Digital transformation has revolutionised many different industries, and healthcare is no different. Evolution of technologies offers the potential to improve patients’ healthcare experience in many ways including:
- Lowering the cost of care
- Promoting patient independence
- Minimising avoidable service use
- Bettering health outcomes
But how does digital better patients’ health outcomes? The answer lies in using technology to develop an optimised care pathway – one that extends across the whole healthcare ecosystem to provide a continuum of care. This means connecting patients to improve their care experience, connecting healthcare professionals to ensure they have necessary access to patient data, and connecting healthcare facilities together to harness the power of shared information and discussion.
Which digital technologies can optimise the care pathway?
The 2019 Future Health Index (FHI) report commissioned by Phillips has highlighted how technology is currently being adopted, emphasising 3 key solutions:
Use of digital health records (DHRs)
A few years ago, NHS England committed to making patients’ records ‘largely paperless’ by 2020. This shift towards DHRs came from the need to make information available instantly and securely to authorised users. DHRs can:
- Contain a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunisation dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
- Allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care
- Automate and streamline HCPs workflow
Data from the 2019 FHI report revealed healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients’ thoughts about DHRs:
In 2018, the number of telemedicine patients rose to 7 million.2 61% of HCPs surveyed in the 2019 FHI report are currently using telehealth in their practice. Telehealth is enabling patients globally to access quality healthcare and engage with their health data, empowering them to interact with their healthcare professional. Currently, telehealth adoption is higher among healthcare professionals in countries with low physician density, where there is a stronger demand for alternative solutions.
A key area for improvement in the future is sharing data from telehealth applications. According to the 2019 FHI report, just 36% of the general population who use digital health technology or mobile health apps to track indicators, regularly share this data with their healthcare professionals. Connecting HCPs with this information will allow for a better care experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The use of AI in other industries has been very successful in automating processes and reducing costs, with a 2018 Ipsos study showing that two-thirds of employees reported that AI-powered tools had a positive impact on their efficiency.
The FHI report also showed HCPs are comfortable with using AI in their practice for:
- Actioning treatment plans (45%)
- Diagnosis (47%)
- Recommending treatment plans (47%)
- Flagging anomalies (59%)
- Patient monitoring (63%)
- Staffing and patient scheduling (64%)
The 2019 FHI report shows that HCPs that have embraced the use of digital are enjoying a positive impact on their own experience, as well as that of their patients. Data sharing is strengthening HCP’s relationships with patients and focusing conversations, aiding them to provide a continuum of care. It is documented that individuals who track and share their health data with their HCP are more likely to perceive the quality of care available to them positively. However, obstacles remain in enabling connectivity between all parties and the challenge, now, is to encourage more wide-spread adoption of digital solutions and increased sharing of data.
Learn how you can use medCrowd to connect with other HCPs and enable discussion.
1. 2019 Future Health Index (FHI) report.[Accessed August 2019] https://images.philips.com/is/content/PhilipsConsumer/Campaigns/CA20162504PhilipsNewscenter/PhilipsFutureHealthIndex2019reporttransforminghealthcareexperiences.pdf