Digital transformation has impacted consumere convenience & experience across all industries.
If you’re still not aware, digital transformation is about the integration of advanced technologies & digital solutions into all areas of a business to boost its efficiency and value.
The primary objective of digital transformation is to replace traditional, outdated solutions as well as processes with modern ones by leveraging the latest technologies.
According to Statista, spending on digital transformation has already surpassed $1.3 Trillion US dollars worldwide. And the same is growing at a whopping 10.4% year on year.
Put another way, embracing digital transformation is no longer an option in almost every industry and the healthcare industry is no exception.
In fact, if you’re from the healthcare industry, you’d be happy to know digital transformation in healthcare has enormous potential to optimize operational processes and improve the overall patient experience all the while reducing costs.
In this post, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about digital transformation in healthcare including trends, major challenges, and their solutions.
So without wasting any time, let’s jump right in!
What is Digital Transformation in Healthcare?
Digital transformation in healthcare is making use of the latest technologies, methodologies, and processes to deliver sustainable value to patients, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations.
It’s basically about embracing and employing advanced technologies and innovative approaches to maximize benefits.
According to Deloitte’s recent study, around 92% of healthcare professionals & institutes achieved better performance from digital transformation.
But, if you’re still not convinced, let’s check out the benefits of digital transformation in healthcare for patients, healthcare institutes/organizations, and the healthcare industry as a whole.
Benefits of Digital Transformation For Patients
Digital transformation provides significant advantages to patients through digital healthcare solutions. Let’s check them out below.
Better & More Personalized Services
The implementation of digital transformation in healthcare enables more accurate health diagnoses and even better & more effective as well as personalized treatment.
Better Communication with Doctors
With digital transformation, patients can obtain professional healthcare services online through video calls, chatting, treatment strategies, and receive clear prescriptions over the healthcare portal or email.
Easy Access to Personal Health Data
Patients can easily access and manage their personal health records and even conduct a thorough analysis of their health metrics online.
Convenient Appointment Scheduling
Digital transformation in healthcare enables patients to schedule doctor’s appointments at the most convenient date.
Track Health Metrics in Real-Time
The use of advanced technologies like Health Wearables allows patients to track their important health metrics in real-time.
Benefits of Digital Transformation for Healthcare Institutes/Organizations
It’s clear that digital transformation in healthcare brings impressive benefits to the patients.
But what are the benefits healthcare institutes and organizations get from it?
Let’s find out!
Digital transformation enables processes automation which in turn lets healthcare institutes & organizations offer cost-effective services and eliminate unnecessary spending in traditional healthcare services.
Digital transformation can replace the paperwork with digital records, reduce the patient examination time, and allow easier & optimized access to patient health records.
Enable Improved Interaction with Patients
Digital transformation can enable improved and more effective online interaction with patients via video calls & chats.
Secure Database for Electronic Medical Records
Digital transformation in healthcare allows you to create a secure database for encrypting, storing, and accessing private medical records of patients and enables sharing them on-demand with healthcare professionals, laboratories, and medical specialists.
Benefits of Digital Transformation for Healthcare Industry
As you just saw, digital transformation in healthcare provides plenty of benefits for both patients as well as healthcare institutes & organizations.
With digital transformation innovations, in fact, the entire healthcare industry will gain unmatchable benefits and grow to the next level.
Following are some of the main benefits of digital transformation for the healthcare industry as a whole.
More Effective Internal Communication
The whole healthcare industry relies largely on communication to provide patients with proper care. And digital transformation enables more efficient & smooth communication between all stakeholders.
Better Time Management
Digital transformation can significant amount of valuable time in the healthcare industry. This, as a result, can save numerous lives, thanks to the 24/7 accessibility to the patient’s health records and real-time coordination.
Improved Healthcare Services
The healthcare industry is patient-centric and therefore it is essential to leverage advanced procedures for precise & proper diagnosis and treatment.
Digital transformation allows integrating various technologies to enable healthcare professionals & institutes to provide more effective as well as personalized treatment to patients.
Top 7 Digital Transformation Trends in Healthcare
Based on what we just learned, it’s clear that Digital Transformation in Healthcare can substantially improve the ability of healthcare professionals, institutions, and organizations to provide better treatment to patients and help them live healthier and longer lives.
