Convenience has become a key factor in determining the value of any service provided, which of course includes digital healthcare services. Our behavior as consumers has adapted accordingly with the disruption that digital technologies dealt each industry in the world.
So, if you are a hospital or a doctor wondering how you can better care for your patients and earn their word of mouth... here are 6 trends that will boost your healthcare services exponentially:
1. Mobile Digital Healthcare
From addressing inquiries over the phone, email, WhatsApp or even Chatbots; the point is to deliver quality healthcare and comfort patients.
Being able to clear their inquiries and one-time consultations with a specialized medical professional over the phone allows patients to enjoy a convenient medical experience free of unnecessary burdens such as booking an appointment, commuting, finding a parking space, pretending to be amused by last year’s medical journal magazine in the lobby, walking in to your office after 30 min. for them to be ushered out in less than 2 minutes.
Relieve your patients from the drudgery of long queues and waiting by developing a mobile app for your clinic or hospital. Your patients will be able to book appointments comfortably via the app or leave an inquiry for you to answer.
As for yourself, you can prioritize your resources and time to providing better healthcare services by having a Chatbot address common inquiries and one-time consultations on your website.
Moreover, your mobile app enables you to automatically schedule check-ups based on each patient’s need, saving lots of time and grief for both parties.
The benefits of mobile healthcare or telemedicine are massive and can seriously upgrade the quality of healthcare services you provide. Particularly if you have a small clinic with minimal space for patients to wait, patiently (yes I know, sorry about that).
2. Cloud Computing
By outsourcing time-consuming chores such as record keeping to Cloud service providers, hospitals no longer have to concern themselves with allotting or finding new space for new patients’ paper-based record files.
Cloud services have enabled medical institutions to better direct their resources and efforts to optimizing their core healthcare services. Not only that, cloud computing has proven to be increasingly effective in terms of data privacy and security.
Medical data theft and black markets have always been one of the major issues that plague the healthcare industry. According to Maintel’s head of security; medical information can be worth 10 times more than credit card information on the black market.
“Cloud based solutions have matured to a point where they are more secure than local server solutions alone,” said Hector Rodriguez, Microsoft’s Worldwide Health chief information security officer.
However, data security and breaches is an ongoing battle where hospitals and other medical institutions must coordinate with trusted cloud service providers.
While medical institutions are still hesitant to adopt cloud computing, the rise of blockchain technologies has facilitated a private and secure process of knowledge transfer which is an essential feature of healthcare.
For example, a doctor or specialist brought in for a consultation can be granted temporary access to a patient’s file through a secure system that all relevant parties use. Information can also be kept as anonymous as the circumstances require, allowing patients and doctors to opt-in to provide data for research, without breaching GDPR and HIPAA standards.
Recently speaking with Forbes about the impact of Blockchain on healthcare; Greg Matthews, whose mission is data-centered innovation in healthcare, and is creator of MDigitalLife, a platform for tracking digital trends in healthcare, offers an additional perspective:
“Blockchain could make the biggest impact in healthcare in enabling health outcomes that take a 360° view of the patient’s genetic profile, their demographic and socioeconomic status, the behaviors that impact their health, and their response to different treatments or combinations of treatments”
Hospitals can save huge amounts of money when sending for a particular specialist who needs to travel all the way from Tokyo to review a patient’s record. At a global scale, it is a mouthwatering prospect.
Can you imagine the prospect of a global healthcare industry interconnected? A singular medical brain that is consistently fed by wearable tech and expertise from specialists across the world.
Blockhain has proven to be a necessity for healthcare providers and is being increasingly adopted by them due to the combined benefits of integrating cloud-based computing and wearable IoT medical devices.
There are early examples of Internet-of-Things (IoT) relevant to healthcare that surfaced almost 5 years ago like Nike’s FitBit that tracked your steps to ensure that the user exerted a healthy amount of physical activity everyday.
Now, thanks to a combination of mobile connectivity, integrated analytics and wearable tech; IoT has evolved to a point that drastically transformed the entire healthcare sector.
For example, with you can:
- Track patients, staff and inventories efficiently
- Address chronic diseases
- Ensure availability of critical medical equipment
- Optimize drug prescription with smart drugs
The Philips e-Alert is an innovative solution that continuously monitors MRI system performance and issues alerts via mobile messaging
Development of IoT medical devices is not straightforward as there are implications and obstacles that must be carefully considered, still, I cannot wait to see more progress being made on this front and how the benefits that these innovative solutions will enhance healthcare for all.
5. Big Data
Websites are no longer acceptable; the people demand digital experiences.
In order to sustain a high level of patient-retention; medical institutions of all sizes across the world have realized the importance of personalizing their digital experience to each patient’s preferences.
It’s why many global healthcare institutions, hospitals and professionals have joined the likes of life sciences giant Pfizer in adopting Drupal as the backbone for their digital experiences.
Source: Dries Buytaert YouTube Channel
Creating a personalized experience is where Big Data plays a key role in enabling you as a healthcare service provider to optimize your resources, efforts and time in a bid to provide better healthcare to your patients.
For example, your appointment booking system can determine the appropriate frequency of check-ups an elderly patient needs to make and the preferred method of communication via the data compiled from historical patient data.
Personalization isn’t the only benefit gained from analyzing Big Data. As a doctor, you will be able to accurately diagnose patients by feeding an AI-based healthcare system information about your patients’ DNA and ancestry.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Using Deep Learning (DL) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques, Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines can potentially save prolong lives.
Thanks to Big Data and integrated analytics, AI machines can enable doctors to detect life-threatening diseases early on and recommend the best course of treatment needed in each particular situation.
There are various innovative AI healthcare technologies being developed such as the recently FDA approved AI diagnostic system that detects eye-related diseases. Disorders were successfully identified by the system in 87% of cases, and it accurately identified individuals without the disease 90% of the time.
The amazing impact that AI based healthcare technologies and solutions will have on the entire medical industry is yet to be fully realized. Given time, these AI technologies can only become more effective due to the consistent stream of patient data thanks to the prevalence of fast and reliable mobile connectivity in most areas of the world.
All the aforementioned trends and technological advances are driven by the realization that in the digital world, the patient is the boss. The patients will always opt for the most convenient, trusted and reliable healthcare available.
Whether you are a hospital, clinic, private practice, or any B2C medical institution; these trends are worth keeping an eye on and implementing if possible to sustain your ability to deliver the best healthcare possible for your patients in a cost-effective manner.
More importantly, if you are asking yourself “How do I provide better digital healthcare to my patients?” Let us know. As digital experience building specialists; we can relieve that pain.