Technology has disrupted almost every industry you can think of, including healthcare. Advancements in healthcare technology have allowed physicians to diagnose and treat their patients better. Initially, healthcare technology was slowly evolving, but the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown has accelerated the pace of technology adoptions and adaptations.
The global healthcare information technologies market size is projected to reach USD 270.3 billion by 2021 from USD 227.5 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 23.6% during the forecast period. — MarketsandMarkets
The emerging technology in the healthcare sector is adding convenience at the patient’s end and making the provider’s life easier. This is the reason behind increased new product development initiatives and refinements to the existing products.
The objective is as simple as that of any product development project — solve user problems.
What user problems exactly? Here’s a list of the top seven healthcare problems and solutions introduced by technology.
How to Solve Healthcare Problems with Technology?
There are several problems that the healthcare sector faces every day. However, technology can help you stay ahead of the curve and lend a hand at placing you among the top technological healthcare providers.
Here are some of the primary healthcare problems that technology can solve for a better and healthier world:
Problem 1: No Remote Access
Healthcare has been associated with in-person consultations for decades. This has been a problem that obligates the patients to run to the nearest healthcare center for treatment.
Now, the COVID outbreak and lockdowns made it even worse. The contagion effect of the virus restrained people in the four walls of their homes. So, what do they do if they need to see a doctor and have an emergency?
The need for remote access or virtual consultations is the need of the hour, which needs to be taken care of to stay one step ahead in the technology adoption race.
Solution 1: Invest in healthcare mobile and web applications
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 quality care and advice to patients from miles away.
With mobile healthcare solutions, telemedicine aims to raise the level of healthcare with wearables and smartphones to track health. The use of technology in healthcare has accelerated the development of products that experiment with technology such as holography, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, augmented, and virtual reality.
— Marcus Borba (@marcusborba) October 20, 2019
Problem 2: Existing Siloes in the Healthcare World
The healthcare professionals in the world are disconnected and are seen to be working in silos. There is a missing platform that can bring the healthcare industry on a single page, where they can discuss their learning and share knowledge, and create notes.
If there were a single platform exclusively for the healthcare sector — things could get better. Everyone can learn from everyone, leading to a better understanding, diagnosis, and treatment.
Solution 2: Social Networking App for Healthcare Professionals
Building a social networking app exclusively for healthcare professions can solve the problem at hand. Something like what Net Solutions did by creating “The OCR” (The On Call Room) — the mobile social platform for healthcare professionals.
The app covers:
- The latest development of the healthcare industry
- Ability to share photos, PDFs, PPTs, excel sheets, and videos
- Ability to post new status and ability to like and comment and ask questions
- Ability to share patient data among healthcare professionals
The solution is viable and makes for a solution that helps create a healthier and better world by enabling collaboration and communication in the sector. Sharing knowledge can help solve health problems together while promoting inclusivity.
Problem 3: Issues with Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement
Medicare and Medicaid are government healthcare programs that provide healthcare coverages to patients. Their repayment structures vary significantly and need to maintain an orchestrated management process.
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, adding significantly to the problems.
Solution 3: Invest in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR System
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 to simplify health record-keeping and Medicare and Medicaid filing.
EHRs offer an apolitical tool to control 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 five years 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 submission of 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. This way, doctors can focus more on their core functionalities and offer effective coordinate care with other doctors to plan cohesive, personalized treatment plans.
Problem 4: Absence of Supply Management System
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 creates troubles like mismanaged medical inventory and equipment or drug shortage at the backend. On the frontend,i.e., doctor’s end, it causes inefficiencies; on the patients’ end, frustration and, of course, danger to their health.
Traditional supply chain management is often wasteful and inefficient. It leads to money wasted on lost and damaged inventory, improper delivery of equipment or medication, and 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.
Solution 4: Invest in a Data Management Systems
To avoid heavy losses and to spend unnecessarily, 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 powered by data analytics is one that is not only constantly updated and operates within an easy-to-use graphic user interface (GUI), but also provides insightful and meaningful data.
This way, administrative and medical professionals alike have immediate access to accurate inventory numbers and current budget allocations.
Problem 5: 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.
The storage and the retrieval of this patient data, when needed, is a challenge that the hospitals need to address. Data overload and mismanagement often lead to 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.
Solution 5: Cloud + Data analytics Capabilities
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 appropriately secured.
The cloud-based products that can help you maintain a patient database are also handy options along with data analytics capabilities.
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.
Here’s an example of technology in healthcare implementation — we built the healthcare technology solution for EMR providers to improve their efficiency and outcome. EMR is a built-in decision support engine that helps healthcare staff speed up and automates diagnosing a disease. This helped not only patients but doctors and hospitals to increase reimbursements.
To know how we built an EMR with a built-in decision support engine and unique workflows, read the case study –
Problem 6: Inefficiencies and Errors in Data Sharing
In an age where medical science has made noteworthy advancements, inefficiencies, and healthcare errors are still persistent because of low-key technology that the healthcare industry adopts for management.
This is not just a hurdle in the way of medical science; it causes regression because of the waste it generates. 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.
Solution 6: Blockchain-Based Database
To be able to deliver a holistic and satisfactory patient 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.
Problem 7: Lack of Online Pharmaceutical Stores
The increase in eCommerce stores across the web has changed the shopping habits of people. They want anything and everything available online. However, the lack of medicinal stores online is a problem that makes the industry lag when compared to other sectors.
Because the medicines sold online should be prescription-based, there is a lack of e-stores that can disrupt the market and can bring convenience to the consumers.
Solution 7: Setting up Prescription-based Online Medical Stores
The launch of an online pharmaceutical store should be on your list. There is a huge potential in the online market. However, you might not disrupt the market as Amazon (stereotyped for disruptions) has recently launched Amazon Pharmacy — which offers home delivery for prescription-based medicines.
Introducing Amazon Pharmacy. 💊📋📦
— Amazon (@amazon) November 17, 2020
What you need to get started:
- An eCommerce platform to get started — Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.
- Developers — for designing and creating a website and mobile app
- Delivery management system — for streamlining last-mile deliveries
What is the Future of Technology in Healthcare — Bright!
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 times and will bring exciting opportunities in the industry for doctors as well as patients.
Let us bind technology and healthcare together!