How Medical Tech Is Driving Digital Transformation in the Healthcare Industry
Medical technology is driving digital transformation and improving budget, infrastructure, and organizational culture in the healthcare industry, let’s take a look.
Medicine and technology have always operated hand-in-glove. However, the importance and the necessity of tech innovation in healthcare has perhaps never been greater than it is today. New technologies are emerging to transform patient care, alleviate the burdens of the ongoing healthcare labor shortage, and dramatically improve treatment outcomes.
Nevertheless, driving digital transformation in the healthcare industry, for all its promises, is not without certain challenges. This includes concerns regarding the privacy of medical data and the amount of time and resources required to digitize medical practices.
This article examines the role of medical technology in facilitating the digital transformation of doctors’ offices. It also explores the critical role of such transformations in preparing medical practices and healthcare systems for the future.
What Is Digital Transformation?
The term “digital transformation” refers to the digitalization of the traditional processes and systems used by businesses in the course of daily operations. The transition may be swift and comprehensive, or it may be more gradual, with business systems being digitized one at a time.
The method you use will depend on a host of factors, including your budget, technology infrastructure, and organizational culture. Some practices are simply more tech-oriented, with employees who are already highly familiar and comfortable with technology. In such an environment, a rapid transformation may be your best option. You can complete the digitization process quickly, move through any temporary disruption the transformation may cause, and then begin immediately reaping its rewards.
However, if your practice is operating on a tight budget, as many are these days, it may be worthwhile to take the transition more slowly. The increased revenues that result from digitizing high-priority processes can then be put toward the transitioning of the rest.
Driving digital transformation slowly can also help you to overcome one of the most significant barriers to digitalization, which is employee resistance. From your administrative team to your medical and nursing staff, your employees may balk at the idea of having to learn new technologies and processes.
This is especially true if the legacy systems have proven largely functional or if your practice is already negatively impacted by the worker shortage. Your team may feel as if their time and the practice’s money and resources could be better used elsewhere.
The good news, though, is that it may not be as difficult as you to cultivate your employees’ buy-in to your office’s digital transformation. The key, as will be shown, is to ensure stellar training and support. Above all, you will want to educate your staff on the profound benefits of digital transformation to employees and patients alike.
The Benefits of Digital Transformations in Healthcare
The digitalization of the workplace has contributed significantly to efficiency, productivity, and agility.
For instance, digitalization enabled countless numbers of businesses across a range of industries to rapidly shift to virtual operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, companies are reaping the benefits of digitalization by expanding their operations to a worldwide school. Through digitalization, companies can now reach a truly global audience, while building partnerships and retaining employees in nearly every corner of the globe.
The benefits of digital transformation to the healthcare industry, though, are especially significant. For example, digital technologies are revolutionizing patient care and dramatically improving patient outcomes as a result. In addition, digitalization is making healthcare offices more productive and efficient. This includes expediting secure data-sharing, increasing the speed and accuracy of patient diagnosis, and optimizing evidence-based treatment planning and implementation.
The result of these innovations is not only a significant improvement in the patient’s overall experience, but also a more manageable workload for the already overburdened health system.
Medical Technology and Patient Care
As previously suggested, digital transformations in healthcare can take many forms. A roster of new innovations in medical technologies is helping healthcare providers and health system administrations define the digitalization strategies that are best for them.
To be sure, patients are, and should be, at the heart of every medical practice. And, fortunately, it is in the optimization of patient care that the true power of the healthcare digital transformation really shines through.
For instance, thanks to the advent of wearable medical devices, patients’ vitals can be monitored continuously without requiring hospitalization and round-the-clock bedside care. These devices can track, document, and securely transmit patients’ health data in real-time, enabling doctors to more accurately assess the patient’s status.
Not only does this facilitate diagnosis and treatment planning, but also allows patients to maintain their independence while receiving ongoing, high-quality care from the comfort of home. At the same time, secure and reliable at-home monitoring frees up space and resources in clinics and hospitals, which is invaluable in this era of surging demand and limited capacity.
Another profound way in which medical technology is fostering digital transformation in healthcare is through the ascendancy of telemedicine. Now more than ever, patients are receiving consistent, quality care without ever having to leave their homes.
For many patients, the opportunity to receive care through video conferencing or telephone consultation is life-changing and, sometimes literally, life-saving. Seniors, patients with disabilities, and those who lack reliable transportation may now enjoy access to medical care for perhaps the first time in many years, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
And it’s not only patients who require access to general medical care that are benefiting from the advent of telehealth. Specialists are now increasingly able to provide a significant amount of care, including triaging, disease management and basic diagnoses, and treatment planning.