That being said, let’s look at some of the top digital transformation trends in healthcare you should keep an eye on if you’re from the healthcare industry.
In the past, people were content with going for a health checkup once a year and only meeting with doctors when something went wrong.
Today, however, patients are primarily focusing on consistent maintenance of their health and are demanding information regarding their health more frequently.
Because of this, people are now actively investing in wearable technology devices to monitor important health metrics & determine the chances of a major health event.
In fact, a recent study has also discovered that the health wearable device market is forecasted to surpass $74 Billion US dollars by 2026, which is a massive jump from just $27 Billion US dollars in 2020.
Some of these health wearable devices that are popular include:
- Exercise trackers
- Fitness bands
- Sweat meters (used for tracking blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.)
These connected wearable devices can help healthcare professionals with better ability to capture essential medical information of patients in real-time and obtain a more accurate assessment of patients’ health.
One great example of Health Wearables is Apple Watch.
Recently, Apple Watch saved a man’s life after he fell from his electric bike. Upon falling, Apple Watch immediately alerted respective authorities with his location information.
In fact, when the emergency services arrived at the location, they found a man lying on the street, bleeding heavily from the head. Fortunately, the emergency services were able to help save that man’s life, all thanks to Apple Watch.
Another leading trend of digital transformation in healthcare is patient portals.
As the name suggests, patient portals are basically online platforms that allow patients to access their health records, schedule appointments, chat with doctors, and so on.
One of the primary reasons why patient portals are a trend is because it promotes transparency and convenience.
In fact, a recent survey revealed that 82% of healthcare professionals & organizations consider patient portals as one of the most important technologies for engaging with patients.
With patient portals, people can not only check their medical care history, prescription & visit notes from doctors, and see their test results online, but they can also share all this data with multiple healthcare providers.
This, as a result, completely eliminates the need to transfer or share medical records manually, which is extremely convenient for both patients as well as healthcare professionals.
FollowMyHealth, for instance, is a popular platform among US citizens and is a great example of patient portals.
The platform allows its users to maintain records of both general medicines as well as specialist visits. Furthermore, they can even contact & message doctors within the platform.
The doctors, on the other hand, can access connected patients’ complete medical history from a single location.
Read More: An App that Helps Patients to Find Nurses
Although, patient portals are a perfect solution to collect patients’ data. But nowadays, healthcare institutions & organizations also need to aggregate those data.
This is mainly because most hospitals nowadays have massive amounts of data coming in from a wide range of sources such as:
- Patient-provided data
- Lab results
- Pharmacy data
- Internal & external electronic health records (EHR)
- Data from medical devices like health wearables
- Imaging data
- And insurance claims
Now, when you’ve data coming in from multiple sources, sometimes, important patient data might get overlooked.
Data Aggregation, however, can help hospitals make quick & insightful patient-care decisions without having to worry about missing important patient data.
Put another way, data aggregation helps to improve patient care and lower costs.
It basically brings together all data to create a thorough patient profile, which drastically reduces the time spent through patient data, resulting in lower patient wait times.
IBM Watson, for example, is an advanced data collection and analysis platform. It is basically a universal solution for multiple industries, including healthcare.
Recently, IBM Watson partnered with Pfizer to develop new cancer drugs by collecting & utilizing cancer patients’ natural immune responses.
Thanks to IBM Watson, two companies were successful in predicting specific kinds of cancer by interpreting complex genomic data.
TeleHealth & Virtual Doctor Visits
Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic, the adoption of virtual doctor visits has become one of the most growing trends in healthcare.
As the name implies, virtual doctor visits basically allow patients to interact with doctors via video calls, eliminating the need to visit doctors to their clinics in person.
In fact, thanks to telehealth solutions, doctors were able to see 50% to 175% more patients during the COVID-19 lockdown situation.
Not only that but according to a recent survey, 83% of patients expect to keep using telehealth after the Pandemic.
And if you think about it, there are many advantages of telehealth & virtual doctor visits.
For starters, doctors can now easily conduct patient care visits, screen patients more easily & quickly, and schedule an in-person appointment only if certain follow-ups are necessary.
For patients, virtual visits save a lot of time as they no longer have to travel to doctors’ clinics or hospitals sitting in waiting rooms.
