The digital transformation of the health sector accelerated in 2020 and will continue in 2021.
Needless to say…
Telehealth will allow better access to care.
Deploying AI-powered solutions will improve the experience for patients and caregivers.
The increased integration of systems for better information flow will translate into health benefits and financial gains.
The strong demands related to the global health crisis of 2020 have accelerated the digital transformation of clinical workflows and the conditions of delivery of care.
If we come out of the pandemic in 2021, we will still have to work to alleviate the burnout of caregivers, develop the digitalization of the health sector and strengthen the financial resilience of institutions.
Let’s first talk a little bit about Telehealth:
The definition of telehealth
Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to deliver clinical health care and deliver health education to patients and professionals.
A patient consultation with the telehealth service includes real-time audio and video communication with a “remote site”, where a physician or other licensed clinician is located, as well as a “site for health care”, where the patient is located.
Physicians can also collaborate using telehealth technologies…
Benefits of using telehealth services
Telehealth has advantages for general patient care:
- Provide better access to specialized care without having to travel long distances in order to save time, improve efficiency and reduce absences from work or school
- Facilitate physician collaboration and informed decision making regarding patient care and care coordination
- Increase patient satisfaction by improving access to care services
- Most patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children are eligible for telehealth consultations.
That’s being said..
The lessons learned from 2020 will also translate into three main health trends that will have an impact on driving transformation in the years to come.
Let’s now dive into the new telehealth trends in 2021…
Trend 1: The generalization of telehealth services
COVID-19 has had a leverage effect on telehealth practices which have literally exploded.
These will continue and become more widespread to facilitate access to care. 2020 has enabled greater acceptance of telehealth by patients, caregivers, health systems, and insurers.
Now, the focus will have to be on improving the digital patient experience and the level of caregiver satisfaction.
For example, how does a virtual waiting room work? How do patients interact with nurses and communicate their medical history? And how can caregivers view patient charts, take notes, and interact with distant patients?
To answer these questions, greater systems integration and better information sharing between healthcare networks and health insurers are needed to improve the experience of patients and caregivers.
Trend 2: Consumerization of healthcare will intensify and become widespread, with multiple repercussions
Healthcare establishments will have to clearly define their “brand” and communicate by highlighting the competitiveness of their services in an increasingly consumer-oriented market.
This involves ensuring that patients have positive experiences, whether face-to-face or virtual.
The patient experience encompasses communication with healthcare teams, scheduling appointments, and obtaining prescriptions..
… also accessibility to care by populations at risk and certain categories of patients.
New and effective tools
Healthcare systems will also have to develop AI tools for use by patients, such as chatbots and virtual assistants.
These solutions should improve patient engagement, especially for preventive care and follow-up, so that no one gets off the radar.
This implies informing patients, as in the case of COVID-19, and allowing the effective sharing of medical information between care providers regardless of the patient’s problem.
Healthcare systems will have two priorities when it comes to deploying the digital solutions that patients use.
- Adapted solutions:
This consists of selecting solutions adapted to the needs of the population, and which promote accessibility and engagement without creating unnecessary obstacles.
For example, some patients do not always have reliable or affordable access to a PC, a smartphone, or an Internet connection.
- New data security and privacy terms
This relates to growing concerns about data security and privacy.
Healthcare systems will need to establish and communicate easy-to-implement rules and procedures to protect patient data and online access.
From an administrative point of view, financial resilience will be a priority, both for the financing of caregivers and the reimbursement of patients.
It will therefore be necessary to better integrate clinical and administrative systems to facilitate the exchange of information between caregivers, hospitals, and health insurance companies.
Trend 3: Increased availability and use of AI-powered diagnostic support solutions
COVID-19 has created an urgent need for access to information, in order to better diagnose, treat and implement clinical protocols.
This has resulted in an unprecedented sharing of medical knowledge.
This trend should be confirmed in all clinical disciplines that wish to improve their access to clinical intelligence.
IT providers will market AI-powered analytical tools to enhance the clinical and research data available on a daily basis.
We will also see the adoption of clinical decision support solutions integrated into workflows and optimized by AI in real-time in health centers.
These will improve the quality and profitability of care, resulting in greater satisfaction for patients and caregivers, the latter having fewer administrative tasks to assume.
In the near future, a typical visit to the doctor will likely start on the patient’s connected device.
The latter will have already followed changes in diet, medication, glucose, and other daily medical parameters.
It is a particularly exciting time for medicine, which sees the birth of new solutions designed to change our interaction with doctors and our medical consultations.
These advances are due to the expansion of AI in the medical industry, and its adaptation to the growing need for efficiency in this field.
These three trends together will greatly increase innovation in the health sector.