Digital healthcare is the next revolution in the healthcare industry that combines genomics in healthcare, life, and society with digital technologies. It’s all about creating a more connected and accessible healthcare system that overcomes the limitations of the legacy systems and improves the overall quality of the medical services for the patients.
The ultimate advantage of a digital healthcare system is that it significantly reduces the cost of healthcare services, while also making it more accessible to patients. If we are to take the US medical system, for example, we see that the cost of healthcare services has been increasing exorbitantly in the past few decades. Each year, the US government spends trillions of dollars on its telemedicine solution, which still remains inefficient to meet the needs of the population, as people have to rely on private medical insurance to remain covered in case of any medical emergency.
The inflating cost of healthcare services coupled with the access to qualified medical services leaves the aptness of the traditional healthcare system hanging in the air for its robustness and ability to cover and accommodate the medical needs of the population.
The recent outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the ineptness of the traditional medical system to accommodate the medical needs of the future. At this point, the traditional medical system in the USA and across most of the world has become overwhelmed to deal with the increasing number of patients.
In this regard, the digital healthcare system has risen to the occasion as the ultimate solution to deal with supplement and even overtake the traditional healthcare services. Not only does it enable a greater reach of qualified doctors to covid-19 positive patients, but it also helps healthcare practitioners to stay safe from exposing themselves to the virus by treating patients remotely.
But is digital healthcare ready to take-over the traditional healthcare system?
Well, in this blog, we will decode the digital healthcare system to see if it’s ready to take up the leading role in the healthcare industry.
Objectives of digital healthcare
- Improving the capabilities in healthcare delivery
- Making healthcare services more accessible to patients
- Reducing the cost of healthcare services
- Improving the overall quality of healthcare services
- Personalizing the medical treatment to meet the unique requirements of patients
Advantages of digital healthcare for patients
Some of the advantages of digital healthcare include;
- Remote access to healthcare services
- More efficient and rapid access to lab tests and results
- Easier to pay the bills
- Easy sharing of medical data with healthcare practitioners and family members
- Auto-reminder and alerts for medicines and doctor appointments
- Clinical notes feedback
- Easy review of data for medical errors
- Easy storage and access to medical records
- Less time extensive
- Easy access to qualified healthcare services for rural patients by using telemedicine software
- Improved overall healthcare services
Disciplines in Digital Healthcare
Now that we know the objectives and advantages of digital healthcare, let’s see the different disciplines that make up the digital healthcare system.
Digital healthcare is an umbrella term that refers to various digital methods and approaches that utilize digital technologies to improve healthcare services. All of the systems that make up the digital healthcare landscape are aimed to improve the efficiency of one or the other function of the medical system and together these are evolving the medical landscape. Some of the disciplines included in the digital healthcare system include;
Telehealth is perhaps the most obvious discipline of the digital healthcare system that refers to remote access to qualified medical services.
The discipline uses telecommunication and information technologies to connect patients and healthcare patients remotely. While the technology was initially aimed to cater to the healthcare needs of patients in rural areas, it has emerged as the most effective and viable solution to supplement the traditional healthcare system. In the wake of covid-19, healthcare practitioners have relied on telehealth services to keep up with patients’ health remotely, while not exposing themselves to this highly contagious virus.
– Mobile phone health
Mobile phone health is yet another digital healthcare discipline that is making healthcare services more accessible to patients. The technology includes delivering vital medical information to people via smartphones. The technology is widely used in various countries as a meant to spread awareness about healthy living, as well as, is used by healthcare practitioners for remote monitoring and data collection.
– Wearable technology
Recently, wearable technology has become mainstream with various tech players joining the industry. Wearable technology takes digital healthcare services to another level by enabling patients to consistently monitor their crucial healthcare data.
Some examples of wearable technology include watches that are able to check heart rate and blood pressure. With tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon joining the bandwagon, we may soon expect to see some even more complex and intricate wearable technologies changing the face of the healthcare industry.
Teletherapy is another relatively new discipline of the digital healthcare system that helps connect patients with clinics, or professional therapists for consultation, assessment, and intervention.
Teletherapy is especially useful for women and children who can now access qualified therapists while sitting at their homes. Also, it enables patients to monitor and control their progress, nurturing a progressive healthcare environment at home.
– Healthcare information technology
Apart from these different disciplines that connect patients with healthcare practitioners, the digital healthcare system also includes powerful and automated medical systems that are meant to make hospital systems and workflow processes more efficient. Automated digital systems like hospital management systems, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are just some of the digital technologies that are changing the way healthcare institutes operate. These technologies are helping hospitals and clinics to automate various administrative and medical functions to relieve healthcare practitioners of redundant tasks and have more time for their medical practice.
Digital healthcare is the next logical step in the future of the healthcare industry. In recent times, the advancement of technology has reached the point that it is now possible for the technology to reshape medical services, making them more open, accessible, and affordable for patients and healthcare practitioners.