Brigham Health Hospital in Massachusetts, for example, has fully adopted the virtual visits solution. They allow patients to schedule appointments online, use their smartphones to chat with doctors through video calls, and so on.
In fact, the hospital even recently conducted a survey and found that 74% of their patients admitted that virtual doctor visits helped to improve their relationships with doctors and doctors were also able to keep better track of patients’ symptoms as well as treatment.
Over the last decade, people have become more mobile, which has forced many industries to enter the on-demand economy.
According to Statista, more than 50% of web traffic now comes from smartphones since 2019.
Furthermore, the Coronavirus Pandemic has also changed the way patients seek healthcare services.
And not only patients but doctors are also no longer tied to one organization. In fact, they’ve now become more eager to work for multiple healthcare institutes at a time.
To fulfill this, Nomad Health Company has recently launched an on-demand healthcare platform that helps doctors link up with multiple healthcare organizations for short-term work.
As a result, the doctors’ schedule has become more flexible when it comes to providing medical services and they can now easily adapt to patients’ evolving requirements.
Disease History Analysis
Along with On-Demand Healthcare Solutions more and more digital healthcare tools are being launched to help doctors analyze a patient’s disease history in order to provide the best possible treatment.
BostonGene, for example, is definitely worth mentioning. The company is famous for offering comprehensive clinical as well as research solutions including the disease history analysis tool.
BostonGene’s tool is capable of conducting an in-depth analysis of a patient’s previous diseases and provides a completely personalized plan for treatment that could generate the best results possible.
Another growing trend of digital transformation in healthcare is AI screening by leveraging artificial intelligence technology.
AI Screening basically helps hospital staff to discover which patient needs care first and guides the patient to the appropriate channels.
Many hospitals across the world have successfully adopted AI-based chatbots and voice systems to screen patients in order to reduce the load on hospital staff.
For example, AI Screening could help to direct patients to the appointment scheduling line, the laboratory, or the pharmacy.
This, in turn, can reduce the number of people gathering in the waiting room unnecessarily and can take some burden off of the hospital staff.
An AI-based automated phone system is a great use case for AI Screening. It could collect callers’ information and route their calls to the appropriate person, which directly reduces the transfer wait time & hold times.
Chatbots are another incredible example of AI Screening.
In fact, Partners Healthcare had recently launched a COVID-19 Screener chatbot that helped people determine whether they needed to get a COVID test or not.
The chatbot asks a series of basic COVID-related questions and informs the person whether they need to be tested or not.
As a result, the chatbot successfully screened out people who were unlikely to have COVID and drastically reduced the number of people waiting for COVID-19 Tests.
Challenges of Digital Transformation In Healthcare & Their Solutions
Digital transformation is a complex process, especially for a traditional industry such as healthcare. But, to become more competitive, all healthcare institutes & organizations need to go through digital transformation.
Below, we’ve listed the most significant challenges (along with their solutions) that healthcare companies usually need to overcome for implementing digital transformation.
Challenge 1 - Data Security Remains Number 1 Concern
When it comes to digital transformation, cybersecurity is a primary concern for all healthcare institutes.
This is because cyberattacks usually target private, sensitive, and highly valuable personal health data, which can lead to disruption of patient care.
For instance, a malware attack on a private hospital may seem low-risk. But such an attack could easily breach patients’ privacy, leading to a hospital’s reputation loss, fraud, discrimination, and so on.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to take certain required measures to strengthen the security level and prevent cyberattacks.
Solution – Leveraging Blockchain in Healthcare
To overcome this challenge, adopting blockchain technology is highly recommended.
According to a recent study by Precision and Strategic Intelligence, the market for blockchain-based healthcare applications is already forecasted to surpass $890 million US dollars by 2023.
Blockchain is basically a digital transaction technology that is built upon a decentralized network of computers and is largely adopted in the finance industry.
With blockchain, healthcare institutions can:
- Prevent cybersecurity breaches
- Identify inaccuracies in patients’ health information
- Allow patients to access & share their private health data on a secure distributed ledger
Challenge 2 - The Cost Factor
Another reason why many healthcare institutes, organizations, and companies putting digital transformation plans on a backburner is the cost factor.
