In the post-pandemic world, the healthcare industry finds itself at a crossroads. The first option is to maintain conventions and traditions which is a stable way but, we have all witnessed the consequences as an overwhelming majority of healthcare institutions struggled to provide services effectively to their patients. The alternative is to go for digitalization and leverage technology, innovation, and big data so healthcare providers become proactive instead of reactive. Diana Kocheva, Head of Digitalization Services at Intellectsoft, shares the key technology trends of the evolving healthcare industry that companies should implement now in order to succeed in the competitive market.
Reimagined Focus on Digital Patient-Doctor Relationships
The healthcare industry has always focused on delivering digital solutions that ensure user-friendliness and convenience for the patients. The experience of healthcare professionals such as clinicians, physicians, and other staff hasn’t been the center of attention. However, that’s now going to change as 9 out of 10 healthcare provider executives, sciences executives, and health plan executives said that enhancing the clinician experience has become a major priority for their organization.
Smart planning and deployment of digital technology can solve many challenges and issues faced by healthcare professionals daily. This will not only result in efficiency but satisfaction of all the stakeholders including physicians and patients.
The problem became more urgent as the pandemic has restricted physical interactions between patients and medical workers, making it hard, yet still extremely important to provide services and treat their patients. Some got creative by offering services over the phone, but others turned to technology solutions to adopt new digital solutions.
For instance, a private medical firm reached out to Intellectsoft to develop a user-friendly and feature-rich solution that would help in virtualizing doctor-patient interactions. Partners created a mobile app that offered the capabilities of booking a time slot, setting up video calls, exchanging video messages through a built-in IM, booking prompt consultations and online appointments, and enabling payment.
This enabled the healthcare company to improve their business model efficiency, deliver a safe experience to their patients, and continue to provide the same exceptional service online as before.
Building a Robust and Responsive Supply Chain
From cost management and tax considerations of onshore manufacturing to building redundancy through network development, it has become imperative for healthcare organizations to have a more versatile and flexible supply chain in place. It is now expected that healthcare organizations will mitigate risks, forge new partnerships and collaborations, build multiple supply chain routes, and source through different regions. This will put them in a better position to deal with the roadblocks caused by closed borders.
Enhanced Precision in Healthcare Forecasting
One of the major challenges faced by the healthcare industry during 2020 was a lack of preparation and readiness to deal with a global pandemic. The absence of a robust forecasting system meant that healthcare institutions, as well as professionals, had no choice but to rely on ad-hoc measures and initiatives which didn’t only fall short but led to poor experiences for patients.
According to a survey carried out by PWC, 74% of health executives spoke about their intent to increase investment in predictive modeling. The ability to forecast can be as crucial to healthcare as using a mask to negate the spread of the virus in 2021. Reviewing historical data and behavior no longer yields accurate results which means healthcare stakeholders need to design, develop, and implement predictive modeling to determine their future needs.
Predictive solutions in patient care come in all shapes: they can be used to detect warning signs of serious illnesses, generate holistic treatment plans, or even forecast the outcome of the treatment. A prominent example of such a solution is a dental app, created by Intellectsoft together with a Medtech partner, that redefines the orthodontic experience for both the healthcare professionals and the patients. It is a well-known fact that orthodontic services aren’t exactly affordable and can cost quite a lot in the long run. What’s even worse for the patient is that they have no idea how long the treatment will last or how their smile will eventually turn out to be.
Intellectsoft’s team developed an app that uses photos of the patient’s oral cavity and gives the doctor the ability to choose from a wide range of tools to offer the best treatment. More importantly, the app enables healthcare professionals to forecast and simulate how each treatment would work and what results could be expected. It enabled doctors to conduct more accurate diagnostics and allowed the patients to see the results that they can expect in a few months to even a few years.
Healthcare Optimization as Telemedicine Surges
As the pandemic wreaked havoc around the globe, it led to mixed experiences for patients as doctors, nurses, therapists, clinics, and other healthcare providers resorted to virtual consultation with varying degrees of success. A multitude of mobile platforms were used to conduct these virtual visits including specific apps, WhatsApp, Zoom, and more.
However, the healthcare industry needs to figure out the situations where virtual consultation makes more sense than a face-to-face meetup. Moreover, specific purpose-built tools need to be created to ensure the delivery of high-quality experiences to both the patients and healthcare providers. These solutions must take into account not just the convenience, but also address any privacy concerns, as the patients need to be sure that their conversations with the doctors, which often include photos and videos, are safely transmitted and stored.
Diversification of Health Portfolios for Sustainable Growth
While the pandemic gave growth opportunities to many businesses operating in the healthcare industry, it also forced some healthcare institutions and companies to partner for survival. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic has made it quite clear that healthcare organizations need to evolve and diversify their business portfolio as much as possible. Only then they will be able to find themselves in a commanding position when the next uncertain emergency occurs.
During the pandemic, the healthcare service providers demonstrated some inspirational initiatives in terms of product and service innovation. For instance, Zipline, a US-based medical supplier, relied on drones to distribute their products across the country.
Clinical Trials Have Evolved for Good
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone including patients and clinical trial coordinators to stay home, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies attempted to figure out if and to what extent can be accomplished remotely. They found out that a lot can be done from the comfort of their homes and these companies are now deploying initiatives to conduct trials with limited face-to-face interactions.
It is quite evident that the pandemic has pushed the healthcare industry towards digitalization and innovation. Many innovative healthcare companies have strategized and deployed forward-thinking initiatives and their financial reports are a reflection of their success. As we move past the uncertainties and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, only those companies that are not afraid to innovate will be the ones to achieve exceptional success leaving their competition behind.