The patient experience has gained immense importance in the healthcare industry, with a wide range of advanced technologies available to meet this demand. Every step in a patient's journey, from entering a medical facility for diagnosis to receiving a prescription, can significantly impact their likelihood of returning. Digital healthcare has emerged as a new engagement platform for the industry, leveraging modern tools and services.
Digital healthcare has witnessed significant growth, particularly during the pandemic, as it became crucial to minimize direct human interactions while maintaining effective diagnostic and treatment outcomes. In the first half of 2022 alone, digital healthcare raised a substantial $10.3 billion in funding, highlighting its global prominence.
Why is digital healthcare essential?
Digital healthcare encompasses a suite of internet-based tools and services provided by medical healthcare providers. It integrates AI, automation, software, and apps to offer virtual physician visits, telemedicine, electronic health records, patient portals, wearables, clinician decision support tools, and digital billing. By leveraging these technologies, digital healthcare service providers can enhance the integration of healthcare services, improve efficiency, increase accessibility, provide a hassle-free patient experience, and reduce costs.
One of the key advantages of digital health is eliminating the need for patients to travel to medical facilities or wait in crowded waiting rooms. Additionally, digital health tools provide real-time and real-world data to physicians, enhancing the accuracy of diagnoses.While digital healthcare is rapidly advancing as a well-equipped and high-growth industry, it faces various challenges that limit its ability to serve individuals and improve their lives.
Patient engagement is a crucial factor for healthcare organizations, as actively involving users provides valuable feedback and utilization data to understand market requirements. However, many services, firms, and facilities struggle to establish an interactive relationship with users. Factors such as poor service quality, unjust pricing, inadequate after-sales support, lack of equitable products, and a failure to understand patients' needs and journey contribute to the challenges in patient engagement.
Inequality among different groups is another challenge faced by the digital healthcare industry. Certain groups or genders may inadvertently be excluded from medical treatments or clinical trials, leading to results that may not apply to these patients in the future. Racial biases and disparities in treatment recommendations also contribute to health disparities among minority groups.
The need for patient-specific treatment is evident, as individuals with different health conditions require tailored medical help. Timely diagnosis and access to relevant data are crucial in avoiding critical situations. Real-time health data collection systems with automated insights and decision support capabilities can significantly reduce the risk of unwanted medical conditions.
Integrating telehealth into the patient ecosystem presents challenges due to the complexity of changing established habits and relationships with healthcare providers. Emotional connections to healthcare facilities, physician relationships, ignorance about the benefits of digital health, complex onboarding processes, and unsupported habit changes hinder the transition to digital health. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed more patients to digital healthcare infrastructure, generating continued interest even after the pandemic.
To overcome these challenges in digital healthcare, several solutions can be implemented:
Improving the patient user experience: Enhancing user experience is crucial for engaging patients with digital healthcare products. This can be achieved through the use of wearable devices, integrating software on mobile phones and devices for notifications, and providing a user-friendly software interface with minimal onboarding. Just-in-time push notifications and SMS have shown to enhance the patient's experience and improve health outcomes.
Promoting an equitable approach to address inequality: Diversifying clinical trials, understanding population demographics without biases, and maintaining self-awareness towards implicit bias can help improve health delivery. Striving for health equity by ensuring medical support for the broader community, regardless of background or socio-economic status, is critical. Digital healthcare can facilitate these aims by providing greater access and reducing costs throughout the care delivery process.
Enhancing data collection and analysis for better services: Collecting patient data is essential for providing personalized healthcare services. Leveraging big data analytics and electronic health records (EHR) can provide valuable insights if integration and data sharing challenges are addressed. Real-time data collection through devices like watches, fitness bands, and trackers can enable more accurate decision-making and diagnosis. However, ensuring data security and privacy is paramount.
Promoting telehealth equipment for comprehensive support: Telehealth, which utilizes digital tools and communication technologies, has gained widespread acceptance. Leveraging telehealth for 360° medical support, including medicine dispensers, tracking devices, and fitness bands, can further enhance the patient experience. However, addressing reluctance and promoting awareness about the benefits of telemedicine and mobile health (mHealth) is crucial.
How we can help :
Coherence offers comprehensive solutions to address the challenges in digital healthcare for both patients and medical practitioners. Our offerings include hassle-free medication delivery, improving patient engagement in clinical trials, and other healthcare applications.
By adopting these solutions, the digital healthcare industry can overcome its challenges and continue to revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem, providing better care, enhanced patient experiences, and improved health outcomes.