Technology has a significant impact on our way of living, or say, lifestyle. The recent pandemic age is an excellent epitome of what technological advancements can do for ensuring our well-being. In this blog, we will discuss how technology brings digital transformation in the healthcare sector. We will also dig deep into the benefits of digital transformation along with some use cases.
Let’s start with the definition of digital transformation without further ado.
What is digital transformation
There is no exaggeration in mentioning that digital transformation in healthcare is a foundation stone of a patient-centric approach. It not only helps healthcare service providers streamline operations but also enables them to understand the patient’s requirements to offer a better experience.
Digital transformation in the healthcare industry aims at using the latest tools, methodologies, and practices to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders and patients. It is about embracing advancements in technology for enhancing services without increasing costs.
As per a recent study by Deloitte, as many as 92% of healthcare professionals and institutes have achieved better performance with the help of digital transformation. Let’s see the importance of healthcare digital transformation.
Why is digital transformation important in healthcare?
The adoption of health technologies is on the rise in recent years. Many famous healthcare organizations have put digitalization a top priority to make their systems resilient and future-ready. Here are the top four points to show the increasing importance of digital transformation in healthcare.
These days, patients need more personalized experiences with high-quality healthcare services. Whether it is diagnosis or treatment, healthcare organizations can fulfil these expectations with the help of digital transformation.
Rise in Chronic Diseases
Apart from diseases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world population is suffering from many chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Such diseases need monitoring and digital transformation can make it possible for doctors to monitor their remote patients with such diseases.
Increasing administrative costs and overheads compel healthcare organizations to increase the charges of patient care services. Healthcare digital transformation can bring automation and increase the efficiency of the organization to reduce additional expenses and improve services at reduced costs.
Shortage of Trained Staff
Healthcare is one of the core industry sectors that faces a tremendous shortage of trained professionals. As per the WHO estimate, there will be a deficit of over 12 million skilled healthcare professionals globally by the year 2035. Digital transformation has an answer to this shortage.
Examples of digital transformation in healthcare
Bringing innovation and increasing automation in healthcare processes are two major objectives of digital health transformation. Let’s understand how digital transformation achieves these objectives with an example.
Telemedicine is one of the most promising and popular trends in the healthcare sector. Its increasing popularity results in enhancing the importance of virtual doctor visits. Patients prefer to find and schedule appointments with physicians using the app. It also enables them to communicate with healthcare service providers in real time through instant chats or video calls. Zocdoc and Practo are telemedicine apps that facilitate patients or their relatives to find a doctor urgently and schedule online video visits at their convenience. These apps can also enable users to track their annual checkups and remember medicines.
The telemedicine concept has gained more traction during the pandemic age. Patients living in remote areas can also get timely care without visiting the hospitals in person with the help of this concept. Moving forward, many multispeciality hospitals will prefer to come up with dedicated apps to support telemedicine and improve the patient experience.
Benefits of digital transformation in healthcare
Here we will classify the benefits of digital transformation in the healthcare industry into two parts- benefits for the healthcare organization and benefits for patients. Digital transformation promotes innovation in the healthcare sector and assists physicians to streamline their work by getting more accurate data and health metrics of patients.
Here are the key benefits of digital transformation for healthcare institutions.
Video calling, messaging, and other interactive methods can provide patients with real-time communication and a better experience.
Digital healthcare can assist hospitals to eliminate tedious paperwork thereby increasing the physician’s time required for examining the patient and treating them.
Healthcare organizations can build a secure database for saving electronic records of patient’s health conditions and physicians can access the data as and when necessary.
Automation in several processes reduces overheads and enables organizations to cut off their spending on giving traditional healthcare services.
Physicians can have advanced and instant communication with medical staff to get more accurate reports on patient diagnoses and faster data sharing.
Patients can get the following benefits from digital healthcare transformation.
Digital transformation in healthcare makes it possible to track the key health metrics in real-time using wearables and other advanced devices.
Patients can easily schedule their appointments from the comfort of their homes. They can choose the most convenient date and time for visiting from available slots using smart devices.
