It is undeniable that healthcare is shifting toward the patient experience, with doctor-patient connectivity and other health-tech innovations making their way into every household. Telehealth is a straightforward tool that provides access to care services. They can include treatment research, email and text contact, and everything else that consumers need to better manage their health. According to a forecast from Gartner Inc., 25% of all U.S. health care will be delivered virtually by 2020.
CoreValue sees the following three trends as beneficial to patients and the medical community.
1. Conneсted health
Now that consumers expect more from care providers, connectivity is the industry’s main focus. Here are its benefits.
Real-time Communication: Person/provider live interaction by means of communication tools is a proven choice for consultative, diagnostic and treatment services. The “Virtual Visit” concept has been developed and used for many years, but current bandwidth and technology have reached a level where virtuality is coming very close to reality. For example, a doctor can literally touch a patient’s leg injury using virtual reality gloves. Surgeons can provide remote operations, and a nurse can see patient behavior in 3D virtual reality.
Even more astonishing is the advent of augmented reality, in which a doctor wearing an augmented reality headset can digitally render a patient’s skin transparent in order to examine blood vessels and connective tissue.
Such complex technologies just few years ago were available only to top institutions for special needs. Today, these systems are widely distributed through smartphone capabilities and wearable devices, as well as IoT-related frameworks like smart homes and smart cars. For example, some modern smartphones can perform 3D scans of objects and environments while introducing augmented reality objects and textures.
Medical content delivery: Today, it has become the norm to receive lab test results on e-mail or through a Patient Portal. E-Prescribing is integrated with pharmaceutical ordering systems. Even with the growing use of these tools, there is room for greater integration in everyday medical practice through products such as CoreValue’s smart content delivery system for mobile devices. Machine analysis can help prevent human mistakes (i.e., Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)).
Awareness: Patient education is a decisive factor in preventive care, which has an impact on the entire healthcare system. Telehealth equips clinical staff with more methods and techniques to help patients better understand and manage their medical condition and treatment. Moreover, skillfully applied telehealth solutions can motivate customers to follow a healthy lifestyle.
2. Predictive health
The essence of the modern medical ecosystem is preemptive care for more meaningful outcomes.
Data analytics: Meaningful data and analytics used together with Telehealth tools are fundamental for predictive health. Wearable devices and digital systems are integral components of predictive care that can help monitor potentially dangerous conditions and behavioral patterns. According to studies, up to 55% of telehealth patients live longer than those receiving conventional care.
Health incentives: Mobile technology and machine learning devices are a way to reduce miscommunication and hospital readmissions. Consistent follow-ups and reminders allow healthcare professionals to target care recipients more efficiently, while providing patient education and health monitoring. It is also a productive way to encourage healthy habits and prescription drug adherence through more personalized interaction with patients.
3. Security matters
Even with all its benefits, telemedicine faces certain cybersecurity and privacy risks, e.g., medical identity theft, appointment privacy, data leakage, etc. IT healthcare providers are under intense scrutiny, particularly when it comes to HIPAA compliance. HIPAA rules manage Protected Health Information, and ensure secure sharing of it via digital resources. Experience shows that telehealth systems under the right supervision are capable of delivering complex care services without compromising security.
Moreover, the underlying technology of the Bitcoin financial system has the potential to address the interoperability challenges currently present in healthcare IT systems through blockchaining. Should this become the technical standard, patients, healthcare providers, and medical researchers, among others in the industry, will have the ability to share electronic health data, i.e., EMR, etc., securely and with confidence.
Digitally enabled technology in use: An example of digitally enabled technology utilized for everyday use is an app to monitor and track patient’s health and care programs. The app can be connected through an industry standard network with wearable devices, which, for example, are able to monitor glucose level, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. All the data gathered can be analyzed through modern Data Science techniques to detect patterns recognized as dangerous events, and which should be immediately treated by a doctor or emergent care. Detection algorithms can be personalized using a neural networks approach.
Applications can also contain a robust prescription drug intake tracking system, that can send direct notifications to a healthcare provider with the electronic ability to quickly adjust the dosage or prescribe a new medication. They can also facilitate remote diagnostics, such as a wizard-like self diagnostics UI for simple cases; a chatbot with the ability to identify a medical problem area and then to collect initial information for the physician; or captures and sends to the healthcare provider any video/photo/audio information. For some cases, shared media can be analyzed by the application and used for pre-diagnosis (i.e., Cardiac Arrhythmia).
Telehealth is mainstream today. Reinventing healthcare for the digital era has a huge potential to upgrade the quality of medical care and optimize expenditures at the same time. Telehealth offers answers to the fundamental questions of matching customer experience to expectations for care efficiency.
An effective telehealth implementation begins with effective partnership. CoreValue is an experienced provider of tailored, security-aligned solutions that enable interoperability, leverage data insight, and improve customer relationships for the healthcare and pharma industries.