By Gaurav Gupta
In the past two years since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, technological innovations in the healthcare sector have accelerated the use and adoption of digital health. With the global pandemic still looming large on the horizon, more healthcare leaders and organizations are embracing digital health to build resilient and future-proof healthcare systems. Also spurred by the need to improve patient outcomes, efficiency, and communications between healthcare providers and patients, digitalization in healthcare is bringing innovations to the fore.
Telemedicine for remote patient care, blockchain for electronic medical records (EMRs), artificial intelligence (AI) for diagnosis and prevention, and extended reality for virtual care are some innovations transforming the digital healthcare sector. According to the World Economic Forum, more than 1 billion people will need reskilling in medical technology by 2030. Technological companies are foraying into the healthcare sector to explore possibilities, build patient-centric delivery models, and revolutionize the healthcare sector.
Putting patients at the center of healthcare
In recent years, technology has given prominence to consumers and shifted the focus from providers to patients in healthcare. Considering the primary purpose of healthcare is to save and improve lives, it is only reasonable that patients are put at the center of healthcare systems. Thanks to technological innovations in screening and diagnosis, patients can now receive point-of-care diagnostics. It enables patients to receive timely and convenient testing at the point of care, whether it is in the hospital, home, or ambulance. As a result, healthcare services can be provided as and when needed and a more cohesive patient care model can be developed.
Tech-enabled care delivery models
Perhaps the scope of technology can be best measured in the transformation of care delivery models. Innovations in digital health systems have provided more targeted and effective treatment to patients. At the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, technology has enabled doctors to provide remote patient support by means of telemedicine, remote monitoring, digital information and communication, electronic prescriptions, and online pharmacies. Despite global disruptions in the supply chains and the ever-increasing gap between doctors and patients, digitalization has allowed healthcare providers to leapfrog the gaps in traditional care delivery and provide patients uninterrupted and immediate healthcare services.
Data to boost healthcare capabilities
The radical improvements and groundbreaking innovations in IT technology have led to the decentralization and utilization of data. While blockchain technology is still in the nascent stages in the healthcare system, it has the potential to decentralize health data and allow patients greater control over their medical information. By harnessing the power of technological innovations in AI, cloud computing, EMRs, and blockchain, healthcare organizations can identify the best treatments for their patients, seamlessly transfer data between multiple channels and enhance drug development and disease prevention. Data-led healthcare can reduce medical errors, improve interoperability, facilitate preventive care and augment patients’ autonomy over their health data.
Bringing digital health innovations into practice
While digital health innovations have the potential to improve patient care, and healthcare access and reduce rising costs yet, achieving so is a herculean task. Ever since the global pandemic outbreak, several doctors and clinicians have embraced digital health in their practice. Online appointment booking, telemedicine, electronic patient records and digital prescriptions, among others, have become a vital part of their practice. With the advancement in technology and wide adoption of digital health, several healthcare providers are automating their clinical practice to improve patient outreach, reduce infrastructure costs and improve patient outcomes. By putting digital health into practice, both doctors and patients gain profit.
Reshaping patient experience
As digital technologies move care out of traditional healthcare settings, healthcare providers are creating an accessible and affordable patient-centric healthcare experience. Remote and distributed healthcare models can effectively substitute care delivery models that do not require in-person meetings. With virtual care, digitization of healthcare data, and increasing adoption of telehealth apps, healthcare organizations can build a frictionless healthcare system. As a result of technological innovations, the quality of care can be enhanced, on-demand patient care can be implemented and a seamless patient experience can be created.
The wave of technological innovations is sweeping the healthcare sector across the globe and helping the industry inch closer to a long-sought-after dream of universal healthcare at affordable costs. If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything- it is making the most with the scarce resources we have and technological innovations can help bolster the healthcare systems. By embracing innovations in digital health, healthcare organizations can improve patient outcomes, cut down costs and build resilient healthcare systems. With the evolution of digital health occurring at a swift pace, it would not be wrong to assume this decade as the period when technological innovations would reshape the healthcare sector.
(The author is Co-founder, Navia Life Care. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)