and can provide valuable information for research. Enhanced research capabilities leads to better treatment. As a result, doctors can serve their patients better.
“Custom software development solutions serve multiple purposes in healthcare. They provide automation for clinical and administrative processes, which results in improved operational efficiency. Also, new tools ensure easier collaboration between different healthcare practitioners. But the most important consequences of digital transformation are better patient outcomes and reduced costs.”
— Vlad Medvedovsky at Proxet, a custom software development solutions company
A Roadmap to Digital Health
Successful adoption of digital technologies requires a detailed strategy. It might be prudent to employ digital transformation consultants to avoid mistakes. Every digital transformation roadmap is likely to include four key crucial steps:
Managing Data as a Strategic Asset
Digital transformation demands an attitudinal shift and requires far-reaching adjustments in operating practices. Data from multiple sources should undergo rigorous integration. You need to establish secure and easily accessible data platforms so you can accumulate information from wearables, diagnostic laboratories, imaging, social determinants, genetics, etc.
The need to overcome interoperability and the poor quality of the data must be anticipated and solutions should be designed. Both operational and clinical data are to be collected with particular goals in mind. Confidentiality and security are essential too.
Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
Longitudinal patient data combined with real-time operational data is the foundation for improved healthcare. Technological innovations are designed to help providers make sense of the torrent of data they face.
Data analysis might even help with identifying, preventing, and containing future pandemics. But to achieve that, data must be shared globally and have high quality.
Connecting Patients and Care Teams
Implementing the concept of “moving information, not patients” also requires a cultural shift. Home monitoring and teleconsultation technology will become more prevalent, enabling at least some patients to receive high-quality care at home. Healthcare will become more transparent, and patients will gain more transparency into their care and more actively participate in it.
Creating a Learning Health System
Institutions should turn into proper learning health systems. It requires leadership and collective targets, aligned incentives, and commitment to transformation throughout the whole organization. Additionally, the right organizational structures should emerge. Finally, rigorous measurement and secure sharing of patient outcomes is needed.
“The education and training of the existing workforce, along with the preparation of an appropriate pipeline of talented future staff, will be key to the success of any program of change designed to empower staff to take advantage of the advances in technology to improve service delivery.”
— Eric Topol, MD, the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute
Challenges in Transformation Health Services
Digital transformation is a complex process, especially in healthcare. On the way to successful implementation, various issues and challenges emerge. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common ones:
- Data processing and analysis. The sheer amount of information hospitals and clinics collect may be a problem. Organizations require robust AI systems to analyze this data and deliver more personalized care to patients. Digital health consulting professionals may help you to select the most suitable solutions.
- Collecting and synchronizing data. As telemedicine becomes more widespread, doctor’s visits may take different forms. As a result, health professionals may have difficulties with updating and synchronizing health records. Combining information from both in-person and virtual visits will be vital for the healthcare industry.
- The collection, use, and storage of personal data without violating the law. The violation of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can cost the company as much as $24 million or 4% of its annual turnover. Thus, it is essential to comply with such requirements.
- Cybersecurity. According to a study by IBM, the cost of data breaches across industries is the highest in healthcare, exceeding $7 million. Among the three most common vulnerabilities are endpoint leakage, user authentication deficiencies, and excessive user permissions. Appropriate measures to strengthen these areas are essential to the security of the whole industry.
- Suitable user interface. Both patients and medical professionals use many digital healthcare products. New digital healthcare products should be user-friendly. An uncomfortable IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) device, for example, can affect a patient’s experience. If the patient needs or wants to remove the device, data can be hard to collect going forward. And if the software is hard to use, medical professionals will be unwilling to prescribe the corresponding devices to patients.
- Few standards in the IoMT area. These services and products may have problems functioning in an ecosystem of connected devices. However, an eventual rise in the overall quality of technology will produce significant improvements in the industry.
Digital Transformation Case Study
New technologies are becoming more and more commonplace in the healthcare industry. Organizations all over the world are making profound changes and innovations. Deloitte published several case studies of health care transformations. One of them concerned Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital campus in Israel.
The institution experienced a growing demand for radiologists. 75% of patient care involved imaging and a first-in-first-out workflow, so radiology became the bottleneck. With the help of Aidoc, a technology startup, the center employed Artificial Intelligence to improve its efficiency.
The team identified potentially life-threatening conditions that could benefit from faster diagnosis. Brain imaging became a priority: if AI detects bleeding in the brain, the radiologist gets a notification immediately. The case becomes high-priority, the radiologist reviews and confirms the diagnosis, and returns the results to the physician. Thus, immediate treatment can start.
Over time, other time-sensitive pathologies were added to the list: lung nodules, pulmonary embolisms, abdominal air, and fractures. The new tool helps prioritize cases while also enhancing diagnostic accuracy. It ensures that no life-threatening pathologies go unnoticed.
Aidoc’s solution reduced turnaround time by 32% for critical cases. Sheba and Aidoc are exploring other possible uses of AI:
- studying tumors in oncology;
- assisting X-ray and MR imaging;
- improving image quality;
- reducing radiation dose;
- decreasing MRI scanner time.
Designing such complex solutions requires a team of experienced professionals. Our team at Proxet can assist you in the digital transformation of your organization. We’ve developed various solutions for our clients from the healthcare industry, including a Medical Research Portal with more than 10,000 users and on-demand healthcare analytics software. Our top experts will do their best to equip your business with new technologies.
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