The Healthcare Impacts of Recent Technology Trends
The explosion of technology trends has impacted all industries to a startling degree. In particular, the trends related to Mobility, Big Data, Cloud Solutions, and Networking seem to be ones that have the potential to change the way companies and even industries do business. Many industries have particular impacts related to these new trends and healthcare is no exception.
Healthcare has some specific themes that complicate the impact of new technologies. The most important of these are the safety and quality requirements for patients. This takes the form of a unique twenty-four by seven life-safety environment that brings new meaning to business continuity, response times and robust solutions. In an acute care world such as an inpatient hospital or emergency department, seconds and minutes matter. Even in an ambulatory environment, when a patient needs a prescription renewed to feel better, the availability of technology solutions is the only way to address those needs in real time without a trip to an urgent care or the emergency room.
Secondly, healthcare has some formidable regulatory challenges that impact technology related to privacy, security, and accreditation. The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 as well as subsequent updates define the privacy and security direction of the industry and are well-publicized with difficult requirements and the regular imposition of fines that escalate with the number of records breached. In addition, accreditation bodies such as the Joint Commission have explicit standards related to the management of information that impact technology solutions. Mobility: Healthcare stakeholders have the traditional administrative and life needs that are so well served by the mobility movement and are such a part of today’s culture. These include a personal, often-replaced smart phone which has connectivity to work, home, and the Internet. In addition, some stakeholders h a v e unique needs related to mobility in healthcare.
The healthcare workforce must be mobile to care for patients. As clinicians go on rounds in the hospital, they need connectivity to review results, order tests, take calls from other patients, etc. In order to provide this capability and protect patients’ privacy and security, organizations work through BYOD policies that are difficult to implement with clinicians and researchers. A recent study by Becker’s Healthcare Review suggests 59 percentof organizations in healthcare do not encrypt mobile devices.
Patients also have unique mobile needs as they interact with their healthcare providers, look for a doctor, schedule appointments, order prescription refills and pay their bills. This is particularly challenging as the ability to dictate BYOD policies is non-existent with patients. It is a balance between ease of access to care and security in order to address their needs.
Cloud: Cloud Services provide the same benefits to healthcare as other industries, but the uptake has been significantly slower. This is due in the largest part to HIPAA concerns. There has been some movement for applications whose basis is not patient data, such as help desk systems, ERP systems, etc. Large providers, especially, who have made the investment in infrastructure operations, are still for the most part housing their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in their own data center.
Big Data: Big Data has the most promise to change the game in healthcare. Healthcare data ranges from phenotypic data (traditional numeric and textual data collected during examination, diagnosis, and treatment), imaging data (primarily radiologic and cardiovascular), into the newer frontier of genotypic data (genetic data), still used primarily in research. Once genetic data becomes part of standard care, the storage needs for healthcare will grow astronomically due to the size of these data sets. Utilizing
Big Data tools with the continuum of complexity and size represented by healthcare data is a must to move from the reactive healthcare of the past to deliver the predictive, preventive and personalize d healthcare of the future. The advent of healthcare reform with the triple aim of higher quality, lower costs and increased access to care requires complex data analysis of populations of patients in order ensure the delivery of the right care, at the right time, for the right patient.
Without the promise of Big Data, this analysis will not be possible and the aims of healthcare reform will not be realized. Medical research also relies on data and more and more on Big Data concepts to understand the correlations between data to generate hypotheses and use the subsequent discoveries to innovate new care models, treatments and therapies and in the end, cures. Some of the recent data analysis advancement will feed the imaginations of research in a way that has not been possible before.
Networking: Like all industries, without the network backbone of connectivity many of the technological concepts of today, let alone the advanced concepts above, would not be possible. The network configuration in healthcare must take advantage of all advancements in security in order to ensure the protection of patient information. In addition, the large data needs of imaging and genomics require network throughput that is pushing limits previously unseen. Much of this is within organizations that simply want to move data from perhaps an instrument that performs genotyping to the system where the data can be analyzed and stored. In addition advanced wide area network capabilities must be addressed for multi-site trails and studies.
Telemedicine is a broad field enabling remote care in a number of different ways and relies on site-to-site networking. Telemedicine can improve access to care and save on costs, but requires simple to- use connectivity between systems and sites where a clinician and a patient can originate a secure session reliably and with ease on a moment’s notice.
Healthcare, behind the curve on technology adoption for so many years, is finding new ways to leverage technology innovations. Technology is the corner stone of advancement to change the lives of patients and the future of medicine.
Advanced health technologies will remain the basis for digital transformation in the medical field.
For healthcare business owners, keeping up with digital transformation can feel overwhelming. Deciding which advancing technologies are worth investing in and getting the team on board with change is often the daunting part. Besides, adapting to the digital age requires a shift towards flexible and risk-taking mindset. Innovation is the game here, with the goal of streamlining physicians’ work, optimizing systems, enhancing patient outcomes, eliminating human error, and reducing costs. Here is a better look at the state of digital transformation and trends in healthcare in 2020.
