In a world of unprecedented digitally driven innovation, every social structure and system cannot stay outside its purveyance. The system of health care although a little slow in harnessing and imbibing these changes have started to use the digital transformation in hospitals for its benefit.
Prediction says, that global population will reach 10 billion by 2050 and with it the chronic diseases. By 2020, it is expected that, 73% of all deaths will occur in result of chronic diseases. We are inhabiting in more and more aging demography. The population above the age of 60 will estimate to rise from 900 million to 2 billion between 2015 and 2050. It is a rise of 12% to 22% of the total world population. In an era like this patients are becoming active value-seeking partners rather than a passive recipient of the health care services. It is no denying the fact that, the world is changing and with it, the health care should also.
The major challenges today, is improving the quality and access to health care at a minimum cost in an aging demography when public expenditure is decreasing more and more.
All the major organizations in this complex and vast health care system are trying to overcome these challenges through digitization and digital transformation. Across the globe, the health care organizations vary in sizes and move at a pace depending on the countries legal framework, political agenda, individual nature and their role in the health care ecosystem. Likewise, their precise goal in the digitally transformed system would be different from increasing patient-centric environment in the hospitals to improving the efficiency of the workforce to adapt to the new ways of caring for e.g. by the means of cloud computing and IoT.
Health care today could then be defined as connected health also known as technologically-enabled healthcare (TEC). It involves the convergence of health technology, digital media, and mobile devices. It enables the patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to access data and information more conveniently and quickly that improve the quality and outcome of both health and social care system.
So, how this technologically-enabled health care system of future would look like? There could be three scenarios –
A hyper-connected health care system
There is no doubt about the fact that future health care system will be hyper-connected. Each and every patient, professional, caregiver and machine will be connected and exchange information all the time. It will change the face of each healthcare channels and demand more and more collaboration.
In this environment every patient will be like a human sensor with digital wearable placed on their bodies which transmit real-time data which is translated into actionable insights not only for each individual, but also helping the larger medical research platforms that will constantly integrate and analyze these data from multiple sources to understand the patterns to improve the preventive ways of health care for a population at large.
Ideally, in a connected system, the expectation is that every health care professional and researchers will be collaborating, again functioning as a human sensor in treating a patient, capturing the outcome and analyzed the result in real-time. This will expectedly translate into medical insights for a larger population.
Health care provider will be able to optimize the quality of service with real-time data and predictive analysis and eliminate the waste.
Health care will be more personalized and patient-centric
In the digital transformation and TEC, health care will be personalized exclusively for one person. Patients will be empowered in a real sense and can demand anticipatory services customized for them.
Let us imagine a situation, where a person who uses a health app will get a reminder for a recommended routine check-up based on the personal health and age. The person can immediately book an appointment for visit to the physician of his/her preference through the same app. He/she can even opt for a virtual visit.
After the check-up, the physician may recommend for a biopsy and instruct the procedure when found positive for cancer. The patient then immediately searches the available sources and finds out the personalized offers that exist for his/her type. The patient then acquires information about his/her employers and finds out that they have the financial commitment to this kind of programme. The physician and diagnostic professional prescribed a set of specific treatment based on the clinical studies based, the patient's genetic profile and the latest research in this field. The patient started taking treatment in a hospital that specializes in this particular type of cancer.
The data related to this patient is made available anonymously through the digital health network system for scientific research and clinical trials, creating an opportunity to learn from each individual case.
The live example could be found in CancerLinQ, a groundbreaking Big data analyzer that enables clinical data sharing and analysis on a massive scale. This is allowing the physicians and the researcher to access approximately 97% of cancer patient's data which were locked away in unconnected files and servers.
Hospital will be transformed into digital
Healthcare processes are going to be transformed forever. Hospitals will be digitized to the extent that, it become paperless from the back office, to patient flow management to 100% medical report maintained electronically.
Let us imagine a scenario, where a nurse is administering a critical medicine in a particular ward. The stock of the pharmacy gets updated immediately, because, 50 other nurses have also been asked to administer the same medicine, the system recognizes that the stock is diminishing and send signals for new procurement. The system places the procurement order automatically, while the finance could monitor it because they could see this entire process.
In another ward, another patient requires this medicine before she could be discharged from the hospital. The medicine will arrive tomorrow because of the automated digital processes. The hospital admin knows the situation and can arrange for another patient’s admission because this bed will become empty.
The patient was informed by the doctor about the detailed plan of her discharge and care plan at home. A health app is included in her discharge package which will monitor be connected to her weight scale, fitness tracker and glucometer and automatically capture data and will trigger an alert as and when necessary.