Patients can receive prescriptions and treatment strategies through emails. They can also get professional healthcare services online and talk to their physicians through video calls.
Digital transformation solutions offer easy access to personal health records. Patients can easily monitor and manage their personal health data and get detailed reports online.
Digital healthcare services can provide more personalized experiences with accurate diagnoses and treatment schedules. Patients can also get reminders and alerts for their medications.
Challenges and considerations for implementing digital transformation in healthcare
When you opt for implementing digital transformation in your healthcare organization, you need to consider some challenges. Here are the most important ones you should address-
1. Patient Data Security
This is the biggest challenge for any healthcare service provider. It is a priority of every hospital to protect the patient’s confidential health data while ensuring seamless sharing between patients and healthcare professionals. Digital transformation solution providers may use blockchain and AI-powered features to keep data security at the highest level. Apart from this, healthcare service providers need to take certain preventive measures to stop any incidents of cyberattacks.
2. Resistance to Change
Like other core industry sectors, the healthcare sector also witnesses resistance to transformation. The change may remain unwelcome at the initial level among paramedics and support staff. Automation of several administrative tasks can be gradually adopted by your staff. Simply put, digital transformation is about changing the work culture and transforming the way healthcare professionals work. Spreading awareness and giving proper training can however work wonders in neutralizing resistance.
3. Budget or Costing
It is one of the reasons why many healthcare institutions postpone the implementation of digital transformation. Here, it is fair to mention that the digital transformation process is not about generating ROI but about increasing the value proposition. Also, as an ongoing and lengthy process, hospitals may have to spend a lot of money as an investment in digital transformation. However, digital transformation offers higher scalability and increased revenue over the period.
4. Distributed Workforce
The rise of the telemedicine concept has made the entire healthcare sector highly dynamic and decentralized. In such diversified and distributed conditions, it is necessary for healthcare institutions to implement digital health strategies properly. Also, they need to ensure that distributed workforce can easily access the patient’s data while preventing it from going into the wrong hands. In other words, healthcare organizations have to establish a secure network between providers and patients.
5. HIPAA and Other Compliances
The healthcare sector is highly regulated and every organization has to follow standards given by authorities. HIPAA is one of the key regulations that is designed for protecting the individual’s medical records and health information. All healthcare organizations or hospitals have to keep HIPAA compliance in mind while implementing digital transformation in their internal system.
A reputed and reliable IT solution provider can help you address healthcare digital transformation challenges effectively.
Let’s go through some of the major use cases of digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
Use Cases of Digital Healthcare Solutions
Evolving technology can offer many applications to the thriving healthcare sector. Here are the top four use cases of digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
Globally, health-conscious people tend to monitor their health metrics while performing their daily routines. This is the top reason behind a sharp increase in the sales figures of wearable health devices. Digital transformation solutions can display and analyze the metrics by integrating with such devices in real-time. As a result, physicians can get accurate data about the patient’s condition.
It is the biggest advantage of digital transformation in the healthcare sector. Hospitals and healthcare institutions get data from different sources including lab results, EHRs, insurance claims, health wearables, etc. However, this can increase the possibility of overlooking the patient’s medical history. With data analytics ability, digital health solutions can offer actionable insights to physicians.
These are dedicated portals that enable patients to review their health records, schedule appointments with doctors, check prescriptions, and the like. As per a recent survey, around 82 percent of healthcare service providers view patient portals as the necessary and fundamental technology to engage patients. Patient portals give quicker and more secure access to EHRs.
Analysis of Disease History
These days, many tools are available to assist doctors with accurate recommendations about the outcome of treatment for specific disease conditions. These tools have robust algorithms to analyze the patient’s previous conditions and bring a personalized treatment plan to increase the possibility of getting the desired outcome.
Top Digital Transformation Trends in Healthcare
Digital transformation has multiple goals to achieve. Based on these goals, we can make a list of the top six digital transformation trends in healthcare. These trends are-
1. On-demand Healthcare Services
Just like any on-demand application, people seek healthcare services on-demand using a mobile app. This trend is not just patient-centric as healthcare institutions tend to make it convenient for physicians to offer healthcare services as per their availability through a health-on-demand app.