• Rise of On-Demand Healthcare
The healthcare industry is entering the age of digital innovation, as patients demand on-demand healthcare because of their busy lifestyle. Mobile is especially important when considering this. Healthcare providers are making it seamless for physicians to offer on-demand healthcare to patients in specific circumstances that match their expertise and schedule. Doctors themselves become on-demand healthcare providers to better meet the dynamic needs of their patients, a significant benefit of digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
• The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
The integration of IoT and telemedicine has brought a variety of wearable devices and mobile applications to track and prevent diseases. IoMT comprises smart devices like ECG, EKG monitors, smart beds, connected inhalers, and many more. IoMT provides doctors to a focus on prevention. Besides, patients can gain health updates more frequently. As a result, healthcare providers depend on wearable technology to access the real-time health monitoring of high-risk patients.
• Mixed Reality Aided Treatment
Virtual Reality (VR) is the core of digital transformation in healthcare. Its myriad of applications is profoundly changing the way patients are being treated. Simulated environments are helpful in relieving pains, coping with stress, and post-traumatic effects. VR also gives access to tasks and visual experiences that are otherwise impossible during therapy. By deploying an additional layer of information on real-world scenes, augmented reality screens will allow surgeons to access life-saving information during emergency procedures.
A 360 degree view of customer
Achieving a 360 degree view of the customer, as rightly pointed out, isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, most consider it as unattainable for simply the reasons that the touch points with which a customer interacts with an enterprise have increased multifold with the proliferation of mobile devices, video customer support, online communities, social media, etc.
"In the current digital landscape, power has shifted from sellers and brand efforts to buyers who use social media to influence each other"
And due to the increase in these customer touch points, enterprises are leveraging various tools to develop this 360 degree view. Tools such as social media listening, predictive analysis, customer relationship management and marketing automation software are in vogue.
What becomes a key here is the role of data analytics to have a view that draws up on the integration of these tools and customer touch points. It demands a holistic approach that combines data exploration, data governance, data access, data integration and analytics in a solution that harnesses the volume, velocity and variety.
But the key question that one should be addressing is on the amount of information needed to create this 360 degree view what is too little information? Where you still don’t know enough about your customer to provide an engaging experience? This is the line that each company needs to define for themselves and their customers.
It should be about personalization so that businesses can offer the right service at the right time, the customer shouldn’t have to repeat their information to 5 different people when calling their support line, visibility into their purchases across locations to anticipate the evolving needs and make smart recommendations for effective cross-sell and up-sell.
Key Insights on Technology used
In the overall technology play for an enterprise, technology leveraged for infrastructure, compliance, security and disaster recovery are the minimum requirements to stay in the game. Competitive advantage occurs when a company acquires or develops an attribute that allows it to outperform its competitors.
Companies can leverage technology for competitive edge across different category of activities within the company, such as in business productivity and communication, physical creation of the product or its marketing and delivery to buyers and its support and servicing or line of business applications that tend to be ‘mission-critical’.
Having said that the customer-driven IT is one area that can give companies that much required competitive edge. By treating customers with kindness, compassion and offering a highly personalized service and experience, a company can trump efforts by competitors to acquire them.
And in the current digital landscape, the power has shifted from sellers and brand efforts to buyers who use social media to influence each other. This is where contextual technologies such as mobile, Internet of Things, big data and location allow businesses to treat customers to positive experiences.
These technologies have to be integrated well in to the linked and interdependent activities or categories within an organization’s value chain.
Pain-points as a technology providerto healthcare businesses
In my opinion, there can’t be a day where we can ever say, all is fine. Customer demands are ever changing and evolving, adapting to the technological innovation in the last couple of decades. The technology is simplifying business processes at one end helping companies deliver better experiences for the consumer.
As a technology provider to healthcare businesses, we feel that there can be a better platform for communication and flow of patient record between doctors, nurses and staff in a hospital environment to drive cost savings and improve the quality of care delivered. At the same time, there needs to be innovation in the communication between the doctor and the patient to engage patients in their healthcare. We’re now starting to build several solutions in this space where organizations are adopting these efficiencies.
Trends in Healthcare businesses as atechnology service provider
As a technology service provider to the broad category of healthcare businesses, I would say there are two things that I feel will have a significant impact. Firstly,the wearable technology while it’s still in its infancy, it has already started to have widespread influence across many industries. As wearable technology continues to improve to better, its use will impact both the experience of patients and practitioners to better receive and administer care. In fact, wearables can have a significant impact on telemedicine, where many don’t survive a medical condition or emergency each year because the right patient needs to be at the right place at the right time and this isn’t often the case. The second is cloud-based provider relationship management software that integrates with mobile devices. From referrals, progress updates and insurance authorizations these types of communications result in huge amounts of money and time being wasted and a liability to every healthcare provider.
.NET Integration in healthcaredomain
We’ve created a solutions integration platform for our enterprise customers in the healthcare domain that help businesses go mobile seamlessly, saving cost and time during integration with their ERP or CRM. While the platform was originally created in Java, we’ve also built on ASP.NET with Web API for enterprises that use .NET technologies leveraging our dedicated .NET teams. The end points of this integration platform, is easily consumable by the mobile devices (phones, tablets) as well as wearable devices.