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The Impact of Digital Transformation on the Healthcare Industry

Home » Blogs » The Impact of Digital Transformation on the Healthcare Industry

Revolution in technology has entirely transformed the way people shop, travel, and do their other stuff. It is slowly and gradually making a significant impact on the healthcare industry. The digital transformation in the healthcare industry provides better care to patients. The digital transformation will help healthcare providers understand the requirements of the patient, streamline operations, build loyalty and trust and provide a better user experience.

However, collecting and extracting data from digital communications, understanding the requirements of target users will prove valuable that will help healthcare providers to analyze new ways of adding value by building loyalty and trust. Your healthcare business needs to keep up with the digital transformation in the healthcare industry. It can be challenging for a healthcare provider to choose the technology that is worth investing in. For significant results, you need to adapt to the digital era.

The US Healthcare market is huge and it is estimated that at a CAGR of 29.6%, its digital market from 86.4 Billion in the year 2018 may reach 504.4 Billion USD in the year 2025.
Therefore, you need to know the complete picture of digital transformation in the healthcare industry. In this blog, we shall be covering the parameters like the role of emerging technologies that are transforming the healthcare industry and how you can transform your healthcare business using these technologies.

Here’s how different technology trends are digitally transforming the healthcare industry

Telemedicine

telemedicine app development in health care industry

Remember the time when you have to wait for a few hours in a row in the clinic or hospital after getting an appointment with the doctor? You would have to wait for several days to get your tests results that have been done earlier and revisit the doctor. Fortunately, that era has gone by now.

The interaction between patients and healthcare professionals is transforming due to different innovative solutions. Be it searching for a doctor for scheduling a virtual appointment or communication with doctors, telemedicine solutions enable people’s access to health professionals on demand. In the US healthcare market, telemedicine evolution has been one of the most significant transformations. In the USA, telemedicine is emerging meticulously where access to healthcare providers is limited. According to the 90% surveyed healthcare executives, organizations have started integrating a telemedicine system.

A virtual appointment is one of the best examples of telehealth technology. Virtual appointments facilitate communication between patients and doctors in areas like rural areas where healthcare is limited. Patients facing mobility challenges can utilize telemedicine. This technology can also be used in managing patients at high risk and tracking patients’ health conditions or activities remotely by using IoT-based health sensors and wearable devices.

It is important to keep in mind that your telemedicine app should act in accordance with the legislation in your targeted regions or country.

Virtual Reality in Healthcare

VR in health care industry
Virtual Reality is a technology that uses the computer-generated simulation of a 3-D image or environment that enables a person to hear, see and interact using special equipment, such as headsets. Virtual Reality takes users inside a virtual experience, unlike traditional user interfaces. VR technology is adapted by the healthcare industry for providing a more patient-focused approach.

Here is one example of a patient who had colon cancer and she was getting chemotherapy every week for around 6 years. She spent almost 4.5 hours during the chemotherapy session ready reading books, chatting, or watching television.

At the time of infusion, she sometimes wished to go to beaches to relax. But, she couldn’t go in her real life because her skin was too sensitive to go out in the sunlight. But VR technology made it possible for her to live her dream by simulating a beach-like environment where she could feel like she was sitting on the beach and enjoying the sunbath.

Most of the patients have loved this experience and are fond of using virtual reality in a healthcare setting. It is expected that virtual reality will continue to grow in the upcoming years. As per the research from GlobeNewsFire, by the year 2026, the market for virtual reality in healthcare will reach $7billion. The healthcare industry is in its initial stages of technology and has started to realize where technology can be used.

Let’s see how you can transform your healthcare business using Virtual Reality technology in the healthcare industry:

Pain Reduction

pain reduction in health care industry

A program was conducted in 2019 by Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC that included a VR headset for children who required removing stitches, sutures like procedures.

The program involved approximately 40 children along with age criteria of between 7 to 23. Each child was given a VR headset enveloped in shielded gear to cut down germs. After that, children had to select between different scenarios which included walking through a jungle, talking with a friendly snake, and taking a roller coaster ride. VR headsets were connected to screens so that parents could observe and see what their children were watching.

During the entire activity, kids did not experience any pain, and parents were thrilled to see the behavior of their child as their child was happy and tolerated the procedure peacefully. However, most healthcare institutes are adopting VR technology for pain reduction therapies.

