Medicine has not only stepped far forward but has become a sphere of amazing discoveries recently. The past year has shown that innovation has firmly entered our lives. Digital transformation in healthcare affected various areas, from the organization of patients’ remote monitoring, getting a “second opinion” to the development of new medicine and improvement of the efficiency of medical institutions.
Having analyzed the digital transformation trends in healthcare, we have compiled a list of the most promising innovations that are shaping the industry worldwide.
Overview: Global Healthcare Industry Trends 2022
To clarify what’s behind today’s healthcare industry trends, we talked to Max Peters, Head of SEO at SE Asia’s leading healthcare knowledge and services ecosystem and owner at Technical SEO Consulting.
Max: The potential for health businesses online is enormous. Studies offered by NBC News, Google’s official blog, and Think With Google team, provide the following numbers relating to internet search behaviour around health:
- 80% of internet users have searched for health topics online
- 63% of users look up information about a specific medical problem
- 47% of users look up information about medical treatments
- 25% of users search for health insurance
- 21% of users search for a particular doctor or hospital
Data from Google suggests that:
- 5% of all Google searches are health-related. That’s approx. 2.8 million searches a day!
- Search drives nearly 3x as many visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search visitors.
- 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.
What Is Digital Transformation & Why Companies Take Action Now?
The development of modern communication technologies in medicine has made it possible to take ten steps forward due to new opportunities to quickly and effortlessly share knowledge and experience among doctors and scientists, accumulating all this information into gigantic knowledge bases with a convenient search engine.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has shown the need to accelerate the digital transformation in healthcare. Patients, as well as shoppers, were significantly limited in their ability to receive medical services during the lockdown. According to Statista, healthcare is in the top 3 industries that faced great advancement in digital transformation due to the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, 90% of countries have experienced disruptions in the provision of essential healthcare services, including monitoring of diabetes, hypertension, and cancer screening. Such failures threaten an increase in mortality from serious diseases, the WHO notes.
“What are the viable benefits of digital transformation in healthcare?” is the topic we talked over to Mat Rezaei, CEO at Upguys digital pharmacy. Mat shared his experience of building a medical ecommerce business.
Mat: Moving my business from a local pharmacy chain to Canada’s first digital pharmacy has shown me that even though the medical sector can never be fully transferred to e-commerce, it has its benefits. In fact, it can help thousands to get access to medical services and supplies easier and more comfortably.
What’s more, we’ve introduced:
- Real-time assistance service
- Delivering medication to doorstep
- Integrated CRM that analyzes shopping behavior and helps us keep our inventory updated based on the customer’s search pattern and lifetime sales
- Cross-selling through offering customers complimentary services
So is it worth making your medical business gain an online presence?
Business that want to be competitive selling medicine or health services really need to have an online presence these days.
Many European countries, including Estonia and Finland, as well as Israel, Japan, and Singapore use a unified system of electronic medical records (EMR). Finns, for example, have 100% real-time access to their EHR. Electronic medical records record the history of electronic prescriptions and allow tracking, among other things, the availability and sale of medicines.
MedTech startups attracted investors from various fields, including banks, IT giants, and retailers before the pandemic. However, now investing in medicine has become even more relevant. New tasks and needs have appeared: to organize remote monitoring of patients, get a “second opinion” from a doctor, develop drugs, to increase the efficiency of medical institutions.
In our material, we have collected current trends together with the best examples of digital transformation in healthcare.
Telemedicine Software: How Does Telemedicine Work?
Telemedicine is one of the fastest developing healthcare industry trends worldwide. It is based on the provision of consultations, diagnostics, prevention and treatment with the help of computer and telecommunication technologies. In other words, it is medicine “at a distance”.
Telemedicine companies create particular software allowing doctors and patients to communicate in real-time. Sessions can be held anywhere. The patient and the specialist call up using specialized video conferencing systems. At the same time, they can not only see and hear each other but also exchange text and graphic data. For example, a patient can see his x-ray.
Remote monitoring of the patient’s condition is the second most popular type of telemedicine. Often, it is necessary to monitor older people who are unable to walk to the nearest clinic or who cannot take care of themselves. The service also reminds you to take your medications.
Although being one of the most popular healthcare technology trends, telemedicine is not a completely new idea. It was the coronavirus that gave a powerful impetus to its development. People who were in a period of acute quarantine and self-isolation at home needed timely and effective medical care. And if in 2016 only 11.2% of US doctors worked in areas where telemedicine was used, then two months after the coronavirus, only 9% of medical workers in the USA worked in areas that did not use telemedicine.
The benefits of telemedicine technologies can be noted in almost any medical field, including:
- Paediatrics (there is no more need to book a personal appointment with a doctor for a sick child);
- Psychotherapy (psychotherapists conduct online sessions);
- Dermatology (thanks to high-quality images, dermatologists can examine a patient suffering from psoriasis, eczema, bedsores, etc.);
- Neurology (using remote monitoring, blood pressure readings are redirected to a specialist) or resuscitation (in a situation where a person can no longer be transported to another clinic, an urgent video call to a more competent specialist can save the patient’s life).
NEKLO experts have always been able to stay ahead of the industry trends. Thus, we were among the software development companies that helped to develop telemedicine applications way before the pandemic. Thus, we helped to create HubChart – a mobile app for patient engagement and collaboration. It provides an opportunity to hold individual and group medical consultations through an online chat and audio or video calls.
Learn more about this telemedicine tool in our portfolio.
What Is Big Data In Healthcare?
Big data in medicine is the basis for a revolution in the field. Big data analytics in healthcare is also a basis for telemedicine development. In the long term, this technology can change the very paradigm of the system: help move from paternalistic medicine (where the patient fully relies on the attending physician) to the patient.
