Technological developments have transformed how healthcare is performed for as long as healthcare has existed. As digital technologies become more widespread and more sophisticated, they will continue to reshape the world of healthcare.
Digitalization is improving productivity and efficiency across all industries – and healthcare can see some of the biggest benefits of digital technology.
Trends, such as wearable technologies and telehealth, have already transformed healthcare worldwide. The pandemic saw the number of telehealth appointments rise by 50% in 2020, and it is clear that it is here to stay.
However, digital healthcare trends will continue to evolve and grow. Here are some ways digital technologies will shape healthcare over the coming years.
One of the biggest benefits of digitization across all industries is improved communications. For example, digital phone services can allow you to access contacts, video calls, and team messaging from one location stored on the cloud.
This can improve patient-doctor communication using telehealth while allowing healthcare teams to coordinate workflows and share information across different physical locations.
Growth in Telehealth
Telehealth may have exploded due to the Covid pandemic, but it offers several benefits to medical practitioners and patients as the world returns to normal.
More and more health organizations are using telehealth to expand patient access – lack of transport or physical mobility is no longer a barrier to reaching quality healthcare. Telehealth has also transformed diagnosis as patients can now receive a diagnosis from the comfort of their own homes, allowing them to fit medical appointments around their schedule.
Integration of Wearables
320,000,000 wearable devices are expected to ship in 2022, which is set to grow over the coming years. While not all wearables are solely fitness devices, almost all can track fitness metrics such as heart rate and activity levels.
Doctors in diagnosis can use this data. At the same time, existing patients may agree to allow healthcare professionals to monitor this data in real time to assess how they react to treatment.
As wearable devices become more ubiquitous worldwide, healthcare practices will rely on them as a primary source of information about patients’ health.
Doctors and nurses will know how much time they’ve traditionally had to waste performing basic tasks such as paperwork. Digital automation can perform many of these tasks with little intervention, freeing healthcare professionals from dealing with patients.
Technologies used for effective inventory management can automatically manage drug storage levels, while automated messages to patients can improve appointment attendance.
As professionals can spend more time performing healthcare, diagnosis and treatment will improve – making automation a necessary digital trend for all healthcare organizations.
One of the most exciting digital developments over the next few years will be the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI). While it may seem like something out of a sci-fi novel, the fact is that AI is already being used in tasks such as detecting cancers.
Experts have estimated that AI will cut US healthcare costs by 150 billion annually by 2026. This is because AI can help reduce human error while assessing digital health records to create the best treatment plans for patients.
AI will only become more valuable in healthcare as the technology grows, meaning that patients can get the best possible treatment, and that doctors and nurses can focus on tasks that require human performance.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Some of the most exciting innovations in digital healthcare have come from virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). For example, VR has been used by some mental health practitioners to treat issues like anxiety and PTSD. As VR technologies become more accessible, more and more practitioners will be able to perform these types of therapies.
As well as this, VR and AR can be used by surgeons and other professionals to improve their practical skills. Some student doctors are already using VR to good effect, and we can expect to see VR use increasing as professionals try to improve their performance.
One of the most significant ways digitization has changed the patient experience is by allowing organizations to set up healthcare portals. Patients can schedule appointments on these websites or apps, view their data, order prescriptions, and more.
Development of these portals doesn’t need to be done in-house. If you don’t know answers to questions such as “what is open API integration?”, a number of companies can develop IT resources for your organization. As well as this, healthcare platforms offer specific healthcare portal frameworks.
Digital Patient Care
Digitization means that patient care is no longer restricted to the doctor’s office. As well as telemedicine for appointments, technology means that patient care can easily be continued after discharge.
Using a virtual number can help to make your office accessible to your patients, while doctors can also access calls regardless of their location. In addition, this continuation of care means that patients will have more confidence in their treatment and can monitor their conditions.
Data and Privacy
As more healthcare practices become digitized, more secure patient data will have to be stored on the cloud. While this data has benefits (such as ease of access and cost savings), it must be protected correctly.
Therefore, privacy software will be one crucial digital trend over the coming years. In addition, new technologies, such as blockchain, may help to secure your data, while patients will look for providers that offer the most secure digital environments.
Digitalization – The Future of Healthcare
Digital transformation in healthcare is already shaping the experiences of patients and doctors worldwide. Undoubtedly, as technology further grows, digitalization will only improve healthcare provision.
By staying on top of trends such as wearables, automation, patient portals, and VR, every healthcare practitioner can ensure that they perform at their highest level in 2023 and beyond.
About the Author
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, a cloud-hosted PBX and AI-incorporated unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Check out her LinkedIn profile.