Digitalization and digitization in healthcare are undoubtedly buzzwords in recent years. But why are they so trendy? There are a few simple reasons: digitalization offers a true opportunity for healthcare providers to improve patient care, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
The growing number of patients, combined with the aging population, requires an increase in medical services. At the same time, the healthcare industry faces financial difficulties due to rising costs and a shortage of qualified staff. The only way to cope with these problems is through technology – if we want to benefit from high-quality care at a reasonable price.
Digital tools can be used in many areas of medicine: from diagnostics and treatment planning to patient education and communication with specialists in other countries.
Digitalization is already revolutionizing healthcare
Digital health makes it easier for doctors, nurses, and other professionals to communicate with each other about their patients’ care plans. This helps them provide better care for their patients by sharing information quickly and easily without having to rely on paper charts or post-its.
Numerous companies develop medical technology (implants, pacemakers, etc.) that have been making amazing progress toward improved patient safety across medical departments.
Reducing costs through automation
By digitizing medical records, hospitals can reduce costs associated with storing paper files and managing patient data manually. This also makes it easier for providers to access information quickly when they need it most so they can provide better care while staying within budget constraints set by insurance companies or government agencies.
Again, here there’s a lot of value in companies such as Origami Risk, providing much-needed software for the healthcare industry – they allow institutions to aggregate and mine data across multiple departments and locations in a single system. Medical organizations just cannot do that with multiple tools or systems managing their data.
Improving accessibility of information and services: Better patient engagement & satisfaction
Healthcare systems need to engage with patients in order to improve outcomes and reduce costs. But it’s difficult to do so when many patients don’t have access to their medical records or can’t remember their appointments or follow-up care instructions.
With digital solutions like electronic medical records (EMRs) and telemedicine, health systems can now connect with patients in real time and help them take better control of their health care — which leads to better outcomes at lower costs.
A great example here is SkyFlow – this company’s software allows institutions to build and manage the data sharing flows they need, within their organization and with third parties — a cost-effective data privacy vault designed for healthcare use cases. They make it safe, quick, and easy to respond to patients’ personal information requests.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) & Blockchain technology
Electronic health records (EHRs) have been around for years, but their adoption has always been low due to their complex nature and lack of interoperability.
Blockchain technology helps solve both of these problems by providing a decentralized ledger that allows patients to control their own data. What’s more, since blockchain technology is immutable and transparent, it makes sense to combine it with EHRs as they can both benefit from each other’s strengths: blockchain protects privacy while EHRs provide a centralized repository of patient information.
Blockchain could be used as an immutable record of all transactions between parties involved in our personal health care—from doctors and nurses down to hospitals and insurance companies. That way we always know who has what information about us and how it might affect our ability to get care at any given time.
Medicalchain is a leading example of a company working with healthcare providers to implement blockchain-enabled EMRs.
They enable patients to see every time their medical records are updated and to give explicit consent every time they are shared with healthcare providers or others. Patients can also choose to share their medical records (or part of their medical records) with researchers and set time limits on how long any third party can have access to their medical information.
Medical insurers can receive immediate, validated confirmation of healthcare services directly from patients, without the time and cost of an intermediary.
Easier storage and retrieval for providers
Digitization in healthcare is making it easier for doctors and medical professionals to share information with one another and improve patient care.
Patient records can now be shared across multiple providers, making it easier for caregivers to coordinate care and provide better treatment options for patients. This can happen in real time, or through electronic medical records (EMRs).
Remote monitoring tools help doctors monitor their patients’ vitals — heart rate, blood pressure, temperature — remotely from their offices or homes. This allows healthcare providers to take into account changes that might occur outside of traditional office hours and make adjustments as needed before they see the patient again in person.
A great example here is StethoMe‘s Intelligent stethoscope for parents – StethoMe detects abnormal sounds in the respiratory system. StethoMe® allows parents to auscultate their child at home, just like an experienced physician in a practice, and immediately know the result – and have it ready for their doctors’ appointment or phone consultation.
Telemedicine allows doctors who aren’t physically present at a patient’s location — such as those providing remote monitoring services — to deliver care without ever leaving the medical facilities.
Look at PlushCare – you can book video appointments online or via its app. You can book ahead for when it’s convenient or find a same-day appointment if you need one. The company says it offers treatments “from head to toe.” PlushCare can also refill many common prescriptions and send them to your local pharmacy, although that list does not include controlled substances.
PlushCare is a great example of virtual primary care and mental health treatment when you need it. You can speak to a top doctor and get personalized, high-quality healthcare from your desktop or smartphone.
The term e-prescription is used to describe the electronic transfer of prescription information from a physician to a pharmacy. The term e-prescribing is used when referring to the process by which a physician creates and sends an electronic prescription for a patient’s medication.
The e-prescription contains the patient’s name, date of birth, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as other information such as allergies, medical history, and drug interactions – eliminating paper prescriptions and reducing costs by limiting errors and duplication.
This digital document allows patients and doctors to skip long queues at pharmacies, avoid errors such as misread handwriting or illegible signatures and save time by not having to wait for prescriptions to be filled out.
