By: Natalie Cheng
June 28th 2021
To transform or not to transform? Under normal circumstances, digital transformation and technological changes would take years. However, due to the pandemic, technological changes in healthcare that would’ve taken years ended up being accelerated and implemented within a few months.
For example, the pandemic impacted the rise and adoption of telehealth solutions. According to the HIMSS State of Healthcare webinar, 52% of patients surveyed have had at least one telehealth visit in the last 12 months. In addition, younger patients view telehealth more favorably which will impact the future of organizations’ processes. Convenience is also a major benefit to telehealth, with 65% of patients indicating they prefer telehealth due to convenience compared with in-office appointments.
Not only has there been a rise in telehealth, the pandemic has shown the importance of digital transformation in healthcare and forced many organizations to adapt processes quickly. Here are some ways digital transformation has impacted healthcare:
Telemedicine and Telehealth
As mentioned earlier, the pandemic highlighted the need for remote patient care and forced many healthcare providers to rapidly implement telemedicine and telehealth into everyday practice. According to EMJ, “At Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center (Fort Worth, Texas, USA), the emergency department began using telemedicine communication techniques so that physicians could communicate with patients who tested positive for COVID-19 without ever having to enter the patient’s room. Remote monitoring of inpatients in the intensive care unit also allowed hospitals to conserve PPE with less frequent trips to isolation rooms that would have required new PPE with each new entrance.” Telemedicine helped protect all involved and helped reduce the spread of COVID. In addition, telemedicine has the potential to reduce morbidity and mortality during a pandemic because it provides patients with continued access to necessary health services.
According to a report published by BMC Public Health, “remote care reduces the use of resources in health centers, improves access to care, while minimizing the risk of direct transmission of the infectious agent from person to person. In addition to being beneficial in keeping people safe, including the general public, patients and health workers, another important advantage is providing widely access to care givers. Telehealth can mobilize all aspects of healthcare potentials to decrease transmission of disease, conduct people to the right level of health care, ensure safety for provider health services online, protect patients, clinicians, and the community from exposure to infection, and finally diminish the burden on the healthcare providers and health system.” In addition, based on the findings of the BMC Public Health review study, “clinicians and patients are strongly recommended to apply telehealth tools as an appropriate option to prevent and contain COVID-19 infection.” Telehealth solutions became a lifeline during the pandemic by allowing organizations to continue to run smoothly and reaching patients including the underserved.
Access to Medical Information
According to HIMSS, when considering the use of digital health services, patients are concerned that level of care may decline but many are willing to share healthcare data with providers to improve the care they receive, which leads to the next topic: access to medical information.
Patients are able to access their own medical records and information in order to get a better overall picture of their own health. They are also becoming more comfortable with sharing medical information with providers. By giving access to this information to all providers across the spectrum of care, it can ultimately lead to a better quality of care and treatment. Healthcare providers will have a complete picture of the care that a patient has received.
Digital transformation has also impacted communications in healthcare. With digital EHR systems, healthcare organizations can more easily document and share patient information within the organization, improving communication. In addition, with the proliferation of smartphones, providers can communicate through text messages and other messaging platforms. Patients can receive notifications of upcoming appointments or lab results when they are ready.
As discussed earlier, telemedicine and telehealth has transformed the healthcare industry. In addition, patients can better track their own health with healthcare monitoring apps and fitness trackers. With organizations adopting digital transformation solutions, physicians and caretakers can also remotely monitor high-risk patients and those with chronic diseases. Remote patient monitoring allows healthcare providers to monitor disease and symptom progression remotely and engage with patients virtually to modify care plans and also educate on self-care.
Ready to digitally transform your organization?
Are you interested in improving processes and preparing your organization for the future through digital transformation? Reach out to our team and we can walk you through various solutions to fit your organization’s needs. Attending the ANIA Conference or HIMSS this year? Feel free to stop by our booth to chat more about our solutions that support interoperability and digital transformation.