The rapid advances of technology have changed how people live and the way businesses operate. The digital revolution has increased work productivity and efficiency in various industries, including health care.
Emerging health care technology has reshaped the entire doctor-patient experience. Medical providers have access to more resources while patients receive better care and treatment. For instance, artificial intelligence (AI) can effectively diagnose diseases, such as different types of cancer. Research shows that 90% of hospitals and medical facilities plan to or already have some AI applications in place.
It’s still a matter of time before hospital boards agree to let go of outdated business processes as AI technology advances the health care field. Teams must adopt a shift in tech to see results, and implementing digital strategies is the only way to embrace technological innovation.
Here are some of the ways digital transformation is revolutionizing the health care industry now and what people can expect in the future.
1. Wearable Technology
One trend of the digital transformation in health care is wearable technology, which are powerful devices that act as miniature smartphones and medical gadgets. Companies can collect health data from these devices. Previously, patients would undergo a physical each year and only check-in when issues emerged.
The digital age allows patients to prevent and maintain their health by receiving information more frequently. Furthermore, health care companies are becoming proactive in wearable device investments. They provide trackable monitoring of high-risk patients and include:
- Heart rate monitors
- Exercise tracking
- Sweat levels for monitoring blood sugar
- Oximeters measure the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. These are often for patients with sleep apnea, asthma and COPD.
2. Closed Loop Water System Treatments
Water in the cooling and heating system can significantly affect these mechanisms’ performance. It’s used to dissipate heat from the liquid through a closed- or open-loop system. However, the water can freeze at cool temperatures using an open-loop system.
Hospitals may use open-loop systems because they’re cost-effective, but a closed-circuit technology can preserve more water and produce more quality.
Closed-loop technology ensures water treatment for hospitals is efficient in the use of water and energy. These increased efficiencies mean health care facilities will require less maintenance — protecting patients and workers from contamination.
3. Big Data
Big data provides information relevant to businesses through social media, e-commerce, sales and more. This technology allows companies to identify patterns and trends to plan strategies for future growth.
The health care industry can use data analytics to collect actionable insights and create better patient outcomes. There are additional benefits, including:
- Prevention of medication errors
- Enhanced preventive health care plans
- Facilitation of proper hospital staff
Big data offers numerous health care company advancements — leading a shift in the industry’s performance. For instance, pharmaceutical companies utilize it to understand the constant changes in the market. This allows drugmakers to determine current and future needs for drug production and product budgets.
Blockchain technology is still at the beginning stages. However, industries worldwide are delving more into it. It’s a series of linked blocks that store transaction records.
Blockchain has potential growth opportunities for the health care sector. It allows for safe transactions and secure patient information, keeping records confidential. Moreover, blockchain provides increased accessibility to data, updating networks and directories more quickly.
5. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) is a digital transformation in the health care industry that provides many applications that dramatically improve patient treatment.
For instance, doctors used opioid prescriptions as the main treatment for pain management. However, opioids like OxyContin and Percocet have resulted in a billion-dollar economic burden and drug crisis in the U.S.
Millions of Americans struggle with chronic pain, and this seemed to be the only solution until VR came along. VR technology is the safer alternative to drugs. It can treat everything from pain to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
That’s only a fraction of its capabilities. Doctors and residents can also leverage VR simulations to enhance their skills. Virtual reality headsets allow them to navigate complex surgeries and plan their next steps.
Robots are already making a digital transformation in health care. They're now more sophisticated than ever and are benefiting the industry by:
- Working alongside health care professionals
- Automating claims processing
- Taking patient vitals and more
Medical robotics is also present in the operating room. Health care utilizes robots to assist with minimally invasive procedures and ease surgical performance.
These machines are also revolutionizing the health care sector by disinfecting hospitals more efficiently. Clostridium difficile (C. diff ) infections are the most common cause of hospital-associated infections (HAI) and a major health threat to hospitalized patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was an estimate of 12.800 deaths in 2017.
However, robots use hydrogen peroxide vapors and high-intensity UV lights to disinfect entire health care facilities. This innovative technology rids hospitals of deadly microorganisms and works at a higher level of effectiveness. HAI cases have been drastically reduced as a result.
Driving Innovation in the Health Care Industry
The digital transformation in health care retains a positive outlook. It’s improving patients' and workers' lives and transcending the limits of medical industries each day. Companies that drive innovation can build transformative experiences for everyone involved. Continuing the success of these innovations will require rethinking traditional networks and collaboration between health care stakeholders.