RXNT is healthcare software that offers electronic solutions for healthcare practitioners and billing software for medical billers. Its integrated suite includes software for Practice Management, Electronic Health Records, and Electronic Prescribing. The cloud-based iOS and Android apps allow providers to e-prescribe, manage patient information, charge capture, schedule providers, and check in patients from virtually anywhere. The digital platform is also telehealth-friendly, allowing virtual appointments side by side with telemedicine solutions and seamless billing for services.
VR in Healthcare
The use of VR in healthcare has been on the rise for some time now. From surgical simulation to medical training, there are plenty of ways that VR can be integrated into medical practice. One area where VR is making waves is in medical education.
Virtual Reality has been used extensively in medical education since the late 1990s. It can be used to train surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals on how to perform procedures without them putting anyone at risk. This type of training allows students to perform procedures over and over again until they get it right and learn from their mistakes without injuring anyone in the process.
An example company here is MindMaze – a CE-Marked hospital-based solution for early motor rehabilitation post-stroke. MindMotionPro is an engaging and motivational virtual reality rehabilitation program that supports individual recovery goals. The company offers next-generation evidence-based, protocolized therapies designed for true restoration of motor, cognitive and cardiovascular function following neural injuries, degeneration & aging.
The need for digitalization in healthcare is growing. As the world becomes more and more connected, so does the need for information and access to that information. The healthcare industry is no different.
We’ve seen the rise of mobile health (mHealth) technologies and apps that allow consumers to track their health data while they’re on the go. However, we need more than just an app on our phones; we need seamless centralized integration between patients and providers.
According to recent research conducted by IDC Health Insights, approximately 80 percent of healthcare organizations are currently investing in digital transformation initiatives. There are many challenges that still must be addressed before these efforts can be successful.
Interoperability – or lack thereof
One of the biggest challenges in healthcare systems right now is interoperability – or lack thereof. There are many different systems used by different doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies with varying degrees of compatibility between each other. This makes it difficult for providers to collaborate with one another and share information with their patient’s best interests in mind.
Overall, the healthcare industry has been slow to digitalize. While other industries have made huge strides in digital transformation, the healthcare industry has lagged behind in terms of adoption and implementation of new technologies. This leads us to our next point –
Healthcare is a highly regulated industry with heavy government oversight
There are a lot of legacy systems in place that have been around for decades. These systems need to be replaced or updated with newer technologies to integrate them into the digital world.
The good news is that healthcare organizations around the world are finally starting to realize the benefits of digitization and implementing new technologies into their operations. Healthcare providers can use these digital platforms to improve efficiency, streamline patient care processes, increase revenue streams and even save lives by providing better patient care at lower costs than ever before possible.
Data management and analytics
The amount of data generated by healthcare systems is growing at an exponential rate, but many hospitals have found it difficult to manage their data effectively. As a result, some providers have resorted to manual processes for storing and analyzing data, which takes time and resources away from providing high-quality care.
The solution? Healthcare organizations should invest in integrated data management systems that offer flexible integration with existing legacy systems as well as real-time analytics capabilities for making better business decisions about quality improvement initiatives and patient outcomes.
Big data in Healthcare can solve this
Healthcare organizations are increasingly turning to big data analytics technology to improve their operational efficiency and gain insights into patient care.
Big data analytics gives healthcare organizations the tools they need to better understand patient behavior and make better decisions about how to allocate resources, improve quality of care, and reduce costs.
It helps doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to make better decisions about a patient’s diagnosis and treatment. Big data can also help to improve the quality of patient care by helping them to identify trends in disease outbreaks and emerging diseases.
Insufficient infrastructure & funding
In many cases, hospitals lack the resources needed to implement new technologies like EHRs and telemedicine systems. Healthcare organizations are often understaffed and underfunded, making it difficult to implement new technology solutions.
- Inefficient personnel management systems
Some medical professionals lack the skills needed to use medical IT systems effectively; others don’t feel confident using these systems because they don’t know how they work or how they can be used in practice; still, others lack technical knowledge regarding how these systems should be configured and maintained.
Digitizing patient records makes them easier to access and share, but it also creates new risks. As more health data moves online, hackers are increasingly targeting hospitals, insurers, and other organizations that hold sensitive personal information about patients and employees.
Ocean Investments & Digitization in Healthcare
An investment in healthcare digitization is an investment in the wider economy
Ocean Investments is different from other health investors because we have elevated health as а personal mission, not just a business one.
Having recently welcomed Radoy Pavlov, expert on digitalization processes in the health sector, to the OI team, we are determined to do our part in revolutionizing Bulgarian healthcare – by providing the key word throughout this article: information.
“Modern medicine is the medicine of information and the right decisions that are related to having accurate information.”
The combination of technological advances, artificial intelligence (AI), digitalization, and biology opens up new possibilities within health tech for more modern diagnostic solutions and more adaptive, personalized devices. And the focus is now shifting to prevention services, driven by digitalization and technological progress.
Our goal is for Bulgarians to be healthier. By investing in the right healthcare projects we want to help reduce the mortality statistics in our country, which are among the highest in the world. Our main focus will be on health promotion and disease prevention, using science and technology to empower and educate people to lead healthier lives.
If you have an idea in health tech that can transform the future, get in touch! We’d love to discuss a potential future partnership that will help us achieve our ultimate goal – healthier Bulgarians!