Today, we have many tools for big data analysis that were not available before. Patients can now collect all the information about their health, lifestyle and habits, and AI will build hypotheses and propose algorithms for examination, treatment, and recommend doctors and clinics.
The benefits of big data in healthcare include:
- Quick provision of medical care to patients;
- Maintaining patients’ health;
- Saving medical costs;
- Introducing innovative developments;
- Applying more personalized approaches to treatment, etc.
The work of doctors is also improving and accelerating with the use of big data in healthcare. The leading clinics today use big data about patients not only in their marketing strategy: IT platforms help to effectively manage the activities of medical personnel, finding all possible deviations, for example, in the consumption of medical devices or drugs.
Why Web Applications & Mobile Health Apps Are Among the Leading Healthcare Trends?
What has changed in the past few years in mHealth and what can we expect in 2022? Among the most frequent patients’ requests is a high level of healthcare quality, an individual approach, free access to medical information, as well as the ability to independently monitor and control their health.
But not only the expectations of patients have changed – their thinking has changed. A new type of patient needs more than just product information, they seek help in their quest to take care of their health.
Many of these wishes can be fulfilled using mobile and web applications. Their popularity is connected not only to ease of use. Mobile healthcare applications are unlikely to replace doctors, they will only help improve the healthcare system for patients. The rapid development of technology often exceeds user expectations and increases their engagement. Within the interaction between doctors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies, certain requirements have already taken root, and there are quite high requirements for such a relatively new channel as mobile applications.
Pharmaceutical companies can solve the following key tasks with the help of healthcare mobile apps:
- Improving the efficiency and optimization of the work of medical representatives, doctors and pharmacists;
- Comfortable, fast and simple interaction between doctors and patients;
- Increasing the involvement of the target audience due to relevant and timely information (which significantly speeds up the decision-making on the appointment of therapy);
- Regular training of pharmacists and doctors, information about new research or changes in legislation;
- Minimization of medical errors;
- Reducing paperwork.
With the help of mobile applications, you can automate many business processes within the company: it is easy to track the performance of medical representatives, increase control over the quality of work “in the fields”, and collect accurate real-time analytics (especially relevant when working remotely).
Thanks to medical mobile applications, pharmaceutical representatives can build the most optimal travel routes, create visit reports, and task lists, share files, and much more.
Why Online Pharmacy Tech Is Among The Hot Topics In Healthcare?
The U.S. online pharmacy market will grow by about 20% annually. By 2026, the epharmacy market volume will reach $146 billion, writes PRNewswire, citing a report from research company Arizton Advisory and Intelligence.
The dynamics of online pharmacies’ growth were positively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent shortages of medicines, many patients buy them in advance, especially for flu medicines. In addition, during the pandemic, patients preferred holding teleconsultations with doctors, as well as getting electronic prescriptions, which also increased demand in online pharmacies.
Mobile app pharmacies are dominating the market. Many major pharmacy chains and independent retailers have been creating their online channels and home delivery strategies to attract tech-savvy customers to the market and try to get into the health care trends. But independent online pharmacies are still showing faster growth.
Experts note that online pharmacies have recently shifted their attention towards the direct-to-consumer (DTC) model. This principle involves the direct work of companies with buyers without the participation of any intermediaries.
The DTC model involves the following steps:
- Potential patients find drugs through social media platforms;
- They leave their personal information there;
- Book an appointment with a doctor to discuss their medical history;
- The drugs are delivered to their homes.
This streamlined process saves a lot of time and eliminates the unnecessary steps involved in buying drugs. And online pharmacies play an important role in this process by partnering with companies to distribute their products.
What Is a Health Information System?
A healthcare information system (HIS) is an extensive information network that, using computer technology, covers and interconnects all components of the healthcare sector at the scale of a healthcare institution, a small region, or even the whole country.
The development of healthcare information systems usually has two global goals:
- Automate routine processes, for example, obtaining a document of the established form, including sick leave or a health certificate;
- Optimize business processes within a company to rise to a new development level — increase profits, improve the quality of services, and enter additional markets. From this point of view, medicine is one of the very promising areas for digital transformation.
Depending on the architecture, the nature of interaction with data and the area of tasks to be solved, the following types of information systems are distinguished:
- Desktop — all components are located on one device;
- Distributed — systems distributed across multiple devices;
- File-server and client-server – in the first case, the database is located on the server, while the database management systems (DBMS) and applications are located on the user’s device. In the second case, both the database and the DBMS are hosted on the server;
- Automated — operation of the IS requires the participation of personnel;
- Automatic — work independently or with minimal involvement of personnel;
- Decisive – designed to process and analyze information;
- Personal — designed for a single user;
- Group — designed for multi-users;
- Corporate — designed for multi-users within one enterprise.
A HIS system is one of many types of information systems that ensure the functioning of a certain area. Modern examples of health information systems automate the entire process of clinic management, improve maintaining of medical and patient records, and also simplify interaction with government authorities, insurance and social services.
Conclusion: Benefits of Digital Transformation In Healthcare
Digital transformation in the healthcare industry simplifies and optimizes the management of medical organizations, reduces unnecessary paperwork and financial resources, helps to form personnel, manage finances, and material resources. The digitalization of the medical industry contributes to the development of telemedicine in various countries and the massive introduction of remote consultations.
NEKLO is ready to help any business willing to update and innovate its processes. Our clients are happy with the services and solutions we deliver. They provide us with positive feedback. In case you wish to digitize your business activity, contact us through the form on our website, and our specialists will tailor a digital transformation strategy right for you.