Opportunities in digitalized and tech-powered healthcare industry

The integration of healthcare and technology has led to significant improvements in the medical field. Such innovations have reinvented how healthcare professionals approach patient treatment, leading to improved outcomes and efficient healthcare delivery systems.

According to an article published by McKinsey & Company, healthcare has seen significant improvements through technology such as interoperability, advanced analytics, machine learning, digitization, and the Internet of Things. These technological advancements present a significant opportunity to address the annual spending of half-a-trillion dollars that arises from low productivity and waste.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has also accelerated the adoption of digital health technologies, which have played a crucial role in managing the crisis and reshaping the future of healthcare.

For instance, interventions, such as telemedicine, mobile health (mHealth), electronic health records, and computerized clinical decision support systems, have enabled remote patient monitoring, facilitated the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, and supported the tracking of the outbreak.

According to Ernst & Young (EY), telemedicine, in particular, has seen a massive surge in adoption, with countries experiencing the shift to virtual care. This healthcare approach has reduced the risk of in-person transmission and increased access to healthcare services, especially for vulnerable populations, during the pandemic.

Studies have shown that a substantial proportion of patients strongly support the integration of telemedicine into routine medical appointments post-COVID because of its convenience and accessibility. In fact, a significant number of respondents in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience strongly agreed that telemedicine should continue to be an option for medical appointments post-pandemic.

A study published in an open-access journal Clinical eHealth also found high patient satisfaction ratings have been reported for telemedicine services, highlighting the safety, convenience, and privacy benefits that telemedicine offers to individuals.

On the other hand, technology enables healthcare workers to access patient information quickly, make more accurate diagnoses, and provide personalized treatment plans.

One of the key technologies enabling quick access to patient data is the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the United States, EHRs provide accurate, up-to-date, and complete information about patients at the point of care, allowing for quick access to vital patient records. A study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions also found that most doctors believe the meaningful adoption of EHRs can improve the efficiency of clinical practice.

The integration of technology into healthcare has also led to a reduction in paperwork, automation of processes, and ultimately, a shift in focus for healthcare workers towards providing better patient care.

Digital documentation and communication tools have streamlined healthcare processes, such as scheduling appointments, billing, and insurance claims. A study published in BioMed Research International found that around 66.8% of participants agreed that storing personal healthcare information in a database could be used for research, and 65.3% believed that e-prescribing could reduce healthcare system costs.

Healthcare workers can also leverage data analytics tools to analyze trends, track outcomes, and make informed decisions to improve healthcare delivery.

By leveraging historical data and statistical modeling techniques, hospitals can now anticipate demand trends more accurately, optimize staffing levels, and improve operational capacities. For instance, the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) collaborated with Intel to develop a cloud-based data analytics system for predicting patient visits and admissions.

The application of data analytics in healthcare extends beyond predicting hospital admissions as this technology can also improve procurement and supply chain optimization. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a powerful tool for early disease detection.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development emphasizes the importance of embracing these new technologies to empower Filipinos and address the challenges faced by the healthcare sector, such as the shortage of healthcare personnel and outdated technology. — Mhicole A. Moral