From surgical robots and “smart hospitals” to the Internet of (Medical) Things (IoMT)
Digital transformation is revolutionizing patient care in new and exciting ways- from surgical robots to “smart hospitals”. With national health expenditures of OECD countries growing at over 3 percent a year and accounting for 8 to 20 percent of GDP, small shifts can have a seismic impact on accelerated adoption of emerging technologies. For example, the United States invests $3.2 trillion in healthcare each year- about 18% of GDP. The digital revolution in that market can result in savings of over 10 percent ($300 billion), especially in the area of chronic diseases.
Here are some of the ways new technologies are becoming catalysts for digital transformation in health care.
Extending geographic reach with Telemedicine
An Arcus survey of 345 physicians and specialists indicates that eight out of ten physicians in North America say telemedicine is a better way to manage chronic diseases than the traditional office visit. The cite freedom and accessibility as key benefits that telemedicine offers patients and health care providers. It will free up patients and healthcare workers from practicing in a specific geography. It will provide good quality care to patients in remote areas. Telemedicine can also save both time and money- in commuting time for care givers and patients and also in wait times at clinical offices. A key area of growth will be mental health. Access to a therapist or counselor would eliminate the need for an office visit. The scalability of large numbers of people receiving treatment and/or prevention can dramatically address cost, location, lack of trained professionals, and stigma.
Quicker Data access through Mobility And the Cloud
Mobility and cloud access will increase of diagnostic results for patients and doctors alike. Arcus estimates that 65% of interactions with health care facilities will occur by mobile devices in five years. Six out of ten physicians already use medical apps on smart phones with five out of ten accessing drug information on smart phones on a regular basis. Given HIPAA laws relating to patient privacy, it will be important to address the security aspect of data in the cloud. Blockchain technologies may help address some of the challenges.
Accelerated tracking and reporting with wearables And IoT
Today, accelerating tracking and reporting of health indicators of patients will transform how healthcare is monitored and managed. Mobile devices as small as a cell phone can perform ECGs, DIY blood tests, or serve as a thermometer remotely. With apps, patients can be prompted to check their weight, pulse, or oxygen levels, and enter results into mobile patient portals. These developments can change patient behaviour and also predict patient risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data for cohesive data gathering
A big driver of AI and big data will drive cohesive data gathering – identifying risk factors and preventative treatment. With the rise of the Internet of (Medical) Things (IoMT), connected mobile and wearable devices will work together to develop intelligent and real time medical reports for health care providers. This data can be aggregated to provide health care trends for entire communities.
Empowered patients for better care
Empowered patient will drive change when they have choices with regard to how they monitor, report and access health care information. These shifts will drive cost efficiencies, reduce wait times and deliver better and higher quality outcomes. IoMT will take a while to materialise as a fragmented app market consolidates to deliver a more cohesive overview and dashboard of health conditions.