For instance, ophthalmologists are now able to conduct virtual visits with patients through video conferencing and the secure sharing of patient photos. Of course, not every element of a complete eye exam can be performed online. Nevertheless, ophthalmologists can generally glean enough information from a video consultation and, often, a close-up photograph of the patient’s eyes to either make a diagnosis or schedule the patient for an in-office visit.
Medical Technology and the Workplace
The digital transformation of healthcare practices isn’t just good for patients. It can also be extremely beneficial for medical practices, healthcare systems, and the employees who work there.
Indeed, medical technology has the power to turn a mediocre work environment into one famous for innovation and performance. Perhaps best of all, healthcare tech enables employers to provide their staff with exceptional support both in the office and out.
For example, outfitting the office with the appropriate technologies for productivity and communication can offer employees extraordinary, and much-appreciated, autonomy.
Secure, cloud-based data storage, for instance, can allow healthcare providers to access and study patient records whenever and wherever they need to. Likewise, communications and project management tools, such as Slack and Asana, can enable administrative staff to seamlessly do their work from home when desired.
Technology, Digital Transformation, and Competition
Anyone who has any experience in the healthcare sector knows all too well how competitive it can be. In the throes of an ever-worsening labor shortage, the struggle to recruit and retain talent is immense.
However, incorporating the most coveted medical technologies into your operations can be a highly effective way to solidify your brand as an employer of choice for top job candidates. When your brand is one centered on state-of-the-art patient care, you’re going to attract bold, hungry, highly trained staff.
And, as you build such a formidable workforce, you are all but guaranteed to galvanize growth, attracting patients through the caliber of your medical and administrative teams.
In addition to unleashing the power of medical technology to earn a competitive advantage in recruiting, you can also leverage the same tools to spur client acquisition. Now more than ever, healthcare consumers are turning to the internet to find a healthcare provider.
This provides an extraordinary opportunity for medical offices to engage in robust digital marketing efforts to increase brand awareness, win new patients, and retain established ones.
There is a range of highly effective strategies for doing this, but at the core of the mission is the cultivation of a strong, vibrant digital presence.
At a minimum, this would include maintaining a website that underscores that practice’s brand story, its mission, and its people. Your website should also include staff biographies and detailed descriptions of services offered, particularly those amenities that may be rare in your market,
Above all, your website should feature content that is continuously updated and augmented, such as frequent blog posts or an ever-evolving library of video health tutorials. The goal here is to harness the power of digital technology to engage, communicate, and build relationships with existing and prospective patients and their families.
In addition to prioritizing content creation as you establish your practice’s online presence, you can also leverage tech innovation to conduct intensive market research. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, for instance, can be used to analyze enormous quantities of market and customer data in mere seconds.
From the insights provided through these data analytics, you can then develop evidence-based, targeted marketing strategies that truly enable your practice to stand out from nearest rivals.
There are, after all, few things in life more important, or more personal, than healthcare. Patients and their families do not simply entrust their health to just anyone. By leveraging the power of data technologies, particularly those driven through AI-powered machine learning, you will have an unprecedented capacity to understand who your target audience is. And once you have accurately identified your audience, you will be better able to align both your marketing and your service strategies accordingly.
Additionally, as you cultivate a deeper understanding of your target patient demographics, you will also be better positioned to redefine your business goals when necessary. The field of healthcare is constantly changing, but the pace of change has perhaps never been greater than it is today.
Through the use of technologies designed to optimize the business operations of medical practices, you can more effectively accommodate these rapid evolutions. The end result of digital transformations from an operational perspective, then, is greater agility, market responsiveness, and resiliency in the face of systemic shocks, such as that of the pandemic.
The marriage of medicine and technology has been a long and fruitful one. Driving digital transformation of healthcare is revolutionizing patient care, dramatically improving patient outcomes and supporting an exceptional healthcare experience for patients and their families.
In addition, the digitalization of medical practices and health systems is helping to alleviate some of the burdens of the ongoing labor shortage. At the same time, medical tech is helping to drive job satisfaction among healthcare workers and administrative staff. Medical tech isn’t just beneficial for patients and staff, but also for businesses. Through state-of-the-art technologies such as AI-driven data analytics, healthcare administrators and decision-makers are better able to align operations with patient needs and market conditions.