A quick guide to digital transformation in the healthcare industry
Technology has transformed every industry from bottom to top, and healthcare is no exception.
Over the past few years, the medical sector, known for its reluctance to shift and adopt new processes, has undergone unprecedented changes. The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the democratisation of advanced tech has accelerated this transition.
Remote consultations, easy access to medical records, and better diagnosis are benefits digital transformation in the healthcare industry has already brought to patients.
Although challenges remain to be addressed, like concerns over privacy and security requirements, the pros outweigh the cons. Digital transformation is here to stay and redefine the way we work and live.
Before diving into the upsides, downsides and trends in health technology, let’s cover the basics.
What’s digital transformation in the healthcare industry?
Digitalisation in the health industry involves introducing technology to improve medical services and workflows for healthcare institutions and patients.
This can involve many of the same tools and trends transforming other industries, like the manufacturing sector or the automotive field, with a critical difference. The ultimate goal of digital transformation in the healthcare industry is to reduce the communication distance between patients, doctors, and operators.
Why does it matter?
The healthcare industry seeks digital transformation to enhance customer satisfaction and patient care for the following seven key reasons:
- Improve access to healthcare services and information
- Enable seamless communication and collaboration among healthcare providers
- Boost patient engagement and empowerment
- Streamline administrative tasks and reduce paperwork
- Enable targeted care through data-driven insights
- Facilitate remote consultations and telemedicine for convenient access to care
- Foster innovation and research for the development of new treatments and technologies
Revolutionary advancements in medical health today include automation, smart ambulances transmitting vital patient data in real-time, and health wearables empowering individuals to track their metrics for better self-care.
The rise of blood and glucose trackers monitored via smartphones and the mass adoption of 5G-connected ambulances are just a glimpse of what’s to come.
Benefits of health tech for medical facilities:
- Efficient workflow processes
- Fewer costs and better ROI (return on investment)
- Smooth communication with patients
Benefits of health tech for patients:
- Better and more personalised service
- More accurate diagnosis
- User-friendly access to health records
- Easy appointment scheduling
- Remote medical consultations
It’s no wonder huge investments are being made. Still, there remain some significant barriers preventing further adoption and transformation.
Challenges in implementing digital transformation in healthcare
Statista says global spending on digital transformation will reach $3.4 trillion worldwide by 2026. The same study suggests that Denmark is the most digitally competitive country.
However, the growth rate in North America & most European countries is mid-range. Companies in these regions, including healthcare centres, have either just started digital transformation or are yet to start.
What are the reasons for this slow development in health tech?
Data leaks and privacy breaches are a headache for health organisation executives.
The digital transformation in the healthcare industry allows companies to collect more data and patient information than ever before. As data grows, so does the vulnerability to cyberattacks.
Cybercriminals target sensitive and precious personal health data, which can disrupt patient care. To overcome this challenge, cybersecurity experts recommend adopting blockchain technology, among other solutions.
The US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe are responsible for regulating and protecting patients’ data. The infringement of these regulations results in severe fines and reputational damage to health institutions that don’t meet legal standards.
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