Advancements in healthcare technology have allowed physicians to diagnose and treat their patients better. Thanks to the continuous emerging technology in the healthcare industry, countless lives have been saved, and the overall quality of life continues to improve.
“Global health care expenditures are expected to continue to rise as spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent between 2017-2022, from USD 7.724 trillion to USD 10.059 trillion.” – Deloitte
As medical technology is making commendable advances, we also see the rise of technology to manage healthcare at the backend. We see healthcare technology trends in the industry that are not only meant to make the lives of the patients easier, but also solve some massive problems at the providers’ end.
Here are the top 5 problems in healthcare that technology can solve to remain fit in this world.
Problem 1: Remote Access to Healthcare
For decades, medical care around the world has looked more or less the same – making an appointment and visiting the doctor -turning healthcare into an in-person, at-the-hospital experience for almost everyone.
Patient access to healthcare sets the baseline for all patient encounters with the healthcare industry. When patients cannot access their healthcare partner and do not receive medical care, they cannot build relationships with them.
The Technological Solution
Wondering how digital technologies can improve the functionality of telemedicine? Choose web and mobile healthcare applications that are getting better every day to offer a platform that connects the two parties.
Mobile app developers continue to grow the flexibility and performance abilities of these remote-oriented platforms. This creates a reliable experience for medical experts to provide care and advice to patients from miles away.
With mobile healthcare, telemedicine aims to raise the level of healthcare with wearables and smartphones to track health. Telemedicine offers enrolment of patients in remote monitoring projects, use of mobile apps, video conferencing, and emails for the counseling and treatment. Moreover, virtual access technologies have the potential to enable remote monitoring and care, along with better real-time communication with physicians.
Problem 2: Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement
Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement models differ as per federal and state regulations in the US, and both are still endeavoring to embrace value-based reimbursement.
Medicare and Medicaid are the government healthcare programs that assist people with obtaining inclusion; however, similitudes between the projects pretty much end there. Their repayment structures vary significantly.
The procedures for filing and receiving Medicare and Medicaid are very different and are an extra task on the to-do list of healthcare professionals. The regulations also need them to store and record patient records in a particular format for the services rendered.
Whenever treatment is availed under Medicare, the doctors need to fill out the prescribed electronic forms as proof that the patient has, in fact, received the healthcare service. The rules and regulations have made it mandatory for healthcare pros to follow the process to get paid.
The Technological Solution
Healthcare reform has been one of the most disruptive political issues right now. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are one of those healthcare technology trends that the industry is ready to embrace in order to simplify health record-keeping as well as Medicare and Medicaid filing.
EHRs offer an apolitical tool to control the health care expenditure, which is expected to grow at 5.8% until 2022.
“A large hospital can generate an additional $37 million to $59 million in revenue over a five-year period following an EHR implementation through length-of-stay (LOS) reduction, readmission rate reduction, emergency department (ED) revenue reimbursement, ambulatory revenue reimbursement and drug cost reduction.”- HubSpot
EHR systems facilitate appropriate electronic forms for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement from the government. It is easy for healthcare professionals to keep the patients’ health records and fill out the forms for reimbursement when the service has been provided.
These systems also help improve the transaction of information from the doctors to the government and vice versa. They also standardize the format of information as needed by the government to disburse claims, apart from speeding up the process of submitting patient files and requesting payments for the services rendered.
Also, tracking the medical history of a patient online eases the headache of maintaining paper files. And, doctors can concentrate on their patients and offer effective coordinate care with other doctors to plan cohesive, personalized treatment plans.
Problem 3: Wastefulness and Unoptimized Supply Management
As patients, we never think of the logistics that lie behind healthcare services. But they form the backbone of the industry. Efficient logistics practices ensure uninterrupted healthcare services. Managing these logistics is, still, a tricky task.
While it may sound more like a supply chain mismanagement problem, it very well creates troubles like mismanaged medical inventory and equipment or drug shortage at the backend. On the frontend, that is, at the end of the doctors, it causes inefficiencies; on the patients’ end, frustration and, of course, danger to their health.
Traditional supply chain management is often wasteful and inefficient. The money wasted on lost and damaged inventory, on improper delivery of equipment or medication, and on the damage caused to patients due to all that, amount to massive financial losses for healthcare services.