2. Telehealth Services
Telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, mobile health apps, and other related services come under telehealth services. This trend is rapidly progressing and digital transformation solutions combine this trend with IoT devices as well as health wearables.
3. IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) or Medical IoT
IoMT is the fastest growing trend in the healthcare sector. Though Medical IoT is highly complex and requires multiple factors to consider, digital transformation solutions have used this concept for handling some core functions ranging from monitoring to automating the process.
4. AI Screening
This trend leverages the benefits of AI technology for identifying patients who need immediate attention. Many hospitals have implemented AI-powered chatbots successfully along with voice systems to screen patients for discovering priorities and reducing the load on hospitals.
5. Big Data
Worldwide, the healthcare sector becomes more dependent on the patient’s medical data. Here, big data comes into the picture. It can convert structured and unstructured data into actionable and meaningful insights so that doctors can make more accurate decisions and plan accordingly.
6. VR-based Treatment
This is a relatively new but highly promising trend. As per the official forecast for the year 2023, the usage of VR (Virtual Reality) in therapy will reach a market size of over USD 3.9 billion globally. This technology is useful in treating chronic pain, stress, stroke, and other diseases. VR simulations are also useful for planning complicated surgeries and other procedures.
There is no exaggeration in mentioning that digital transformation is the future of the healthcare industry. It can assist physicians to streamline their workflows, track medical equipment, and enhance patient care services. We can certainly expect that all these trends and advancing technology will take the healthcare sector to a new level where patients will remain in the centre to get personalized experiences as and when necessary.
Digital transformation is an ongoing process and includes multiple trends. It is, therefore, necessary to consider various aspects including the administrative and other internal requirements, budgetary limitations, etc. before initiating the digital transformation journey.
How Silver Touch Can Help?
At Silver Touch Technologies, we thoroughly research the healthcare industry trends and understand the requirements of your organization. Our experienced digital transformation professionals can combine their expertise and cutting-edge tools to build highly customized healthcare IT solutions. We assist you in every step of digital transformation so that you can make the most of it for improving patient care and internal administration in a cost-effective way. All you can get are advanced healthcare solutions that have features of emerging technologies like AI, IoT, ML, and VR.
As a CMMI Level 5 software development company, Silver Touch Technologies has in-house teams of experienced professionals across different domains. We have built advanced IT solutions to meet the complex and diverse business needs of a global corporate clientele since our inception. Our healthcare software and solutions are HIPAA compliant and follow all the prevalent regulations of the client’s country. Simply put, we assist healthcare organizations to keep their digital transformation journey smooth and successful in a cost-effective way.
FAQ’s on Digital Transformation in Healthcare
What is digital transformation in healthcare?
Digital transformation in healthcare is the process of introducing digital technologies in all aspects of healthcare services including payer operations, patient interactions, etc.
How does digital transformation improve healthcare?
Digital transformation can optimize workflows and compliances while improving patient services in the healthcare sector.
What are some examples of digital transformation in healthcare?
Telemedicine, health wearables, mHealth (Mobile Health) applications, and electronic health records (EHRs) are some of the examples of digital transformation in the healthcare sector.
Why is digital transformation important in healthcare?
Digital transformation is aimed at improving patient experience with a personalized approach and integrated access. It also streamlines the physician’s workflow and administrative processes.
What are the benefits of digital transformation in healthcare?
Digital transformation offers many benefits to physicians and patients alike. Doctors can establish improved patient interaction with minimal paperwork and effective communication, whereas patients can get improved monitoring and real-time interaction with physicians.
How can healthcare organizations implement digital transformation?
Digital transformation is an ongoing process in the healthcare sector. Healthcare organizations can implement it in multiple ways including patient portals, health wearables, telemedicine, virtual visits, and automation in several processes.
What are the challenges of implementing digital transformation in healthcare organizations?
Data security, resistance to change, high implementation cost, and remote workforce are some of the major challenges of implementing digital transformation in healthcare organizations.