Improvements in internet technology and the prevalence of smartphones have increased the viability of digital medical care. Healthcare systems, clinics, and providers are investing in software, hardware, and systems that enable patients to access healthcare services online. The digital healthcare market is poised to grow to more than $430 billion within the next six years.
Digital health services include several types of technologies, including:
Each of these innovations have greatly improved access to medical care for patients in underserved areas. The potential to increase access to preventative healthcare might be the most important aspect of digital transformation. Patients can live longer and healthier lives thanks to digitalized healthcare.
Digital services enable patients and service users to take greater control over their healthcare through health monitoring apps and wearables. Digitalized healthcare tools also make early intervention protocols more feasible and effective.
Medical providers in the process of digital transformation should consider implementing the following services:
Electronic health records, or EHRs are digitized versions of traditional patient records. HIPAA-secured patient portals allow patients to access their records from any smart device.
While most of the information in an EHR is filled by a medical professional, patients can also add important data, such as health monitoring statistics and lifestyle habits. EHRs can improve patient experience and outcomes by giving patients immediate access to health information, such as test results. In some cases, caregivers can also access the patient’s EHR which results in an increase in medicine adherence and follow-up appointment attendance.
Health care systems that incorporate EHRs into their websites also streamline the transfer of patient data between specialists and other medical providers. This reduces the risk of medical error due to missing or incomplete health data.
During the COVID pandemic, telehealth use skyrocketed. While social distancing regulations have eased, patients continue to use telehealth due to its convenience.
As more health care practices adopt virtual solutions, telehealth treatment options are growing. Today, patients can receive diagnostic and restorative care through telehealth appointments.
Telehealth can serve as the primary medium for care, such as in the case of mental health counseling and patient monitoring. In specific cases, health providers can prescribe medications through virtual consultations. In other situations, telehealth is a supplement to ongoing in person care.
Telehealth goes beyond video consultations. Asynchronous messaging platforms are also an effective way to support patients between in-person visits. These messaging services allow patients to communicate privately with their physician or medical specialist.
Secure messaging fills a notable gap in healthcare. Patients can send information and receive medical support in a timely and cost-effective manner. Medical practitioners can also use secure messaging services to collaborate with other physicians.
Since most patients have access to smartphones, app-based messaging services also improve continuity of care by reducing communication barriers.
Patient portals can also streamline payment methods and insurance processes. Medical practices benefit from faster payments and fewer defaults. Physicians interested in incorporating a payment processor on their website or patient portal can click here to learn about their options.
Online payment portals also give patients transparency on their medical costs and allow them to track the status of their insurance claims. This gives patients time to challenge the insurer’s decision. It also reduces the chance of missing a bill and having their account go into collections.
60% of Americans have at least one chronic illness. This has increased demand in all areas of healthcare, from emergency treatment to primary care.
Health care systems can leverage virtual tools to provide ongoing patient care without significantly increasing physician workloads.
Chronic disease management tools use internet-based technology such as wearable devices and EHRs to securely transmit patient data. Monitoring devices can measure vitals like heart rate, glucose levels, and sleep quality and upload these statistics directly to the patient portal.
Many devices have built in alert systems that can notify patients, caregivers, and medical providers to any unhealthy changes to the patient’s vitals.
Despite the myriad of benefits of digitized health care, there are some areas of concern. Patients need education in order to understand and access digital services. Further, health care systems are responsible for keeping large volumes of patient data secure. While this can lead to higher cost for IT maintenance, this extra expense can be offset by higher patient revenues and increased provider productivity.