  • Pacing up recovery in physical therapy

Physical therapies for patients can be made more enjoyable using VR technology by engaging patients in a simulated environment. According to the research, after using VR technology, children with a health condition like cerebral palsy noticed an improvement in their mobility.

VR technology is being used widely in speeding up recovery in physical therapy. Neuro Rehab VR being one of the leading providers in Virtual Reality Physical Therapy has introduced a gamified approach to physical therapy. The company has developed VR training exercises with machine learning to customize each exercise to the patient’s therapeutic requirements.

  • VR simulations to understand problems from someone else’s perspective

Embodied Labs uses Virtual Reality technology to simulate what it seems like to live with existing health conditions. It enables people to experience life from someone else’s perspective by wearing a VR headset and interacting with 360-degree videos.

VR simulations can help people to understand the feelings and experiences of a person suffering from a deadly disease. It can be also helpful for students who are studying or conducting research in understanding the disease and symptoms of the disease and how it feels like in real life.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Industry

AI in health care industry

The lives of doctors, patients, and hospital staff have become easier with the help of Artificial Intelligence. As it helps in doing the tasks at a fraction of cost and in less time than was earlier performed by humans.

Artificial Intelligence is renovating and strengthening modern healthcare with the help of machines. Everything is getting revitalized be it surveying chronic diseases or conducting the risk assessment.

Artificial Intelligence provides several benefits over clinical decision-making and traditional analytics. It enables humans to get accurate and précised insights into patients’ diagnostics and treatment processes.

Let’s have a look at some of the ways how Artificial Intelligence can bring digital transformation to the healthcare industry:

  • Diagnosing and reducing errors

In the US, approximately 10% of all deaths were the result of misdiagnosing the error. Artificial Intelligence technology promises to improve diagnosis and diagnostic processes. Large caseloads or incomplete medical history can result in horrifying human errors but AI can help in the diagnosis more quickly than any medical professionals.

According to one of the researchers, breast cancer was diagnosed by an AI model by using algorithms at a higher rate than 11 pathologists. In the US, breast cancer in women is the second leading cause of cancer deaths and screening mammography has been implemented to reduce the mortality rate.

Therefore, deep learning tools can assist radiologists in improving the accuracy of screening mammography.

  • Analytics for Pathology Images

The essential diagnostic data is provided by the pathologists. As per Jeffrey Golden, around 70% of decisions are based on pathology diagnosis in the healthcare system. The more accurate results they get, the sooner they can provide the right diagnosis. Artificial Intelligence has been widely leveraged by pathologists for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

  • Converting smartphone selfies into powerful diagnostic tools

Professionals believe that pictures captured from smartphones or other devices can be of great help in providing medical quality imaging. Due to advancements in technology the picture quality of smartphones is getting better and better which can provide images that are viable for analysis by AI algorithms. An incredible tool has been built by researchers in the UK which analyzes the child’s face and recognizes the developmental disease just by analyzing the face of a child. The algorithm can recognize distinct features of a child and attributes that indicate a craniofacial abnormality. However, it’s a high time and huge opportunity for us to convert piles of data into valuable insights.

Devices like smartphones can be utilized in collecting pictures of skin lesions, wounds, or infections to help reduce the time of diagnosis.

  • Management of Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Record (EHR) is defined as the data which includes information of the patient, new research findings, and details of the diagnosis. In the healthcare industry, EHR is generated in bulk every day.

The implementation of Artificial Intelligence in EHRs helps organizations to make better decisions. EHR systems along with Artificial Intelligence enable healthcare professionals to manage their observations despite adding the data manually. In EHRs, AI helps healthcare professionals to analyze the existing data information to give recommendations.

Healthcare professionals are leveraging the information in EHRs using AI technology. It is also transforming them into virtual assistants. Using this technology, a healthcare professional can get suggestions before giving a drug or treatment to the patient.

  • Drug and Vaccine Creation

It is very important to understand the development cycle of drug development before we understand how AI contributes to the development of drugs. Researchers focus on finding out the protein which is leading to that disease. These examinations are performed by the researchers for a long period of time. If the examination is not carried out properly then there are huge chances that they can face a huge loss due to research performed on the wrong protein.

Only safe and efficient compounds are approved for developing drugs. The complete process turns out to be very time-consuming and manual which is why AI comes into the picture.

Over hundreds and thousands of molecules are present in today’s world so it is a very tough task for researchers to examine these molecules manually. It becomes very important to test every molecule to know which one would be the most relevant one to fight any specific disease.

