Medical professionals are overburdened with regulatory and budgetary demands. Additionally, patients want to be empowered and have more communication with their health care providers. It is increasingly difficult to meet these challenges with outdated tools that were not designed to meet present-day requirements. It is no secret that health treatments have advanced with technology which enables medical professionals to focus more on health care by transforming patient experiences. Mobile app solutions with unified use of profiles are directly connecting patients with doctors regardless of their geographic locations to applications and secure data.

Doctors are able to connect directly to ambulance personnel which is increasing survival rates of emergency patients and other available technologies are enabling health care workers and patients to have immediate and continuous access to crucial behavioral and medical data. Non-Profit health organizations like World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), National Health Service (NHS) & more are able to provide their patients with long-distance health care by video conferencing, streaming media and wireless communication. Clients are able to easily schedule appointments with doctors, look at medical records and fill up a medication all by phone apps. 

This ease of access results in reduced readmission rates and a lower cost of care. However, this is just the beginning as the industry is looking at new ways to be able to optimize the whole process. The insights and the digital transformation opportunities for medical professionals are huge which have not been fully explored and adopted yet. 

Dentistry:

There are many challenges dentists face every day, and the general population wants faster, better, cheaper, smarter options in everything and dentistry is no exception. Dentistry has evolved and on many fronts, digital dentistry has enabled developing technologies where they have been able to effectively merge photography, video, CT scans, intraoral scans, surgical planning and planning exactly where implants would be placed. A digital dry run can be performed with higher accuracy so that when there is actual planning there is less guesswork as the awareness is heightened. Dentists know what they are planning for and know what they will find, hence surgeries are much smoother. Also, the ability to manufacture dental prostheses using modern methods and computer-aided design and manufacture is making a massive difference to the reproducibility and durability to the restorations being carried out. Another significant change with digital transformation is connectivity and how social media is now impacting the way dentists are providing treatment. Information gathered by using these new technologies can now be uploaded on smartphones to the cloud and especially if you aren’t as experienced or don’t know what to do, you can simply connect with other professionals with more experience and ask for help and advice. 3D printing has increased the speed of the process between taking an impression and having a crown placed in the mouth and the results are astounding.

Cosmetic Surgeons:

For centuries, the best way to improve a surgeon’s skill has been practiced. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being utilized to transform accuracy. A surgeon’s motor skill set is their ability to use medical tools with a steady hand. With AI, every stroke can be made more intelligently linked to powerful analytics that enhances the surgeons’ performance in real-time and reduces errors. During surgery, every movement can be sent to the cloud through motion sensors. Data collected in large amounts can be analyzed to show optimal movements and lead to successful, accurate surgeries. The application of these technologies are beneficial to surgeons in a big way as an error can irreplaceable damage muscle tissue or worse, skin necrosis can set in.

This data analysis is also extremely useful in training junior surgeons and can extend its efficacy to procedures like colonoscopy. These technologies are smart enough to even send warnings in real-time against making a bad move that could cause damage. Driven by digital transformation, built on tried and tested cloud, AI and IoT (Internet of Things) are making cosmetic surgery procedures more marketable and hence enabling higher revenue generation too.

Physicians:

Health information technology utilized as a holistic approach is not only transforming the industry, it also makes the physicians’ lives easier as well as bringing about improvements in care. Physicians are now looking at providing value instead of volume. Firstly, digital transformation has got in technologies like electronic health records, cloud-based applications, and services. Also with mobile devices, they are able to have rapid access to healthcare information equipping providers with the right tools to provide accurate and better quality care. Administratively too, they are able to realize greater operational efficiency by working digitally with other vendors like insurance companies and medical suppliers. Also, physicians are able to provide a  proactive approach to maintaining the well being of their patients with technologies like wearables, mobile health apps and AI integrating to provide them predictive analytical data.

Hospitals:

Staff, patients, and hospitals are more connected than ever. Digital transformation in a hospital setting has become imperative and to really improve the patient experience, increase operational efficiency, save lives and to extend continuity of care, hospitals are looking at refreshing their infrastructure and building a platform ready for the 21st century. The future of hospitals rely on various collaborations: 

  • The collaboration of specialists working together to follow a patient’s journey to get the best outcomes for the patients and digitalization makes that possible
  • Open collaborative IoT platforms connect all of the operating parts of the hospital from building management and fire but also things like nurse calls and public addresses 
  • Also connecting to IT which leads to a complete collaborative system that follows collaborative patient-centric care and helps the hospitals save energy

Clinical Diagnostics:

With patient outcomes as a key driver in the laboratory, diagnostic testing needs to be accurate. However, with complex processes and human errors, reporting can get delayed and can introduce unwarranted variation. Digitalization is helping reduce errors. With today’s new technologies producing more data than ever before, by aggregating this data from siloed sources, digital technologies can use this data to enable smarter diagnostic processes. This ultimately helps reduce operator bias and subjectivity. Essentially through digitalization, the approach is to standardize the decision-making process thereby saving time and effort. In the background, the systems are intelligently monitoring the processes and are able to predict the potential bottlenecks that could impact them. Smart algorithms and AI can help integrate data points and are able to provide a report for the physician. Futuristically if AI could actually compare the patient’s laboratory and radiology results versus a large population of patients, in a matter of seconds the physician would have a holistic view of the patient’s clinical status. Specific patient-centric clinical pathways could be proposed which ultimately results in the patient care being vastly improved.

Necessary digital transformation capabilities include:

  • Customer centricity: As the industry moves towards a more customer-centric approach, the rights and preferences of citizens are key. If their data needs to be shared for their and the health services’ best interest they need to have the trust in the way we look after that data,  trust in who will see that data and trust in what it will be used for. Hence backing up the rights and preferences of citizens with mechanisms for digital trust is important
  • Digital transformation of operations across ecosystems: While there are benefits of transformation within an organization, more benefits can be obtained if the transformation occurs across the ecosystem
  • Leveraging of other capabilities like speech and image processing and data-driven clinical decision support to start to standardized care
  • Internet of Things will have a big place in transforming outcomes. There is excitement around new capabilities like home monitoring or using IoT within a hospital for intensive care units to ai optimization. Of course, this raises further challenges around the volume of data to drive insights out and keeping that data secure especially once you start to frame more personal healthcare data onto the right platform.
  • One of the most important points is moving towards a time where all these organizations are run by 21st-century executives & professionals who understand how technology can fit together with their practice and how they can start to mold their practice towards a digital world rather than insisting that digital needs to move towards their existing practices.

Conclusion:

Digital transformation is empowering medical professionals to collaborate, react faster and deliver better outcomes by putting patients at the center.