Technology is driving changes across industries, including medicine. The ever-improving intelligent and automated solutions promise to enhance care outcomes and patient experience.
Each new startup in the healthcare market has an opportunity to revolutionize it. So, if you decided to jump on the bandwagon, investing in the right technologies now can make a world of difference in the future.
Why is tech investment necessary for medical businesses?
The growing ability to store and analyze massive amounts of health information is improving the tech field and boosting access to and quality of care. The benefits of technology investments for your practice include:
- Improving efficiency and quality of service.
- Developing new treatments and medication.
- Reducing healthcare costs and the number of necessary workers.
- Facilitating communication with specialists.
- Quicker, more accurate diagnoses and treatments.
- Providing necessary care anywhere, anytime.
- Predicting health issues in patients and avoiding preventable conditions.
All these advantages add up to create a successful, functional organization that puts the patient at the forefront. It makes you more competitive and productive, letting you make visible changes in the world.
What tools should healthcare businesses invest in?
With these factors in mind, let’s explore the best tech tools to incorporate into your budding practice.
1. Electronic health records
EHRs are digital health information records that facilitate record-keeping and reduce necessary manual labor for paperwork management. They contain:
- Medical history
- Diagnoses and medications
- Immunization dates
- Lab data and reports
- Insurance documentation
- Demographics information
- Personal wellness device records
EHR power lies in the volume of information it captures and the ease of sharing it provides. It lets practices instantly share relevant data for easier clinical decisions and coordinated care.
Electronic medical records
People often use EMR and EHR interchangeably, but the two aren’t the same. EMRs like RevenueXL are a subset of the more comprehensive EHR tool, containing only the information you’d find in a physical chart.
They don’t contain non-health-specific patient information or travel out of practice as quickly. Still, EMRs are an affordable alternative for smaller, growing organizations. They help doctors and staff stay on top of all essential information on a more limited budget.
Interactive personal health records
Interactive PHRs are a patient-centric extension of the EHR tool. Families with compounding health issues accrue heaps of paperwork, and this tech solution seeks to make the processes more accessible and manageable.
The PHR automatically receives EHR data available for access through a Web browser anytime, anywhere.
Patients can see appointments, lab results, and immunization dates and share them with specialists. They can also enter information into their records, which improves communication between the two parties.
2. Blockchain data collection
Blockchain is surrounded by a lot of hype thanks to its use in the financial market for cryptocurrencies. The digital record-keeping system can be beneficial for tackling sensitive information in medicine, too.
Blockchain can organize information in layers and share only the top one without any personally identifiable information with third parties.
As such, it promotes sharing historical data between networks and organizations. Researchers see a boost in potential while respecting doctor-patient confidentiality.
Switching between providers
While EHRs advance information sharing by default, blockchain makes it even easier to share information with a new physician or specialist.
Data breaches are frequent in healthcare. Blockchain is a safer info route, combating security issues and reducing hacking potential.
3. Telehealth and remote care
Telehealth is an umbrella term that incorporates devices, technologies, and methods for delivering medical information, education, and treatment from a distance.
While it’s not a new concept, it’s seeing quick advancements thanks to new technologies. Today, instant wireless communication, data compression, and high-quality image transfer make remote care more accessible than ever before.
Telehealth is advantageous for two situation types:
- Communication with distant resources, such as specialists.
- Remote services to replace a visiting nurse.
The best way to take advantage of these systems is by integrating them with your EHR.
Many patients still prefer in-person providers, and it should remain an option. Still, telemedicine provides easier access to healthcare to people in rural communities, immobile patients, and anybody who doesn’t have the time or resources for regular visits.
4. Virtual reality
VR already found multiple usages in medical education, helping improve future practitioner training. These solutions can also apply to and enhance patient care. Notably:
- Pain treatment. VR helps with labor and post-injury muscle pain. Doctors and nurses can use it in combination with painkillers during hospital stays.
- Anxiety relief. VR can treat PTSD and other kinds of stress. In more severe cases, it works well with therapy and medication for symptom management.
- Physical therapy. Gamifying physical therapy can advance and speed up the rehabilitation journey.
The usages of VR in medicine are still rare and highly specific. The latest advancements make it easy to imagine how this gaming tech can apply across treatment types, though.
5. ePrescription systems
ePrescriptions allow physicians to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies. The benefits of such a digitized system include:
- Reduced interpretation difficulties
- Lower chances of errors
- More accurate dosing and instructions
- Drug abuse prevention
- Better pharmacy workflow
- Quick renewal and authorization
Moreover, these integrate with an EMR or EHR system. The tools can automatically notify the physician of any allergies or drug interactions, suggesting alternative generic medication.
6. Artificial intelligence diagnoses
AI is boosting accuracy and efficiency to processes driving many business sectors. The healthcare industry can find unique benefits in these intelligent algorithms.
Modern machine learning rapidly analyzes patient symptoms and conditions, comparing them to a large pool of available data. The conclusions and suggestions they provide help physicians arrive at the correct diagnoses and not disregard any small yet essential piece of information.
It’s necessary to have a human factor involved to check the suggestions. Still, these algorithms are getting better with time, growing in diagnosis accuracy.
Plus, they have another use on a larger scale. Algorithms can process large amounts of information at once, identifying trends and predicting issues across different demographics.
7. 3D printing
3D printing is eliminating the need for physical blood vessels, tissues, and even organs for transplantation. The world is still far from developing an entirely artificial beating heart in 2021, but that doesn’t make any existing developments any less worthwhile.
Researchers started printing living skin with blood vessels as early as 2019. There have also been efforts to create prosthetics to replace missing limbs. The pharmaceutical industry is now developing polypills to improve adherence to therapeutic plans.
These technologies are becoming more available to ordinary organizations. Future practices might start incorporating such processes into their everyday service schedules.
8. Health trackers
Finally, modern medicine largely revolves around empowering patients to take care of their health. Trackers, sensors, and wearables are becoming indispensable. They help people manage symptoms and perform daily checkups by themselves.
Today’s wearable tech can track anything the doctor deems necessary and upload the information on the EHR. For example, it gathers information about:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Caloric intake
- Sleep time and quality
- Body composition
This information complements what doctors learn during regular visits.
Plus, these trackers integrate with EHR software to support diagnostic conclusions and telemedicine. They let physicians access and evaluate a patient’s condition in real-time and review historical data to check for symptoms, issues, and causes.
Key takeaways for healthcare startups
Medical tech is data-driven, quick, and efficient. These trends are only growing, thanks to an increasing number of young startups entering the market.
Digital healthcare is finally becoming the norm rather than an outlier. In turn, it could reduce the burden on the entire healthcare system and boost the quality of care, creating consistently positive experiences for doctors and patients worldwide.