The healthcare industry is in the middle of a major paradigm shift. The seismic change in the world brought on by Covid-19 is one of the driving forces behind this transformation. Concepts like telehealth, voice recognition, etc. have started gaining ground amid following the norms of social distancing to stay away from infection.
These days, people tend to avoid going out and even visiting hospitals. Therefore, the healthcare sector has started embracing transformational changes. These changes are also useful for patients who want to continue their treatment from home.
The healthcare sector has always relied on technology – to provide care, collect patient information, schedule appointments, collect payments and use new care options. Though this heavily regulated sector was little slow in adopting technological changes until recently, the pandemic has contributed to mainstreaming these advancements quickly across the world.
The Covid-19 pandemic put the adoption of digital technology by the healthcare industry into overdrive. In a survey conducted by Statista, 74% of respondents believed that the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to speeding up digital transformation in healthcare.
Regardless of the driving force behind this overhaul, this is a unique opportunity for healthcare stakeholders to utilize the potential of technology to improve quality of life. While the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology, many trends have been steering the transformation forward. These days, every healthcare app development company is looking to integrate technology with medicine to provide a more ‘customer-centric experience’ to users.
As the world is coping with the pandemic’s monumental changes, the focus is now on telemedicine app development to provide solutions that increase patient safety and improve medical care.
Let’s look at some of the trends that are driving the digital transformation in the thriving healthcare sector.
1. Big Data Providing Insights for Faster Intervention and Prevention
The technological advancements throughout the past years have helped in collecting large amounts of medical data of patients. This body of information is being analyzed to find patterns and gain insights into a patient’s health. Big data analytics has a lot of scope in the healthcare sector and again, this pandemic has shown us the importance of data analytics.
The Big data healthcare market globally was valued at $7 billion in 2017, and it is expected to increase to $22.7 billion by 2023. Electronic Health Record system (or EHR) helps in maintaining patient medical history, laboratory tests and results, imaging, demographics, genome data and socio-economic information. Since this information is vast, it needs data structuring and data mining to draw meaningful insights and make valuable analyses.
Big data is fulfilling the need for a value-based patient-centric healthcare system by:
- Reducing the risks of medical errors,
- Reduce medical costs,
- Improving testing and diagnosis,
- Developing preventive care measures,
- Streamlining a better clinical workflow,
- Designing recovery framework, and
- Enhance patient/physician relationships.
2. Voice Recognition To Decrease Physician Workload
In 2020, the voice recognition segment was valued at $10 billion, and it is predicted to reach $27 billion by 2026. Moreover, the healthcare segment contributed to 23% of the global speech and voice recognition market share in 2018. This concept can effectively improve the patient’s welfare and reduce the physician’s workload.
Voice recognition technology has improved dramatically over the last decade, and its accuracy has reached 99%. Since it is so technically accurate, every healthcare app development company worth its salt is using this technology to create reliable healthcare documents. Medical service providers and physicians can now voice-type their documents and diagnosis on the go. This technology also reduces the possibility of leaving out crucial information during visits.
3. Virtual Telehealth Visits
Telehealth and telemedicine are major driving forces behind the successful digital transformation. In 2019, barely 11% of US customers used telehealth, which has skyrocketed to 46% in 2020. Telemedicine app development is proving itself to be most useful in reducing doctor-patient in-person visits and in breaking the chain in disease transmission.
The shift from physical visits to virtual visits is inevitable, and it is going to continue in the future as well.
People have started to swiftly adopt virtual healthcare facilities during these ‘social distancing’ times. Telehealth helps manage chronic diseases, post-operative care, initial evaluation, preventive care and reduce wait time. The primary focus for any telemedicine app development company should be to develop applications that can provide access to critical services, remote clinical monitoring and assistive care for the elderly.
There are three major parts in telehealth –
- Real-time communication with physicians through video conferencing or smartphone-based live meeting
- Electronic transfer of medical documents such as x-rays, laboratory reports and analysis in a secure way for instant and anytime access
- Remote monitoring of patients – blood sugar levels, blood pressure and more vital parameters.
4. IoT Improving Patient Care Quality
The advancement of IoT devices has had a significant impact on the digital transformation in healthcare, especially in real-time collection of information, recording it, and analyzing the data using sensors. The Internet of medical things is devices that are connected through the internet. They could be wearables, smart beds, inhalers, EKG monitors, and more.
We can segregate IoT devices based on the stimuli and the location where they are placed. These devices can assist patients in ensuring that they consume the proper medication at the right time, set reminders, and measure vital parameters. Customized IoT devices are mostly used for monitoring glucose, oxygen level, pressure, fitness, and lifestyle.
5. Virtual Reality Enabling Diagnosis and Treatment
Virtual and Augmented Reality (AR) have been around us for many years. These emerging technologies have a significant role to play in various industry sectors, and the healthcare sector is no exception! On one hand, virtual reality contributes to spreading awareness and diagnosis, and on the other hand, augmented reality is useful for training and treatment-related procedures. Mixed reality allows you to manipulate both virtual and real-world objects simultaneously.
Let’s understand how we can apply virtual reality in the medical sector-
- During emergencies, VR can help physicians or surgeons in quickly finding crucial patient information. It makes it easier for emergency medical service providers to record and relay patient information to medical staff as and when necessary.
- During surgery, VR is most useful in digitally reconstructing a live moving organ. It is particularly useful for doctors to perform surgeries under challenging conditions.
- VR is also helpful for research and educational purposes. Surgeons can use it for various purposes including simulating real-time surgeries, practicing operational procedures, and reviewing various surgical processes to make the surgical procedure safer and quicker.
- VR technology is also useful for pain management and reducing drug abuse effectively. Various rehabilitation centers can use this technology for effective and beneficial treatment.
VR is also used for emotional recovery and post-operative rehabilitation. It also plays a major role in helping children with autism deal with the real world.
Both the worlds – healthcare and technology – are ever-evolving. And this digitization of the healthcare sector will further the trend of hospitals without walls. With these advancements, it is clear that no area in the healthcare sector will remain untouched by technology. Every healthcare app development company is looking for coders and developers who can design applications that bring advanced medical technology to everyone in an easy way.
But digitization should not only be about technology. It should pave the way for a healthcare transformation that can bring about a change in perception, acceptance of new ideas, and increase the value of life.