The healthcare sector didn’t need the pandemic to realize just how essential technology is for its practices. In fact, the rate of tech adoption in the industry was steadily rising in pre-pandemic times. However, COVID-19 certainly gave tech adoption a noticeable boost, both among physicians and patients. Today, it’s impossible to think about the future of the healthcare industry without telemedicine solutions, patient portals, and remote monitoring.
The crisis might have forced many technologies on healthcare providers, but they surely feel confident enough around them today. In fact, 83% of physicians surveyed in an EY report say that they now feel more comfortable using digital health technologies than prior to COVID-19. What’s more, 67% of physicians say that they’ll use innovative technologies to provide better care and run their practices more efficiently.
That begs the question: Which technologies are they going to use? There are plenty of alternatives out there, but our work with healthcare providers shows us that the following 6 are among the most wanted.
Probably the most visible example of the increased tech adoption during the pandemic, telehealth is here to stay. It might have emerged as a way to keep social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its convenience and practicality are the reasons we can safely say that telemedicine is here to stay.
That’s because a larger number of people have used telehealth when compared to the pre-pandemic use of telemedicine tools. That firsthand experience surely lets patients (and physicians) appreciate the benefits that come with telehealth when dealing with regular checkups or minor ailments.
2. Remote Patient Monitoring
You could argue that remote patient monitoring is a form of telehealth—and you’d be right. However, RPM is more than just a video call to check up on symptoms or do a routine follow-up session. That’s mainly because RPM involves a variety of devices (mainly wearables) to gather the patients’ health data to later send it to their physicians.
Thus, health providers can access the latest health data on their patients at all times. Wearables can help practitioners measure blood pressure, weight, blood glucose, temperature, sleep quality, and more. Coupled with artificial intelligence, these devices can provide highly beneficial insights that can help physicians provide more precise treatment for each patient.
3. Communication and Collaboration Platforms
Social distancing didn’t just affect patients who wanted to go to the doctor. It also affected physicians themselves, who were forced to use digital applications and platforms to keep in touch with colleagues and work together in remote treatments and assessments. It’s not surprising, then, that communication and collaboration platforms are taking center stage in the healthcare sector.
Communication and collaboration platforms allow doctors to deliver better care for different patients, especially for those patients that require a multidisciplinary approach for their treatments. Using a combination of cloud-based, desktop, and mobile tools, practitioners can quickly discuss patients’ outcomes with other doctors in real time without having to meet in person.
4. Patient Portals
Online platforms aren’t just for internal use. Healthcare providers can also develop cloud-based solutions to stay in close contact with their patients. In fact, many institutions are already embracing patient portals to better manage everything related to their patient’s care. While those portals vary from one institution to another (as they are usually custom healthcare platforms), most of them have features for managing prescriptions, viewing test results, making payments, and learning about their treatments in a more in-depth way.
Patient portals also make it easier for patients to schedule appointments, as they only need an internet connection to select the proper date and time. What’s more, these portals can include chatbots to completely automate the process and help patients make their appointments more easily. As if that wasn’t enough, using AI in patient portals can also lead to innovative features, such as smart reminders for routine services or follow-up appointments.
5. Cloud-computing Solutions
Another fairly evident technology that healthcare professionals will have to invest in, cloud-computing infrastructure is the backbone of the solutions I’ve mentioned so far. There will be no telehealth, RPM, collaboration, or patient management applications without a proper cloud-computing foundation to support it all.
While healthcare institutions can certainly do with local and on-site systems for their operations, moving them to the cloud can result in many benefits, including increased agility, widespread access to the systems, and easier collaboration.
6. AI for Data Analysis
Using artificial intelligence for data analysis isn’t precisely exclusive to the healthcare sector, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t of capital importance for this industry. In fact, using AI in healthcare has proven to be highly effective during the pandemic, as it’s helped identify the best treatments for COVID-19 as well as develop vaccines and trace contacts. Moving forward, the integration of AI in healthcare will be even greater, especially when it comes to customizing patient care.
Take IQVIA’s products as a great example. Using proprietary solutions and leveraging AI, the company offers unseen insights that drive smarter decisions and unleash new opportunities for health providers. From research and development to commercialization, the possibilities brought about by IQVIA go to show that smart technologies can impact every aspect of healthcare and do so at scale. We should know—BairesDev helped them build a system to quickly flex and scale up to increasing demands for long-term success.
Reimagining Healthcare With Technology
I just went over the most popular technologies for healthcare today, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones that can help provide personalized care. Other technologies, like blockchain, 5G, robotics, the Internet of Things, and edge computing, can also strengthen healthcare services with new approaches and perspectives.
Now, it’s understandable if you’re having a hard time deciding which one of these technologies you should use in your healthcare institution. While there’s no recipe for success, you need to take a look inside and understand your critical goals, your available resources, and your current offerings to zero in on your biggest pain points and tackle them with technology.
That’s because technology in the healthcare sector didn’t become essential by being a flashy addition to health practices. Rather, technology is critical when it answers real problems at the right time. That’s precisely what happened with these technologies during the pandemic: They helped in sorting out a difficult situation and provided excellent results. That’s why it’s so hard to imagine the future of healthcare without them.