In early 2020, the healthcare industry was abruptly thrown into a demand for digital innovation when COVID-19 hit the UK. Forcing the sector into new rules and regulations.
Both the NHS and private hospitals quickly adapted with advanced technologies that would otherwise have taken many years to implement. In this short period of time, we saw a rapid roll-out of remote working platforms, electronic patient record configurations, virtual consultations and more. With this huge uptake in utilising the latest innovations of 2020, where does the future take us with the next big technologies to improve the healthcare industry?
Artificial Intelligence Whilst already a major topic of discussion prior to the pandemic, the possibilities of artificial intelligence are vaster than ever. AI engines can reduce and mitigate the risk of preventable medical scenarios through algorithms, automation and smart predictions. The use of artificial intelligence within the healthcare industry is expected to see substantial growth through 2021. With new enhancements already starting to shape the way hospitals operate.
This technology can be used across a huge range of healthcare procedures. It was only recently announced that scientists have created an AI tool to detect Alzheimer’s through speech. NVIDIA also recently shared that it’s building an impressive AI Supercomputer. The data will be used to aid drug discovery and healthcare research in the UK.
The events of last year have fuelled AI technologies in healthcare and there’s no doubt we’ll continue to see huge changes in the industry. However, regardless of technological advancement, the take up of future solutions will depend on the trust that can be placed in them. A hurdle that AI still faces.
Telehealth Solutions the confines of hospital walls no longer restrict check-ups and appointments. Telehealth solutions have paved the way this year and it only looks set to grow in capabilities. In a report from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), it showed that face-to-face GP consultations in the UK dropped from over 70% before the coronavirus outbreak, to just 23% in a matter of weeks. This huge drop correlates with the adoption of virtual consultation software by many health organisations; their bid to reduce the impact of the new restrictions. The benefits of virtual patient consultations and video-based care delivery are clear. It allows healthcare professionals to monitor & treat high-risk patients more easily.
Furthermore, it creates increasingly convenient access for patients and streamlines processes with a focus on care instead of administrative tasks. By integrating effective video conferencing software, such as Microsoft Teams, with an existing healthcare management solution, hospitals can drastically improve operational facilities. The ability to log and run virtual appointments from a single database significantly reduces time spent manually rekeying data.
The future of telehealth solutions looks likely to see wider adoption across hospitals following the success we’ve already seen. Of course, it still has some limitations. It’s unlikely patients have all the required equipment at home to provide vitals in real-time. But for most medical queries, a virtual appointment offers far greater efficiency to both parties. Improved Interoperability many healthcare organisations strive towards better interoperability between hospital and patient as well as between care providers. Technology has aided this with improved integration capabilities to enable safer transitions of care, which leads to better patient outcomes overall.
For hospitals looking at the next big technologies, it’s key to find a software solution that can grow as they do. Many are using 2020 as the peak time for digital transformation, ensuring they have the right digital infrastructure. Hospital Information systems, such as Compucare, provide secure integration with a number of specialist third party healthcare systems. Including radiology, pathology and document imaging. Which can ultimately lead to more accurate and timely diagnoses and prescription of care.
Ultimately, innovative healthcare companies that succeed in creating safe and compliant integrations between their systems will be in a better position to provide advanced care. Aligning Healthcare Realities with the Next Big Technology It’s clear that adopting these digital health tools will be the next step in future-proofing our healthcare industry. Of course, this all comes with the requirement that staff has the skills to meet the needs of the ‘digital revolution’.
Essential IT skills and training in digital software is something that hospitals must consider as equally important to the implementation. Without knowledge in using the latest gadgets or online solutions, growth opportunities are missed, and money wasted. In conclusion, to fully benefit from this exciting future, the key to successful digital transformation is aligning the great potential of these technologies with the realities of the healthcare industry.