The parameters are first fed in by the experts using AI. To execute any search, the molecules are compared against parameters. The AI-enabled system will keep on searching for the most relevant results and will show you the results that will include two or more compounds that are the most capable ones to fight the disease.

Therefore, vaccines can be developed and tested successfully with the help of artificial intelligence.

  • Automating repetitive processes

The Healthcare industry includes many repetitive tasks and AI technology is designed such that it motorizes this task. From day’s migrants to non – judicial claims and eligibility claims, anything can be automated such that staff members can highlight giving better patient service.

Olive, which is one of the AI-as-assertive tools, can be desegregated easily in a hospital’s software, and it removes the need for expensive integration or downtime.

  • Notifying doctors when patients are in trouble

Google’s DeepMind Health AI is used by various hospitals worldwide for diagnosing and treating patients efficiently. This helps healthcare professionals to assist based on the symptoms in the diagnosis of disease before it gets serious. This way healthcare professionals can detect the disease more quickly using the DeepMind platform.

Big Data in Healthcare Industry

Big Data has completely transformed the way we analyze and manage data in the industry. We can implement it in one of the most promising industries which is healthcare to enhance the quality of life, avoid preventable disease, reduce treatment costs, and forecast outbreaks of epidemics. A massive amount of data can be collected by healthcare professionals and find the best possible strategy to use that data. Integration of Big Data in the healthcare industry can result in positive and life-saving outcomes.

The collection of essential healthcare data has become much easier with the aid of these emerging technologies. Data driven-insights help healthcare professionals to take steps and solve an issue before it gets late. Let’s now understand all the benefits that are provided by Big Data and how it can be used in the healthcare industry.

  • Patients prediction for improved staffing

A general issue is faced by healthcare shift managers’ while deciding the number of people they are required to put on staff at any specific time. If the healthcare manager keeps too many workers then it would result in excess labor cost whereas keeping a lesser number of workers than required might result in poor services and can be a great risk to patients’ health.

To solve this issue, Big Data comes into play. Data from a wide array of sources can be used to generate daily and hourly predictions of how many patients are expected to be at the hospital or clinic.

Hence, the collection of data can help the healthcare industry to improve staffing by providing you with information regarding the admission rates of patients.

  • Real-time Alerting

This is one of the most important parts of big data analytics in the healthcare industry. Clinical Decision Support Software is used by the hospitals for analyzing medical data right on the spot and providing them with healthcare professionals who will take the best care of them. Several Wearable devices are also used for the collection of patients’ health data. For example, if any patient has a sudden rise in his heartbeat then the device sends a notification instantly to the doctor who was taking his care and he reaches the patient on time.

  • Informed Strategic Planning using Health Data

Big Data plays a major role in the healthcare industry by aiding strategic planning. Results of patients’ checkups can be analyzed by healthcare managers in various demographic groups. It can also help in finding out the factors which demotivate people from taking up the treatment.

  • Preventing Human Errors

There are times when healthcare professionals can make a mistake and prescribe the wrong medication. Such human errors can be reduced with the help of big data. Healthcare professionals can make use of big data healthcare tools to monitor the data of users gathered by medical professionals. Thus, many lives can be saved with the use of this software that will help you avoid all the human prescription errors.

Voice

voice tech in health care industry

Today, many people across the world are in complete love with Voice technology. In the upcoming years, there will be an introduction of voice technology like Alexa in the healthcare industry too. An effective and clear solution between healthcare professionals and patients is possible with the inclusion of this technology.

Enabling Diabetes Patients to Manage their Solution Effectively

In 2018, Alexa Diabetes Challenge was conducted by AWS and Merck & Co. Inc together with a $250,000 prize pot. Wellpepper won the Sugarpod. Alexa can be helpful for diabetic patients for monitoring their treatment and progress effectively using Sugarpod. Voice technology like Alexa can be implemented in monitoring chronic diseases.

  • Enhancing interaction in the hospital

The Alexa-enabled platform was used by one of the startups in Los Angeles for communication purposes between patients and caretakers. Voice technology like Alexa enables patients to call their caretakers or switch on/off the television using their smart devices. It is believed by some experts that these interactive technologies reduce the loneliness feeling for patients and they can get assistance as well using this technology.

