By Martin Jones
Current and emerging medtech change how hospitals, clinics, and medical practices deliver care. Yet, healthcare organizations face workforce and security challenges – ones that must be met while also appeasing the growing demands from patients. Although pay increases and recruitment investments help, it’s not enough to stave off immediate and future problems.
Digital health medtech presents an opportunity for executives to improve care levels and efficiency, simultaneously improving experiences and lowering costs. Consider the role of medtech in healthcare and learn how your organization can lead by example.
The role of technology in healthcare
According to Deloitte, 92% of survey respondents consider better patient experiences the “top desired outcome from digital transformation.”1 Improvements stem from how medtech connects patients to their data and healthcare providers. It plays a key role in shifting from disease treatment to health management and also works to alleviate operational inefficiencies and deliver actionable insights.
Leaders adopt emerging medtech to support short- and long-term cost-reduction and error-prevention goals. Although its role may differ by application, ultimately, it improves patient care and overall efficiency.
Empower connected patients
Informed patients demand a seat at the table, and connected health models ensure they get one. Medtech, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, encourage participation in treatment decisions. Patients interact from mobile phones, in-room tablets or smart displays, and online portals.
Medtech and connected applications drive value-based care initiatives and consist of many technologies, such as:
- Patient wearables: Interactive equipment allows real-time data collection for in-patient and in-home care.
- Electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs): Treatment and medication trials benefit from ePROs, which allow patients to create an electronic diary.
- TV interactive care systems: In-room display technologies work as a digital whiteboard, entertainment and environmental control.
Increase staff and operational efficiency
Real-time location solutions (RTLS) and cloud-based systems support various productivity and efficiency goals in hospitals and medical practices. Automated back- and front-office processes reduce human activities, freeing staff to focus on direct patient care. Likewise, web-based tracking of patient services and digital record management streamline workflows while improving accessibility.
Sensor technologies with RTLS applications provide information about equipment and patient locations. In return, employees spend less time tracking down assets, from wheelchairs to defibrillators. In addition, centralized command centers help doctors and RNs manage capacity, equipment and supplies. Supervisors view OR schedules and room availability in real time on dashboards. These capabilities use data and automation to make quicker, more accurate decisions that drive efficiencies.
Shift from disease treatment to health management
The future of healthcare involves shifting to managing health, not merely treating diseases. Providers already use AI to accurately detect diseases in early stages. It can assist with many preventive-care measures. For example, AI software developed by researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas “interprets mammograms and translates patient data into diagnostic information 30 times faster than a human doctor, with 99% accuracy.”2
AI also uses pattern recognition to identify at-risk patients or show trends related to declining health. By combining these technologies with mobile applications, providers and patients can enter information, communicate and view insights from their smartphones.
Design convenient and efficient patient experiences
According to an Accenture survey, 35% of respondents said that “well-coordinated care and communications between medical providers and their personnel is important.”3 Additionally, consumers want to access healthcare services conveniently and comfortably, using their preferred devices and formats.
Wearables, mobile apps and cloud tools let patients monitor their health and decide when to request assistance. They interact with medical staff, share health data from their remote sensing devices and schedule appointments online. When patients arrive at the facility, RTLS and wayfinding applications guide them through the next steps of their journey, including verifying their identity using biometrics tools such as a fingerprint or facial recognition.
Automation and AI move equipment and patients into the optimal spots for timely procedures and give patients real-time updates via a mobile app. Once treatment is complete, patients can view notes and results. Streamlining consumer services and engagements via technology can increase patient satisfaction and achieve patient-centric initiatives.
Help organizations achieve specific business goals
Technology can drive successful outcomes across various departments regardless of organizational priorities. Each IoT device, sensor or application collects data and produces insights. Healthcare business leaders use predictive analytics to enhance experiences and keep back-office operations running. They can deploy technologies on a small scale and measure progress towards precise objectives while also identifying future use cases.
Healthcare leadership: Leverage technology to become an industry leader
Technology can give your healthcare system a competitive edge in innovation and build your brand into a household name. Moreover, your connected services can serve as a model of care and efficiency. Forward-thinking strategies deploy the right technologies to targeted populations at crucial moments. Each step moves your facility towards enterprise-wide digitalization.
Build a networking and security foundation
Connectivity or speed gaps affect the success of your digital initiatives. Few things can slow your implementation process down as quickly as discovering your sensors won’t work on assets that were moved to the basement. Work with your internet service provider (ISP) to find bandwidth or coverage issues and complete a network assessment.
Likewise, a managed service provider (MSP) can identify ways to secure your infrastructure and increase application and device use visibility. Attention to connectivity and security and understanding your path forward as your needs grow help put into place key technology components early.
Assess employee skills gaps
The role of technology is to help your workforce, not replace them. But implementation success depends on having tech-savvy teams and support staff. Department leaders should survey employees and note areas for improvement. In some cases, you may want to consider outsourcing technical support and working with local partners to develop on-site and virtual training programs.
Devise smart strategies for healthcare
Technology enables a smart healthcare strategy. However, your approach will differ depending on your specific problems. For example, automation and tablets help organizations deal with a workforce shortage. Nurses use the devices for quick access to electronic health records (EHRs), and patients can self-report some information, offsetting nurses’ workloads.
On the other hand, tablets can also improve the patient experience, allowing them to access health data, order food or request assistance. A smart strategy adopts the technology in vital areas, measures its success and accounts for future expansion.
Technology helps deliver 4P Medicine
The future of healthcare is predictive, preventative, personalized and participatory. Technology will help you achieve these goals, making your organization a model and industry leader. Achieve your care and efficiency objectives by preparing a smart healthcare strategy that addresses both your current and future problems.
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