Supply shortages, misplaced inventory, and less than stellar preventative measures regarding shrinkage, all play into the reality that hospitals are epicenters for wasteful operations without a proper supply management system in place.
The Technological Solution
To avoid heavy losses and to spend unnecessary, it’s imperative to turn to digital healthcare technology providers for a powerful and effective solution.
Invest in an inventory management system, or a warehouse management system, if you may, to be at the higher end of supply chain management.
A strong data management system is one that is not only constantly updated and operates within an easy-to-use graphic user interface (GUI), but also operates across in-house terminals and mobile platforms.
This way, administrative and medical professionals alike, have immediate access to accurate inventory numbers and current budget allocations.
Problem 4: Managing the Massive Volumes of Patient-Related Data
“Vast amounts of data are generated from health care providers, public and private payers, ancillary service providers such as labs and pharmacies, and healthcare consumers alike. The challenge is not just in storage and access, but also in making this data usable.” – John Glaser, Executive Senior Advisor at Cerner
Patient-related data is one of the most overwhelming aspects of healthcare. With each new addition to the patient database, the existing pool of data becomes still bigger. Consequently, it becomes even tougher to manage this data. As much as we may expect the existing traditional infrastructure to manage and secure the data, it is only an unrealistic expectation.
Not only the storage but also the retrieval of this patient data, when needed, is a challenge that the hospitals need to address. Data overload and mismanagement often lead to situations like wrong diagnoses, compromise in data security, improper treatment, lapsed appointments, and failure to keep up with the changes in progress or regression of the patient’s condition, etc. The implications can be catastrophic for both doctors as well as patients.
The Technological Solution
The healthcare technology solution to this challenge lies in cloud-based data systems and mobile portals. These solutions provide healthcare professionals with real-time access to patient-related data like registrations, medical history, diagnoses, treatments, appointments, and more.
And since the storage and retrieval are cloud-based, the records are updated in real-time and secured properly.
Mobile portals or mobile healthcare apps that help you maintain a patient database are also handy options that provide access to this data both on the patient and the doctor’s side. Healthcare mobile app development and integration of these systems with apps based on iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms provide even more flexibility for doctors and other practitioners that are on-the-go throughout their workday.
For example, we built the healthcare technology solution for EMR providers to improve their efficiency and outcome. EMR with built-in decision support engine helped the healthcare staff to speed up and automate the process of diagnosing a disease. This helped not only patients but doctors and hospitals to increase reimbursements. To know how we built an EMR with built-in decision support engines and unique workflows, read the case study-
Problem 5: Inefficiencies and Errors in Data Sharing
In an age where medical science has made marvelous advancements, inefficiencies, and errors in healthcare are still persistent because of low-key technology that the healthcare industry adopts for management. The pen-and-paper approach is still followed largely around the world, even in a developed economy like the USA.
This is not just a hurdle in the way of medical science; it causes regression because of the waste it causes. Not only do patients pay the price in the form of inconvenience and health, but we also see a rise in administrative expenses and litigation owing to these inefficiencies and errors.
One specific area of concern is the exchange of patient data in case of patient transfer from one department or one hospital to another. Patient record sharing, when done the traditional way, is not only time-consuming and inefficient but also exposes the patient information to the risk of a breach. An incomplete or inefficient exchange of this data can prove to be dangerous in the case of patients in need of urgent or complicated treatment.
The Technological Solution
To be able to deliver a holistic healthcare experience, different parties involved in healthcare – doctors, healthcare scheme providers, insurance providers, doctors, and patients – should be able to exchange information among themselves securely.
Using cloud-based data management systems can be one stable solution to solving the inefficiencies caused by the traditional pen-and-paper way of managing data.
The most up-and-coming solution to this healthcare management problem is the use of a blockchain-based database to store and share patient records. This healthcare technology trend can not only permit the quick and complete transfer of data but also eliminate insecurity, thus maintaining the privacy and integrity of patient information.
The Future of Healthcare Technology
There’s no denying that the healthcare industry has come a long way as technology continues to take on a role of prominence in this industry. From dealing with data overload across various institutions to connecting doctors and patients from opposite ends of the globe via mobile apps, healthcare technology continues to advance in the right direction.
We may presently be viewing just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what mobile apps, cloud-based services, and other digital assets have to offer to healthcare professionals. Digital transformation in healthcare is expected to be seen more prominently in the coming days and will bring exciting opportunities in the industry for doctors as well as patients.