If not yet, then here is a good start as the care delivery design is gradually changing and influencing all our lives as DOCTORS, PATIENTS, HEALTHCARE STAFF and well everyone!
Cost-effective, timely and efficient are some of the oft-used adjuncts when healthcare leaders discuss tech in the medical industry. Convinced as they are regarding the impact of technology in healthcare, we must admit that they are mostly right, generally because we have seen the vital role of technology from disease diagnosis to care delivery during COVID-19 Pandemic. Although, it goes without saying that tech has ‘waved at the tides of chaos’ in the existing healthcare system, but it wasn’t all so good – was it?
Let’s face it, the issues that technology has caused in the existing healthcare systems during COVID-19 pandemic point toward the lack of infrastructure and trained workforce in healthcare systems. And, if someone should take the blame for it, it should be tech literacy in the healthcare workforce which can be resolved with optimum training!
Fast forward to the present — today, healthtech systems have also caught the attention of Governmental organisations, Private Practitioners & as well as Patients, who find it an accessible and efficient form of care delivery.
In between the rising expectations of healthcare stakeholders and healthtech companies aspiring to fill these up silos using in the age-old healthcare system, the future of healthcare delivery looks quite different from the healthcare units of today.
Towards Digital Health
The digital age has given rise to a whole variety of online services, apps and virtual tools that have made our lives easier in so many ways. From booking a flight to finding the perfect holiday destination, we can access information and services on demand with just the click of a mouse or tap of an app. Many traditional industries have been forever changed by this new way of doing things – and healthcare is no exception. The medical world has also been transformed by the digital age, with AI-assisted diagnosis, Automated Reception-desks, Remote patient Monitoring and Telemedicine, all found commonly in diverse specialties. With several innovations taking place within healthcare, what does the future hold for a doctor’s visit?
Let’s take a closer look —
Being a patient, imagine getting a doctor’s appointment, on-time consultations and easy check-out – feels like a blessing, right?
In digital/virtual clinics, this is very much a reality, with just a few taps on your phone, enabling you to seek treatment from the comfort of your home. Such digital clinics can efficiently reduce the overall care expense to a great extent. With inpatient health care services being pushed to home via easy-to-use vital monitoring tools, digital health also guarantees to elevate personalisation in healthcare.
Although many complicated medical cases and severely ill patients will continue to need acute inpatient services, but, at least the primary consultations are expected to be faster and hassle-free.
For medicos, other than showing up to less crowded clinic hallways, they can monitor patients intermittently, while collaborating with specialists in other locations about diagnosis or treatment. Not only they’ll be able to make a prognosis in virtual clinic rooms but will reduce the patient load from secondary and tertiary hospitals. All this while, such virtual clinics will give a chance to primary care providers to expand their services in remote/rural locations by setting up Satellite OP-Clinics in the destination of their choice.
Other than the healthcare delivery reach, the existing care system is struggling because of poor healthcare record systems and digital clinics of the future seem to have a solution for it.
Medical Records and Data Security
If you search for your medical records, it is a stack of ‘yellow pages’ with clinics/hospital & diagnostic centre logos — Too old to be read and too fragmented to base a diagnosis on! This fragmentation usually happens at the primary care level, presenting a challenge for secondary & tertiary care units while delivering better patient care. In response to this challenge, digital healthcare records have emerged as the new standard for healthcare management making medical records more streamlined and secure than ever before.
While operating via digital clinics and digitising health care records, providers can more easily and accurately track patient care & medications thus reducing medication errors. Additionally, digital healthcare records can be easily shared between providers, which can help improve coordination necessary for personalised care at the grass root levels. For patients, digital healthcare records can help to ensure that their health information is accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, digital healthcare records can give patients more control over their health information and make it easier for them to access their records from anywhere.
It is understandable that accessibility of medical records will raise several data security issues, and the brilliant minds of IT professionals in healthcare seem to have it covered via below mentioned key functions —
Data Accountability: Medical information is protected by ensuring health care providers are accountable for their access and the platforms that are used to deliver virtual-care protect the data via role-based access control.
- Master Backups: Eliminating all the middle-men and being the sole-key person to access the data from cloud reserves will reduce the data breaching issues in healthcare to great extent. The future digital clinics consist of such EMR modules that are absolutely unbreachable.
The journey towards digital healthcare delivery has already begun; now the question is, do you see yourself associating with the advancements in healthcare?
The involvement of technology in healthcare, stakeholders behaviour and overall economic challenges are evolving the way we perceive healthcare. Moreover, with secondary and tertiary healthcare units adapting tech-driven solutions to enhance the care outcomes, and somehow the silos in the primary healthcare structure are unblurred. Hence, the introduction of Digital Clinics in primary care not only promises to support the exponential care requirements but will cement the age-old care delivery issues.
It is time to change the healthcare delivery practices from the core, make way for Digital Healthcare units!