Like most other industries, healthcare is being revolutionized by digital transformation. And sometimes, digital transformation in healthcare can seem overwhelming. Adapting to the digital era requires an innovative and risk-taking mentality.

Overall, the impact of digital transformation on the healthcare sector has been a positive one. Telemedicine, AI-based medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records are just some examples of how digital transformation has modernized healthcare.

Through these innovative solutions, healthcare providers can leverage optimized healthcare systems that leave minimal room for  human error while patients enjoy an amazing user experience through mobile and web-based solutions.  Patients also have access to better healthcare through VR, wearable medical devices and other mobile technologies.

Let’s take a deeper look at how digital transformation has impacted healthcare:

on-demand healthcare

1. Increase in On-Demand Healthcare

Statistics reveal that almost 50% of all web browsing in the world happens on mobile devices.  And the fact that almost four billion people globally are using internet on a daily basis makes it quite evident how digital transformation can open a number of opportunities in the healthcare sector.

On-demand means receiving things at your own convenience, at a time of your preference. The concept of receiving services on-demand is becoming popular in the healthcare industry.

People can receive medical advice and book medical appointments on the go. They can access a range of services through on-demand healthcare applications.

big data in healthcare

2. Importance of Big Data in Healthcare

Many companies use the large amount of data accumulated in their systems to provide better customer service, create personalized campaigns and, of course, to increase profitability. Businesses that use big data have a competitive advantage because they can make accurate decisions faster.

Big data aggregates information about the consumers through social media, ecommerce and online transactions, and identifies patterns and trends for future use.  In this way, knowing the historical and real-time data of their clients, companies can make customer-centric decisions.

Big data has made its way into the healthcare sector as well. Medical researchers can use it to spot risk factors for diseases. Data derived from electronic health records (EHRs), social media and other sources provides healthcare organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information on communicable disease threats and outbreaks.

For the healthcare industry, big data can provide several important benefits, including:

  • Lower rate of medication errors – through patient record analysis, intelligent software can flag any clashes in patients’ health records and drug prescriptions, alerting health professionals and patients when there’s risk of an error.
  • Better staff management –predictive analysis can help hospitals and clinics in estimating future admission rates, which allows them to allocate the right staff to their patients. This could reduce ER wait times when a facility is understaffed.

After understanding the benefits of big data for healthcare companies, it is evident why healthcare organizations need to invest in organizing and analyzing their data in 2020.

blockchain in healthcare

3. Blockchain for Better Electronic Health Records

Blockchain is a digital ledger or a computerized database of transactions. It allows customers to safely exchange financial information with suppliers, without any third party such as banks.

In healthcare, blockchain is proven to be an effective tool in preventing data breaches, improving the accuracy of medical records, and cutting costs.

The implementation of this technology is imperative for electronic health records in 2020. EHR is basically the digital version of a medical chart and includes everything from a patient’s medical history and diagnoses, to treatment plans, immunization dates and test results.

It can also include their addresses, contact details, next-of-kin, insurance particulars and credit card numbers (in case of online payment). This is why it is essential to use blockchain to protect this critical information from getting into the wrong hands.

Some countries, like the UK, have started to experiment with blockchain technology to manage medical records and transactions, making records not only 100% accurate, but also harder to hack.

predictive analysis in healthcare

4. Predictive Healthcare

Predictive analysis in healthcare can not only benefit patients at a personal level, but also be used to predict what illnesses and diseases will become problematic in the near future. Utilizing big data, healthcare companies can analyze the most researched keywords to find out common illnesses and prepare accordingly.

For example, through predictive analysis, medical facilities could hire temporary staff to deal with an impending outbreak well before staff shortage becomes chaotic.

wearable medical devices

5. Growth of Wearable Medical Devices

The number of healthcare companies collecting data from medical devices is increasing at pace.

In the past, most patients checked with their healthcare provider when they already had a problem, or at most, once a year during the yearly check-up. But in this digital era, patients are focusing on prevention and maintenance, and they demand continuous access to information about their health.

As a result, healthcare companies are beginning to invest in wearable technology devices that can provide up-to-date monitoring of high-risk patients to determine the likelihood of a major health event.

Some of the most common wearable devices are:

  • Heart rate sensors
  • Exercise trackers
  • Sweat meters – to monitor blood sugar levels
  • Oximeters – to monitors the amount of oxygen carried in the blood

Wearable medical devices allow patients to take their health in their own hands.  They can monitor their stats anytime they want and can send the results to their physician for consultation. Through the data collected from such devices, insurance companies can provide personalized offers, and clients can get more convenient prices or premiums.

We all know that doing exercise or dieting  can be hard but wearable medical devices, such as fitness bands, can create competitive goals for users to keep motivation high.

VR in Healthcare

6. Virtual Reality in Treatment

A few years ago, nobody could’ve imagined the possibility of reducing a patient’s pain through a VR game. Digital transformation in healthcare has presented a safer and more efficient treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke by means of Virtual Reality.

Doctors can also utilize virtual reality simulations to hone their skills or to plan complicated surgeries. Medical students have been practicing surgery through VR for quite a few years now.

From startups to pharma giants, in 2020, every company should consider implementing VR. Globally, spending on virtual and augmented reality in healthcare market is predicted to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

7. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than just a digital transformation trend in the healthcare sector. AI represents a medical innovation that will shape almost all facets of the industry.

Talking about AI in healthcare, you may probably be thinking about the Japanese nurse robot or hospital droid designed to assist human nurses with routine tasks like restocking supplies. But artificial intelligence in healthcare is much more than that.

AI-based chatbots can substitute customer service agents as well as professional therapists. The global healthcare chatbots market is projected to reach $314.3 million by 2023 from $122 million in 2018.

The real power of AI can be best observed in areas like precision medicine, medical imaging, drug discovery, and genomics. In the past, patients often received generic therapies with considerable failure rates. But now, thanks to sophisticated pattern recognition, these patients can have access to personalized treatments.

With artificial intelligence, healthcare providers can analyze thousands of pathology images to provide highly accurate diagnosis without human error.

Some of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are also using machine learning algorithms to shorten the drug development cycle. It can reduce time and save costs as well as lives.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Your Health is in Your Hands

Digital technology is a valuable tool that can transform healthcare as we know it. The progress of digital transformation in healthcare in 2020 is very promising. As in any industry, the goal is to create products and services that improve lives and fulfill a want or need. Technology can help in realizing this goal.

If you need help with your digital transformation initiatives, or  you need an innovative healthcare mobile app for your organization, contact Appify at hello@appify.digital