Rising pharmaceutical cost, poorly integrated doctor and patient interactions, defects in medical delivery system and patient data safety are some of the main concerns for the healthcare industry in the USA. All of these drawbacks can be rectified to a great extent with the help of digitization. Digital transformation helps with the automation of routine processes and with data conversion companies, healthcare organizations can digitize any healthcare records like patient data, medical reports and other details etc. This allows healthcare organizations to handle any patient information well, keep all the records organized, sort out the data based on priority and ensure the quality of the data. Digitization of data can also be used for predictive analytics or artificial intelligence to derive valuable insights, improve productivity, improve predictions, outcomes, accuracy, and optimization.
Apart from digital transformation, there are some other digital interventions that have transformed the healthcare industry. The following are some of the trends expected in the health industry for the year 2021.
- EHR with new capabilities: The US Department of Health and Human Services’ finalization of its interoperability rules to innovations spurred by the need for record sharing during the pandemic, has led to advancements in EHR interoperability. With Google’s new healthcare interoperability readiness program to help healthcare organizations navigate and prepare for the new changes, a reputable EHR vendor stated that there was a sharp rise in the number of patient records transferred between healthcare providers utilizing its Care Everywhere interoperability platform. Over 221 million patient records were shared in the month of November, which was a forty percent increase year over year. Therefore, more hospitals and healthcare systems are switching to cloud platforms and tying up with big tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google to store their EHRs and information systems to get real time data insights.
Another advancement in EHR is the incorporation of virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa. With tech development focusing on natural language processing and listening capabilities, popular EHR vendors have signed deals to integrate Nuance’s virtual assistance in the software.
- Need for big data management: The outbreak of COVID 19 virus led to centralized and efficient data management. The process of data gathering and reporting efforts were sped up during the pandemic and even small organizations switched to secure storing and coordination of data. So, healthcare organizations are investing in cloud-based research platforms along with high performance computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning is the key to EHR and this helps to improve patient care.
- Increasing demand for predictive analytics: In 2020, there was a rising need for digital transformation and accelerated digital transformation means health systems have better technical capabilities to practice precision medicine. With predictive analytics, hospitals can proactively manage patient care. With massive amounts of healthcare data, predictive analytics can be used to make predictions. A patient’s past medical history, demographic information and behaviors can be used in conjunction with healthcare professionals’ expertise and experience to predict the future.
- Rising use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Healthcare organizations are increasingly using artificial intelligence and machine learning in hospital administration and operations. AI was already used in healthcare organizations to read medical images, yielding mixed results and leaving some wondering whether AI and machine learning would live up to the hype. However with the pandemic, AI was greatly used in developing predictive models for COVID. According to Eric Yablanka, CIO and associate dean of technology and digital solutions at Stanford Health Care and School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, “This will challenge traditional healthcare organizations to compete with emerging retail and virtual providers in ways we have not experienced before. It will also enable healthcare delivery science and bring data scientists to the forefront of improving patient care outcomes."
- Improved cyber security: With every year, hackers are amping up their efforts to steal vital patient information and sell it on the dark web. In 2020, especially during the second half of the year, ransomware attacks forced the IT systems to shut down and it also slowed down the operations in hospitals. So, to avoid data breaches, organizations are taking vital measures like cutting off external emails and increasing screening of incoming emails. Similarly, investment in secure data storage is also important to prevent misuse or loss of healthcare data. So, an IT team with good cyber hygiene is essential to prevent any cyberattacks. So there will be increased spending on cyber security in healthcare industry in 2021.
- Digital engagement: To ensure immediate access to patient care, many hospitals are offering virtual emergency rooms. Location agnostic emergency rooms have been created, especially for children. This was developed to ease the troubles and ensure that the children are well taken care of. Similarly, antenatal sessions are offered for pregnant women. Sessions are conducted with experts for nutrition, lactation, labor, and tips for a healthy pregnancy. 24/7 consultation ensures that all patients have access to medical care whenever required.
- Remote patient care and telehealth: With the outbreak of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services relaxed the regulation of telehealth to provide better service to the patient. So, hospitals and healthcare systems are looking for new ways to incorporate virtual case as a part of their long-term strategy. They are also focusing on remote managed care for patients with chronic conditions. All of these developments have paved the way for a hybrid care model, a combination of both telehealth and in-person visits for follow-ups and urgent care, and these developments are expected to replace in-person visits.
As healthcare businesses grow, keeping up with digital transformation is essential to provide better care and services to the patients. Letting go of the outdated healthcare processes and adopting new digital technologies ensure better healthcare outcomes and treatment facilities. So, to adopt new digital technologies, it is important to maintain all important data in its digital format. So, associate with a professional document conversion company to convert all medical data into its digital format.