The year 2020 was a tough one for the world. Countries were locked down, people felt trapped in isolation, mask and sanitizer became the norm, and the economy witnessed a dip. However, like a blessing in disguise, digital transformation accelerated with a rapid pace, and the adoption of automation became widespread. A McKinsey survey of executives, reveals that Covid-19 has sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years and the respondents stated how there has been an increase in funding for digital initiatives. The changes brought in by digital transformation were visible in industries, especially in healthcare.
The healthcare sector went through digitization and we saw how telehealth became popular. Now, when the global economy is trying to recoup from the crisis, many innovations await the healthcare industry. Let us understand the three major driving forces behind these innovations that are going to shape healthcare in the coming years.
Automation Spearheading the Journey
By embracing Robotic Process Automation (RPA), healthcare reduced the burden on its workforce to perform repetitive and mundane tasks. RPA offers seamless automation of complex operational processes, financial functions, administrative tasks, claim and insurance management, etc. The implementation of intelligent automation using disruptive technologies like AI and blockchain has enabled the healthcare sector to improve patient data records. Automation can make an impact on the streamlining of EHRs, by extracting patient data in real-time and thus enhancing patient care with readily available data history. By opening the “digital front door”, healthcare has improved the customer experience by digitizing it. In coming years healthcare systems will adopt this “digital front door” to enable online services, mobile apps, automated scheduling, telemedicine, and other digital services.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the United States proposed the final rule intended to incorporate interoperability in the healthcare system to improve the quality and accessibility of health information for the citizens. This initiative aims to place patients at the center of healthcare and unburdening employees from complex administrative processes. The exchange of information can be done through APIs and mobile apps between payers and providers, the rule says.
Interoperability in healthcare will ensure transparency and end the information blocking mechanism usually seen in the sector. Providers are adopting EHRs and even migrating to the cloud to enhance the shareability of patient data. The penetration of disruptive technologies has made this process simpler since it is possible to gather and circulate real-time data with maximum accuracy and minimum errors.
Virtual Care To Stay
The pandemic introduced telehealth and virtual care to us since isolation and lockdowns were in place. But studies suggest that this system is here to stay for a longer term. Looking forward, healthcare systems might have a hybrid model of patient care with both in-person and virtual models. The possibility of virtual care will enable the incorporation of robotics and voice assistants into the consultation processes. Although virtual care came in as a temporary solution, it has immense benefits. It is a more cost-effective solution to deliver and also prevent the likelihood of infections, which can create problems in hospitals. Virtual care is appreciated for its ability to provide convenient, patient-centric care to any part of the world through digital interfaces.
All these changes introduced by the pandemic are going to enhance the state of the healthcare system around the globe. Apart from this, many governments have recognized the ailing economic condition of the healthcare industry and have promised to make it the top priority in the coming years. For example, the Union Budget 2021 by India laid prime focus on the healthcare system by a huge budget dedicated to the sector, improving healthcare infrastructure and boosting digitization.
The healthcare industry holds an important space in the future and technological advancements increase its chances to become more innovative.