Why is technology so important to healthcare?
Healthcare is about people. Although the expectations around delivering care continue to grow, the technology is ready to meet and exceed these opportunities. From practising clinicians, to administrators and management in healthcare organisations or environments, the end goal is to enhance the care and wellbeing of patients.
Customer health and organisations that deliver healthcare are more intertwined with technology than ever before, and the holistic benefits can be realised without compromising the human nature of care, but to drastically enhance it.
What are the problems healthcare organisations are facing?
Patient age distributions are increasing whilst the cost of delivering care is escalating. The demographic changes of an ageing population in industrialised nations is a growing burden on healthcare providers.
Today care is typically poorly uncoordinated, information is often not available to those who need it at the appropriate time - as a result patients often do not get care they need, or alternatively get care they do not need.
Insider Intelligence estimates that 30% of healthcare is associated with administrative costs.
Simple tasks like gathering or storing information and data or assisting clinicians with the knowledge they need when they need it, has become time consuming due to the sheer volume of information organisations need to deal with.
With increased demand the sector needs more staff than ever before. However, due to retirement, less students attending courses in the medical profession, and burn-out from the increased workload.
The sector is unable to recruit at the speed it needs to run at an optimal level.
How can technology help remove these barriers?
Process automation and bespoke software applications can reduce or even completely eliminate administrative tasks and allow staff to spend more time with patients or training and less time on paperwork - whether it is electronic or otherwise.
This includes patient scheduling, processing documentation, patient medical records and data input. Cloud-based approaches to these software applications can lower the initial investment and eliminate the running and labour costs of maintaining the IT infrastructure.
The performance of consumer devices for medical sensing that captures observational data on the state of human health has reached a level where these systems will become ubiquitous.
These can be used for the monitoring of good health conditions, whilst being useful for chronic patients to be empowered to observe their status and if the need should arise, to automatically trigger other systems or assistance.
The enabling technology for this is ‘edge computing’, by using this technology it allows information to be captured remotely rather than in face-to-face appointments, thus helping to reduce the flow of patients into already stretched services.
Whilst there are exciting opportunities for specific breakthrough technologies that are maturing rapidly (robotic surgery - yes really!, genome sequencing for precision healthcare, and AI-driven diagnostics), there is huge value in an excellent implementation of the basics - seamless, secure and interoperable communications.
Workflow automation. Data warehouses, reporting and analytics for continuous improvement. Technology provides an opportunity for clinicians to harness data and use it to make informed decisions and allow management to refine processes for improvements.
Technology means less time in front of a computer and more time with patients. Razor understands there is a huge cultural aspect to successful delivery of digital transformation – solutions are best defined and developed with clients and the client’s users.
In the case of healthcare services, a key element of success besides identifying the business impact is involving the clinicians from the outset, ensuring that they feel empowered by digital solutions rather than disengaged.