Digital Transformation in Healthcare: 2022 and beyond
The healthcare industry is going through a massive change, and much of that is being fueled and enabled by digital transformation in healthcare
Firstly, the pandemic has fueled a lot of changes in the health care industry. Improving patient experience and reducing costs, telehealth adoption in the US exploded to around three thousand percent growth since the beginning of the pandemic. Taking much of the care to a patient’s home, digital transformation in healthcare is set to redefine care experience as we see it today.
Secondly, there has also been a long-term trend towards the focus on health and wellness.
Thirdly, technology and digital transformation are driving changes, improvements, better care, and better decision making for healthcare organizations. This is fueling and enabling the two trends mentioned above.
In this article we’ll talk about some of the top ways that Digital Transformation in healthcare is driving and enabling improvements in the healthcare space.
One of the more recent developments in the healthcare space is the concept of telehealth. Ever since COVID pandemic began in the early 20s, we saw a big and massive shift towards more telehealth. Telehealth is essentially being able to get care from a doctor or an appointment with one without physically going to see the doctor.
Video and healthcare record capabilities and being able to interact and engage with healthcare providers via telehealth is something that’s been fueled by the pandemic. But it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the technology that enables that. Hence, telehealth is probably one of the biggest advancements we’ve seen in the last five to ten years within the healthcare space. And it is something we are continuing to see even after the pandemic was over.
Another trend that’s been in the making for longer than the telehealth trend is the concept of electronic health records. EHR (electronic health record) capabilities allow hospitals and other healthcare organizations to:
- Capture information such as patient data
- The kind of care patients are receiving
- The kind of prescriptions patients are receiving
- Doctors of the patients
- Billing and insurance related to patients, and
- All the health care records that go behind that
Hence companies are providing technologies to enable this automation. This is an area where hospitals and health care providers are advancing. We are seeing technologies advance to the point where more and more organizations are moving in that direction and further automating their business processes related to patient care. This also includes automation of patient facing business processes that every healthcare organization must deal with.
Now, another remarkable technology that is completely transforming healthcare is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance healthcare. So far, we have mentioned EHR and Telehealth, and how healthcare providers would benefit from having more centralized and standardized data on their patients and the care they’re receiving.
Data is being collected and thrown into artificial intelligence/machine learning in the back end. This enables identifying trends in the data and the search for ways that will allow for better decision making around the types of healthcare and prescriptive solutions that might be provided to the patients.
Essentially what artificial intelligence is doing within healthcare is capturing information about tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of patients that are being addressed within any given health care system.
As it looks for trends and patterns, it also looks for commonalities and cause and effect relationships in the data. This allows doctors and other health care providers have better visibility and understanding of ways they can provide healthcare. This also helps them make decisions for their patients in ways that no one human would be able to do. Hence, it is essentially a way to tap into the large amounts of data being collected about patients to improve care.
As healthcare costs increase, there is more pressure on healthcare organizations to control their costs. For example, as drug prices and other healthcare goods and services rise, there is a constant pressure on hospitals and other healthcare providers to find ways to monitor and minimize those costs. Supply chain management solutions can help healthcare providers reduce the burden. SCM helps healthcare organizations identify who the best providers are of different materials, consumables and other types of procurement that’s necessary to support the healthcare operations.
Supply chain management helps identify the best providers. They can help with optimizing costs and manage the procurement process and quality of the vendors. They can also help identify backup vendors, suppliers, and providers when one vendor goes out of business or is not able to supply the required materials. Hence supply chain management is something that’s becoming more and more common in healthcare, and there are large numbers of technologies that can help provide this.
We have covered some very specific solutions so far as it relates to telehealth and EHR, supply chain management, etc. But in addition to these emerging technologies already mentioned, there are also the more enterprise-wide technologies that are further enabling digital transformation within healthcare organizations.
Systems such as ERP systems, which are enterprise resource planning systems, can do part of what has been discussed about already. For example, they can do supply chain management and even EHR. Additionally, they also tie together the financials, help manage billing, provide a better customer experience, and schedule and workforce management. They can also help with human capital management – which is something that is very important within hospitals and other health care providers.
Therefore, ERP and other enterprise-wide systems and technologies can help enable and automate some of the other business processes that we haven’t discussed so far in this article. One area that is of particular importance are financials and billing. This includes how financials are tracked and how patient and insurance billing, PnL reporting, etc. can be managed.
Another example is project and asset management. If it’s a big hospital provider, a big chain of hospitals for example, and new hospitals, wings or expansions of the hospital is being built, project management systems can help manage that construction.
Asset management solutions that can track the assets, whether it be a building, products like medical devices throughout the organization, machines that are used to provide the healthcare, medical devices and other machineries can be managed from an asset management perspective as well.
In conclusion, besides providing a digital front door, digital transformation in healthcare helps a hospital save costs by
- Automating appointments and billing
- Eliminating paper based manual tasks
- Inventory, and asset management
- Follow ups and insurance claims
Digital Transformation in Healthcare also helps with improved diagnostics, better interoperability across caregivers and hospitals, better collaboration, and remote access to health records. A hospital can achieve all these benefits and many more.
Hospitals can also provide improved patient experience by providing mobile patient portal, live bot for consultation, telehealth (as already discussed), and automated symptom checker.
To learn more about some of the best practices of digital transformation in healthcare or any other industry, request an expert consultation from COBAIT.
At COBAIT we help clients with their digital transformation in healthcare journeys. COBAIT can help you kickstart your Digital Transformation journey in small increments based on priorities and challenges. Our software BizTRAQ is HIPAA compliant and a Digital Revolution. Get in touch to know how.
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