Digital transformation: How Covid-19 Reformed Healthcare
Without a doubt, most industries have undergone major changes due to the pandemic. Today it is impossible to find a business that would not be affected by COVID-19, but it is core to understand that for many companies and industries, this has become a reason to reconsider their approaches to work.
Each software engineering company, tech startup, or educational institution has faced this challenge. Healthcare is no exception. The main challenge for all of us today is to fight the virus, but as soon as the situation gets better, we will have to ask ourselves the question: What changes will help us move forward successfully? Let's dive deeper and understand what healthcare digital solutions are already changing the industry.
What innovations are here to stay?
We know that COVID-19 is the main driver of digital transformation in healthcare. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there were a huge number of changes, a number exceeding the results of all corporate accelerators.
If we talk about specific examples, it is worth mentioning that the level of telemedicine in the United States has increased by 400%. Also, practicing doctors and representatives of pharmaceutical companies are 2000% more likely to interact with each other in digital format.
But it would be a mistake to think that only interactions with patients and partners have changed. There are digital innovations that have contributed to the fight against the virus, such as:
- artificial intelligence;
- predictive analytics;
- digital diagnostic tools;
- communication and support tools, etc.
Without a doubt, remote non-urgent care has gone to a whole new level. This gives us a reason to think that such decisions will be with us for a long time. They are helping to create a new model of interaction and reform the healthcare industry.
Digital maybe or digital-first?
Two years ago, most people didn't know what is digital healthcare. It is our reality now, and our main task is to define our priorities.
For example, a few years ago, representatives of pharmaceutical companies and sales managers personally visited doctors, and this was considered the norm. Today, virtually all doctors in the United States prefer virtual interaction. We believe that once the pandemic is over, regular face-to-face interactions are unlikely to return to their previous level. The only exception may be highly effective intervention by medical teams.
Obviously, such healthcare digital transformation will lead to other changes, in particular, continuous omnichannel interaction, new approaches to leaving, fundamentally different work on crisis content. Pharmaceutical companies must now change their processes and implement virtual solutions. Most likely, routine tasks such as basic diagnostics will always be virtual. It is important to understand that these solutions must be not only effective but also cost-effective. The crisis has hit the financial condition of payers, and the post-crisis financial constraints should not affect the results.
Key digital trends in healthcare
- Patients strive for virtual interaction with their doctors not only for safety purposes but also for time management purposes. Now getting medical services using their smartphone is as easy as ever, and people are not ready to return to the previous level of communication.
- Big data in healthcare has helped bring the industry to the next level. By using these technologies, we can reduce the error rate to a minimum. For example, the software independently detects if there are any inconsistencies between the analysis of the patient's medical history and the medication intake. This means that if there is a potential risk of error, healthcare professionals and patients will be alerted.
- Big data predictive analytics have also made a breakthrough in assessing future hospitalization rates. Now hospitals and clinics know how many staff will be needed to work with patients at different times, will be able to establish faster processes in critical conditions, and save money.
- Virtual reality used to be used to treat chronic pain. The digital transformation made it possible to squeeze the maximum out of this technology, and now VR is used to treat autism, strokes, anxiety, and psychological disorders. It motivates users to lead an active lifestyle. Moreover, there are other uses for the technology. In particular, residents and even more experienced doctors use VR headsets to prepare for complex surgeries and hone their skills.
- The next healthcare transformation trend on our list is the proliferation of a variety of wearable technology devices for collecting patient health data. Companies that make oximeters, sweat meters, heart rate monitors, exercise trackers, and other gadgets are at their peak today. Even at the Apple presentation, you can hear about how useful their gadgets are in terms of medicine and health care.
- It would be a mistake not to mention artificial intelligence, which attracts a huge number of digital health investors. Right now, friendly droids are working in hospitals to help nurses cope with routine tasks. But this is not the only achievement of artificial intelligence. Most patients today have already dealt with chatbots and virtual health assistants. Even if you haven't met them yet, this will be fixed in the coming months. These assistants serve a wide variety of functions. In particular, they support clients, provide initial diagnostics, and even provide some therapeutic recommendations. For example, there are AI programs for cancer patients that can recognize the pathologies of many types of cancer and notice details that are not visible to the human eye.
What should businesses do in times of health revolution?
All current players in the health sector must come to terms with a number of inherent changes. It's time to listen to digital healthcare Adventists and start implementing tools to best interact with partners, clients, patients, and regulators. Despite the fact that changes must be accepted urgently, it is possible to highlight 3 main stages in order of priority:
- Analyze your new online traffic to understand its sources and integrate your own channels. It is important to ensure a quick transition to social media, search and paid media.
- Provide access to excellent medic content and produce it at a blazing speed—everything in the context of COVID-19.
- Collect real-world data to understand how digital solutions can improve results and deliver superior customer service.
- Pay attention to sales representatives' work standards. They need to improve their skills on new tools for interacting with clients and patients.
- Make sure your business processes work in tandem with the digital engagement layer.
- Reconsider your understanding of medicine in relation to customer acquisition. Obviously, it is a more active force now.
- Invest in digital health reforms and partner in important projects to create more attractive opportunities for the future.
- Focus on patient-focus platforms and processes that will use data to provide incredible care experiences and outstanding patient journeys.
After the dust settles, our lives and businesses will have forever changed. And it is up to the industry — whether we accept new priorities and catch this wave or stay overboard.
(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)