Consumers are demanding transparency, convenience, and access. Regulators are requiring more robust patient data security procedures. Technological advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) wearable devices market are reaching new highs in sophistication. Healthcare is not new to technological advancements. These advancements drive demand and expectations, and with that comes the need to push software to new limits. In this post we’ll look at the 3 trends we see most effecting software in the healthcare industry and the impact it will have.
Virtual Healthcare, Telemedicine, And Remote Patient Access.
Access to on-demand healthcare has become a significant trend in the industry - be it a more mobile, demanding community of healthcare consumers or the critical need of patients with limited mobility or restricted access to facilities, patients are accessing services in new, technology-driven ways. As smartphones, wearables, and IoT devices continue to penetrate the healthcare industry, companies who embrace these technologies have seen an increase in patient engagement, quality of care and dollars saved. Though telemedicine is not a new concept, the adoption of telemedicine is increasing and with it are coming innovations in service delivery. For example, after several years of operating its telemedicine platform, United Concierge Medicine has recently taken its telemedicine services beyond mere convenience. Their Telesafe app brings needed doctor-to-doctor, real-time collaboration to remote hospitals, specifically for providing higher quality, immediate care to victims of sexual crimes in remote locations. (TeleSAFE Case Study). While convenience has historically driven the market in telemedicine and home health care, today’s innovators like UCM are going further to improve the quality and timeliness of critical services.
Meet Your Digital Twin
Your online/digital presence does not end with your Facebook profile or other social media accounts. Many aspects of your life - such as information about your assets, health records or work/school performance - come together in cyberspace to make up your “Digital Twin”. And, the concept of a Digital Twin is not just about people - it’s about any “thing” that has a presence in the physical world also having a parallel presence in the virtual world. For example, services like Carfax are making digital twins of millions of cars, complete with all their service records, accident histories and selling prices. With the proliferation of IoT devices in the modern world, including everything from doorbells to smartwatches, technology is collecting data and reshaping industries - including logistics, manufacturing, transportation and of course, healthcare.
Trends in Digital Twin technology in the healthcare industry include an enormous amount of personal health data that is collected by wearables (think Healthkit) as well as patient medical records including all the data from doctors, specialists, and family medical history. Combine this with a digital network of DNA/genetic information being compiled by systems like ancestry.com and 23andme.com not to mention a vast amount of facial recognition data, and the average person has one hell of a digital twin out there. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), medical patient digital twinning creates an opportunity to drastically improve medical diagnoses and treatments by using real-time data to deliver the right care at the right time.
Earlier players in this space, including our former client e-Transmedia, were focused on using electronic data to streamline medical billing processes & coordination with pharmacies. In 2020, the trend in Digital Twinning represents the next wave of efficiencies in Healthcare and the result will be better care and better outcomes.
Automation, Automation, Automation.
In the business self-help book “The Checklist Manifesto”, bestselling author Atul Gawande highlights numerous examples of the crucial steps that go into common medical procedures and how often human error can lead to deadly outcomes. Atul, a successful and respected surgeon, further explains how even in 2009, routine tasks of modern-day surgeons have become so complex that mistakes are virtually inevitable.
In 2020, tedious, repetitive, and rule-based tasks, such as member enrollment and basic health care record processing, will be far less susceptible to human error. With the power of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), intelligent automation can now handle these processes with near-flawless results. Don’t be fooled by the name - this automation is performed by software bots - not the robots you have come to know and love from sci-fi movies or your kids’ lego robotics class. Software bots provide an opportunity to perform tasks incredibly fast, virtually error-free, and are far more cost-effective than other methods of system integration.
RPA is currently trending in the medical industry and big players like our partner UiPath are enabling automation (and hyperautomation) to bring higher quality care and patient experiences at significant cost savings. This trend is not unique to Healthcare - industries like engineering, education, insurance, and banking, all of which are prone to having many manual tasks and have low-risk tolerance for errors, are ripe for disruption by RPA. The bots are here...
What Do All These Trends Have In Common?
Healthcare software technology trends will continue to evolve to satisfy the needs of consumers, patients, healthcare insurance companies, healthcare providers and the vast eco-system that supports one of the largest industries in the modern world. At the same time, technology is driving all industries at an alarming rate. Combined, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google now make up 17.5% of the S&P 500. With this technology-driven economy comes increased concern with regards to data privacy and security. Given the vast amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in Healthcare, and the criticality of the services provided, data privacy and data security are at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Healthcare is at a critical crossroads between this privacy and the convenience a consumer-driven economy demands. Data Security cannot suffer. As the sphere of access to healthcare services expands (telemedicine, remote patient monitoring) so too the concerns for where all the data resides and how access to it can be governed. As digital twinning pushes nearly every individual medical detail to the cloud (and beyond), how will this data be protected? And while software bots and automation will improve efficiencies, at what point does humanity get completely extracted from the process and at what cost? How will a patient's information be potentially used against them?