Digital healthcare technology empowers both healthcare professionals and patients to make better-informed decisions about healthcare whilst providing new and more viable options for facilitating prevention, early diagnosis of life-threatening diseases and great management of chronic conditions.
But what are the digital trends that will shape healthcare in a Covid 19-world?
So, what is digital healthcare?
Contrary to popular belief, before Covid 19 digital healthcare technology was already a mainstay of patient care here in the UK and there were big plans to use it in transforming our approach to healthcare. However, when the pandemic hit, it required the NHS and all other global healthcare institutions to fast-track their long-gestating plans to ensure all patients could still access healthcare in a non-acute hospital setting.
Digital healthcare can be defined as utilising technologies available to empower us to track, manage and improve our health and care environments which lead to greater patient independence and improved health outcomes. By introducing technology into healthcare, it allows professionals to increase care delivery, improve access, reduce cost, increase the quality of care and most importantly, an opportunity to give a patient-centred approach of personalised medicine improving their outcome.
Digital Healthcare Trends That Will Define 2020 and beyond
A rise in ‘On-Demand’ Healthcare
All aspects of our lives are increasingly becoming ‘on demand’; from instantly being able to speak with our friends over the phone, receive same-day deliveries or binge watch the hottest new TV series. Our patience to wait is now long gone, and the same goes for our ability to access healthcare instantaneously.
Due to our busy lives and needing to socially distance from others, the UK public wants to see their healthcare professional at their convenience, on their time and the location of their choice (most likely from their living room!).
When the pandemic hit, the previously scarce NHS virtual consultations became the primary method of patient communication. Due to the sophistication of wireless technology and data protection, we can now safely all speak to our doctor, nurse or allied healthcare professional confidentially from home – saving us time, money travelling and what’s more is that we get our healthcare needs tended to sooner rather than later.
The Growth in the Use of Wearable Medical Devices
Lockdown for many was either one of two: seizing the opportunity to step up their exercise game or unfortunately, letting their exercise completely seize up. But for those that did fall off the bandwagon, there was one thing that got their motivation flooding back… exercise trackers such as Fit Bits and Apple Watches.
Previously, most people only wanted to visit a doctor if something was wrong and just lived in ignorant bliss; but in a digital world, patients are now more invested in their health by making a conscious effort to research, eat well and exercise more. One thing that significantly supports health prevention, maintenance and instant information are personal healthcare trackers, which will be one of the key digital healthcare trends beyond 2020.
The growing nature of this trend now requires healthcare organisations to be proactive in empowering patients to keep up-to-date with their activity, health, day-to-day monitoring and this is especially important with high-risk patients as it gives them the opportunity to completely transform their life. Example medical devices include exercise trackers, heart rate sensors, sweat meters and oximeters.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than just a digital healthcare trend: its set to completely shape the healthcare industry and potentially our entire world! The healthcare AI-powered tools market is set to exceed $34 billion by 2025, with the possibilities being endless.
In 2020, we have seen AI being taken to the next level with hospitals using robots to support their healthcare professionals fetch and restock supplies. Another realm is the use of chatbots and virtual health assistants to fill the patient-facing roles from receptionists, PA’s to diagnostic tools and even therapists.
However, the most fascinating part of AI (and the most life-changing!) can be seen in areas such as precision medicine, medical imaging, drug discovery and genomics. To exemplify its power, cancer patients would previously receive general oncology care however, now due to AI’s sophisticated pattern recognition, patients have access to personalised care that is tailored to their genetic makeup and lifestyle. The great thing about technology is that more often than not, it can spot something that is not available to the human eye.
Digital healthcare technology is at the heart of the NHS with new goals to provide safe, efficient and more healthcare to the UK public… The future of digital healthcare is exciting and who’s to know what the future has in store?
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If your NHS trust is interested in going digital to help alleviate the stress on your staff, we can support you with an all-encompassing solution: digital consultations, clinics and triage assessments to suit your individual trusts needs.
In the last 12-months, we’ve treated over 13,000 patients and IDMCS are immensely proud of our overall 97% patient satisfaction feedback score.
Want to know more? We’d be delighted to speak with you – just give us a call on 01908 552 820 and we’ll be happy to help.