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The State of Digital Transformation in Healthcare July 6th, 2021

The State of Digital Transformation in Healthcare

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 Virus has accelerated the drive to adopt further ‘futurized’ technology offerings for nearly every industry. Taking the cake has to be the healthcare industry that was essentially ‘thrown to the wolves through means of surviving this deadly pandemic. Hospitals and Primary Care Centers were hardly given any other route of action when it came to adopting pivotal technology strategies and tools to help adapt their workplace and the opportunity to continue to provide care for those who needed it most during these weird and unpredicted times. 2020 was a big year for the terms “data analytics”, “telehealth”, “remote patient management” and so many other ground-breaking initiatives, and without their aid, it’s unlikely any healthcare environment would have been able to keep up with the several thousand patients seeking care both in-room and at home.

COVID-19 was a kick to many facilities that didn’t have the staff or the efforts to give to the incoming pour of cases, so many were forced to provide care in non-traditional environments, such as hallways, lobbies, and even parking garages. Digital healthcare solutions sought to provide relief where traditional practices weren’t able to, and in return have laid out some essential, foundational groundwork for healthcare to come and how it shall look as months and years go by.

Digital Tools are Here to Stay

Telehealth was known of, before the start of COVID-19, but primarily for those living in rural regions or those recovering from a large surgery procedure and require some follow-up video call sessions, to check the status of symptoms and health stats. Now, it’s probably one of the most commonly utilized resources, to help stop the spread of in-person contact, while also receiving care and/or a referral to take a COVID-19 test, in light of any known symptoms popping up. Healthcare officials sought to rapidly amp up telehealth efforts in every part of the country, in hopes of training their personnel and patients on how to navigate this new digital landscape effectively. Adoption rates are likely to continue surging for it allows clinicians with a whole new perspective on providing care to their patients.

AI and Machine Learning have played a huge role in optimizing healthcare provision going forward and as we are living in the world of incoming data at basically coming in from every which way, and that data needs to be harnessed and organized multiple quantities of information to help make important and powerful predictions. Such rollouts of predictive technologies are beneficial to support the workforce during the pandemic. Most recently, NHSX announced that €50M funding boost for cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to better analyze breast cancer screening scans, assess emergency stroke patients, and support clinicians to deliver treatment faster and more efficiently. With this kind of support backing healthcare administrations, remote monitoring is much closer to being accomplished in the field.

As healthcare seems to be undertaking a new level of digital technology adoption with the passing days, it’s vital that these tools and resources comply with data security policies and regulations put in place by GDPR, in order to continue putting the customer first and protecting their rights. When it comes to ensuring Telehealth provides the right amount of care, the GDPR will be enforced for apps that collect patient data for record-keeping purposes, and then to turn around and provide an accurate read on a diagnosis, communicating next steps to the patient through the app’s database platform. With this stricter security regulation put in place, users could potentially adapt to a great trust in these apps and be more willing to download and use them in the future, since their records are protected.

Vaccination on the Horizon

Globally the vaccine is rolling out much slower than I’m sure we all expected, and with that being said, many are curious as to when it will be their turn to be vaccinated. Thousands of frontline workers, politicians, and elderly at-risk individuals have already received their first dosage of the shot, with the booster following shortly after in a few weeks. This is great progress, but as the months roll on inward, it will be up to the healthcare professionals to maintain a sense of various patient engagement tools to reassure those who are unsure and provide some relief, from a customer service standpoint.

Frost & Sullivan research indicates a growth of nearly 20-25% inpatient engagement management solutions in 2021, because, at this point, patients have grown very comfortable with the know-how of digital/virtual healthcare and are basically demanding it as an option from their primary care providers. Following up with that finding, the group also analyzed that the global telehealth market is projected to reach nearly $50 billion in 2021, especially through the means of improving virtual care. Remote monitoring resources and other primary care facilities’ mobile health apps took center stage as they pulled out ahead to provide care and relief where they saw fit, as patients began to request COVID-19 testing capabilities. It’s likely that same surge will prosper as the vaccines begin to roll out for the common population, as well.

It’s more than evident that the pandemic has done a lot to accelerate the need for digital health strategies across the globe to help patients receive care, no matter where they are located. This adoption will likely encourage the usage of wearable devices and other innovations to assist Telehealth leaders as they amplify end-to-end solutions targeted for all individuals.

SAMANTHA KALANY

Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.

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