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In this healthcare hub you’ll find everything you need to know about healthcare technology.
Despite the growing realisation that digital transformation is required to meet healthcare demand, progress is slow. In a recent report “Digital Transformation: Shaping the Future of European Organisations” Deloitte revealed that technology adoption rates in the healthcare sector differ widely, both within and between countries.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated demand for the Internet of Things (IoT) in digital healthcare. More and more patients now use technology to access healthcare, as well as self-monitor their health. But there’s a growing divide between those able to access these services and those who cannot. Leader s need to decide which emerging technologies are most effective, and agree on how to fund that innovation so that healthcare has a sustainable future.
Digital transformation brings with it a host of benefits for patients, healthcare systems, and clinicians.
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Telemedicine or ‘healing from a distance’ is medicine using technology to deliver care remotely. A physician in one location uses a telecommunications infrastructure to provide care to a patient at another site. Telehealth is less clinical in scope involving, for example, communicating health information to the public.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the number of virtual consultations, also known as telemedicine consultations, has rocketed. Clinicians have been able to interact virtually with patients whilst either they, or their patients, have been self-isolating. According to the NHS, millions of patients have benefited from remote consultations with their doctors.
Of course, telemedicine can’t be a full substitute for face-to-face care. However, its potential has become apparent. It’s a convenient option for a quick check-up, treating numerous chronic conditions such as asthma and hypertension, a post-op chat, or to talk through test results. Telemedicine saves doctors from leaving the surgery and patients the inconvenience of having to go home.
Existing telemedicine providers bring real value to healthcare practices, from supporting them with real-time video and remote monitoring, enabling the storage and transmission of data between practitioners in different locations. Telemedicine providers supply the infrastructure and functionality to automate claims processing, deliver biotech solutions, analyse patient histories, and enable patients and employees to meet virtually.
There are numerous options for telemedicine courses for healthcare practitioners. From free, part-time online courses to full time paid tuition. Diplomas, Master’s degrees, and PhDs have sprung up online to meet all types of clinicians’ varying needs. For example, University College, London (UCL) runs a post-grad certificate course in telemedicine.
COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for telemedicine - meaning there’s plenty of scope for new startups to move into the market. From helping NHS staff run virtual clinics to providing virtual care directly to patients via apps, websites or smart technology, new healthcare companies are disrupting the industry.
Despite lags in the UK in the adoption of telemedicine, founders remain optimistic about progress. eConsult, for example, now provides around 360,000 virtual consultations per month. Founders feel strongly that digitisation needs to be available for all, regardless of cost - especially concerning apps dedicated to self-care and wellbeing.
Wearable tech allows healthcare providers to track patient vitals to detect the risk of deterioration early. AI and machine learning can even help catch problems before they show. These are just a couple of examples of how tech is reshaping the future of healthcare.
Digital technologies can play an essential role in saving lives and providing adequate healthcare to millions of people in need. Digitalisation can help reduce shortages in critical equipment supply, streamline admission and discharge processes, track infection rates, and eliminate time-consuming paperwork.
Mobile apps for patients with chronic conditions relieve the pressure on healthcare systems and limit the risks involved with direct contact. Mobile apps for doctors can safely transfer patient data to them to keep them updated.
Telehealth is making medical appointments more accessible to everyone. It helps prevent people with chronic illnesses having to travel frequently, and is enabling rural residents access to better support. Doctors can monitor patients more regularly and give timely feedback, while new symptoms can be spotted early on. Doctor-patient relationships can be improved - with more regular check-ins doctors can learn more about their patients.
Leading healthcare database, Blue Health Intelligence (BHI), is the largest database of integrated medical and pharmacy claims. With the help of RingCentral’s app, BHI has managed to keep employees connected and available at any time, anywhere. BHI’s IT team supports the communications system provided by RingCentral without extensive training - allowing them to focus on other projects.
Pharmacy2U helps almost a quarter of a million people in the UK manage their repeat NHS prescriptions. Customers can contact them via phone, email, or chat. Since partnering with cloud communications provider RingCentral, Pharmacy2U has increased its ability to deliver a unified communications experience and offer a higher level of customer service, whilst driving efficiencies.
Harmony Health Cover was founded in 2016. The success of its personalised service model resulted in fast business growth. This placed stress on the company’s infrastructure, especially the phone system, in a company operating in a tight regulatory market where cybersecurity is a priority. RingCentral provided Harmony with a system that could address all security demands and integrate with its CRM. Transitioning to remote working was made easy by migrating to RingCentral’s cloud solution.
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Digital tools and automation are changing the face of pharmaceutical and healthcare services in countless ways. Here are a few significant trends to look out for.
Healthcare big data involves collecting, analysing, and using consumer, patient, physical, and clinical health data. Big data can reduce medication errors, facilitate primary preventative care, and provide the basis for more accurate staffing.
Medical virtual reality (VR) is relatively new, but there are many examples of its positive success. From helping to train healthcare professionals to help patients relax, as well as speeding up recovery.
AI uses algorithms to perform many tasks typically carried out by humans in less time and at a fraction of the cost. Chatbots can complete appointment scheduling or aid bill payers. CAD systems can help diagnose and interpret images, while AI can help assess clinical documentation integrity.
Blockchain can improve the accuracy of medical records and introduce cost savings and safeguard electronic health records.
Mobility and cloud help increase accessibility for patients and doctors, reducing the reliance on paper charts and files. Hospitals and practices can store records securely in the cloud so patients can access their test results 24/7.
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