Unfortunately, these healthcare organizations focus primarily on the ROI while neglecting the value proposition that digital transformation can deliver.
Though it’s true that digital transformation in healthcare requires huge investments in technology as well as partnering with a software development company.
But, digital transformation can also offers higher scalability, more profits, and increased revenue compared to the traditional approach.
Moreover, there are a couple of cost-savings ways to approach digital transformation in healthcare.
Read More: How Much Does It Cost to Make an App?
Solution - Adopting Agile Development Methodology
Agile Software Development is a highly popular and widely-used methodology that drastically increases the speed as well as flexibility of digital transformation process.
Its incremental & iterative model has proven to accommodate new changes in an extremely cost-efficient way.
However, if you’re planning to fill the gaps through digital transformation in your healthcare organization, it is essential to partner with or outsource your project to a reliable software development company.
Challenge 3 - Resistance to Change
The majority of healthcare professionals have admitted in a survey that because of working on tight schedules, they usually don’t have enough time for participating in learning how to use new software.
Ironically, however, they regularly spend hours on hospital administrative tasks, which could be easily automated through digital transformation.
By definition, digital transformation is about transforming the way healthcare organizations as well as professionals think and work. Therefore, it is crucial to combat the resistance to change mindset before embarking on the digital transformation journey.
Solution - Educate Stakeholders & Staff with New Software
Getting your staff and stakeholders familiar with new software developed during the digital transformation journey can seem like a difficult task. But the good news is, it’s most certainly accomplishable.
In order to educate your staff & stakeholders on how to use new software, first, you’ll be required to create a solid training program and make participating in the training program a top priority.
A critical part of getting your staff as well as stakeholders to participate in the training program is to demonstrate respect for their time and already jam-packed schedules.
Therefore, it’s best to set clear & realistic deadlines for the new software training program and give plenty of advance notice.
In simple words, give your staff and stakeholders time and space to process the change.
For example, if you’re planning to introduce a new patient portal for your hospital, send an email to everyone with a link to it and ask them to take a look before the next staff meeting. You can even encourage them to bring any questions that they may have and which can be addressed in the training program.
Challenge 4 - Complying with HIPAA Regulations
The last challenge that arises with digital transformation in healthcare is complying with the HIPPA Regulations.
The HIPPA law is about protecting individuals’ personal medical records and private health information at all costs. This regulation was created to allow patients to set boundaries on the use and sharing of their personal health records.
To comply with HIPPA Regulations, a healthcare institution & organization must do the following:
- Ensure complete integrity, confidentiality, and availability of patients’ medical records.
- Safeguard against all kinds of possible cyber threats.
- Protection against impermissible use of patients’ medical history.
Violation of the above rules can lead to both civil monetary as well as criminal penalties.
Solution - Partner with a Company Experienced in HIPAA-Compliant Software Development
Building a custom HIPPA-Compliant software is a complex, time-consuming & expensive process. Therefore, it is essential to partner with an experienced healthcare software company that you can rely on.
So, before commencing on your digital transformation journey, it’s best to research potential healthcare app development company, go through their previous HIPPA-Complaint software projects, and contact previous clients for feedback.
How Peerbits Can Help?
Peerbits is an ISO-Certified Software Development Company with over a decade of experience in the industry. Throughout our journey, we’ve built various kinds of software products for multiple industries, including the healthcare industry.
Furthermore, we’ve ensured that all of the healthcare software/ apps/solutions developed by us are fully HIPPA Compliant.
So, when you partner with Peerbits, you can rest assured that your digital transformation journey will be smooth, successful, and most importantly, cost-effective.
And if you’re already planning to embark on the digital transformation journey of your healthcare company, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation & professional guidance.
Digital transformation in healthcare is evolving at an unprecedented rate. It has ignited several improved healthcare services, leading to better patient care and outcomes.
Moreover, with patients’ demand rising for modern healthcare services, the healthcare industry definitely cannot afford to be sluggish.
Furthermore, digital transformation holds the power to not only revolutionize patient care but also allow healthcare organizations as well as professionals to reduce the amount of time spent on performing administrative tasks.
That being said, we truly hope that this post has proven to be both helpful and inspiring to take action.
If you still have any questions regarding digital transformation in healthcare, feel free to contact us at any time.