  • Managing blood pressure with Alexa Skills

Voice technology can help manage blood pressure using Alexa skills. One of the companies named Omron launched a watch, called “HeartGuide”. This watch could measure the blood pressure and send readings as well using Alexa skill which can be of great help for patients.

  • Reducing wait times

Using Alexa skills hospitals can reduce waiting time for patients by providing them with the correct information which can also reduce the patient’s stress. This will let patients reach before their health condition gets serious.

Internet of Things

IOT in health care industry

Interactions between doctors and patients were quite difficult as they had options of physical visits or text communications. Before the Internet of Things was introduced, healthcare professionals or hospitals had no way of monitoring a patient’s health condition on a regular basis and taking action accordingly.

In the healthcare industry, IoT-enabled devices enable healthcare professionals to provide better care and monitor patients’ health. IoT has made communication between patients and doctors efficient and easier. IoT reduces healthcare costs by decreasing the stay duration in the hospital. This technology also helps in improving treatment outcomes. Hospitals, patients, insurance companies, etc. are leveraging the benefits of IoT implementation in healthcare.

  • IoT for physicians

Physicians can monitor patients’ health in real life with the help of home monitoring equipment that is embedded with IoT sensors and wearable devices. Interactions become much easier and proactive with the help of IoT. The data which is collected through IoT helps healthcare professionals to find out the best treatment for their patients which will provide expected results.

  • IoT for patients

Fitness bands and wirelessly connected heart rate monitoring cuffs are devices that improve the personalized attention that patients receive from their respective healthcare professionals. IoT devices remind the patient regarding their appointment with a doctor, number of steps taken in a day, calorie count, heart rate, blood pressure, and various other things. As we know that IoT enables real-time this is why it is extremely beneficial for elderly patients. The alert mechanism is used by IoT to send a notification to their respective healthcare provider and family members.

  • IoT for hospitals and clinics

IoT devices can be used in different areas of the hospital as well. The devices that are facilitated with sensors can be used for knowing the location of medical equipment like nebulizers, oxygen pumps, wheelchairs, etc.

One of the main concerns for any hospital is to avoid the spread of infections. IoT-based hygiene monitoring devices help us to do so. They work well to prevent patients from getting infected. For example, smart IoT-enabled cameras can be used to have a look at the routine of patients like whether they have washed and sanitized their hands before eating their food or the visitors are not coming in close contact with patients, etc.

IoT devices can also be used in the management of assets like monitoring refrigerator temperature and humidity.

  • IoT for health insurance companies

With the use of IoT-connected devices, health insurers can flawlessly perform their underwriting and claims tasks. Insurance companies can use data captured from health monitoring devices to find out fraudulent claims and identify underwriting surveys. IoT devices increase the transparency between insurers and customers in claims management, pricing, underwriting and also help in the risk assessment process. Customers can be retained by insurers by gratifying them for using and sharing the health data which was recorded by IoT devices.

They can also give impetus if a person tracks his routine and is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It eventually helps insurers to reduce claims vastly. Claims can also be verified by using the data generated from IoT devices. With the help of a large amount of data captured by IoT devices, it can also contribute to digital transformation.

IoT has an easy four-step system that can be used in any of the industries.

Leading healthcare companies that are leveraging the power of digitization

Listed below are a few healthcare companies from Japan that have been leveraging the power of digitization:

Takeda Pharmaceutical: This is Japan’s one of the largest Pharmaceutical companies. In a pilot project, Takeda used wearable devices and telemedicine for tracking patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In the end, Takeda discovered the possibility of decreasing the burden of disease management and hospital visits.

Salesforce: the cloud-based software giant. It improved operational efficiency and patient engagement for healthcare providers by centralizing digital patient data.

SOMPO Holdings: a Japanese insurance group. Leveraged data to address staffing shortages and is currently developing more personalized services in nursing care.

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FAQ’s

In Conclusion

With revolution and digitization, new trends are emerging in the healthcare industry frequently. It has become an ongoing process and is implemented by many hospitals or clinics. You have to think beyond your imagination for implementing these technologies in the healthcare industry and drive innovation.

You can choose the technology based on your requirements for delivering better patient care.

If you are looking to build a technology solution for your healthcare startup or healthcare institute, contact our healthcare software developers now.

Kush P

Kush Patel is the Chief Technical Officer and Managing Director of Echo Innovate IT – a software development company. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in making Echo innovate IT the top-notch IT services provider and transforming it into a globally trusted web and app development company.