The concept of innovation in the healthcare sector has always received raised eyebrows. In this high-opportunity environment, digital transformation – especially the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – It has been hampered by issues of cost, compliance, regulation, payment and cultural barriers.
Connected health – the intersection of digital and legacy care – is often touted as a way to leverage technology’s capabilities to improve patient care and outcomes. The concept of connected health has been pushed forward by the pandemic, and many leaders in the healthcare system are beginning to evaluate whether this technology can make healthcare more humane.
With the world in lockdown and a major health crisis, technology has been able to increase connectivity and disrupt this industry in new and exciting ways. With online support groups, virtual appointments and more, not only the relationship between patients and their doctors, but also virtual relationships between patients can be created – although the question of effectiveness is looming.
While many experts believe that the advancement of technology into the healthcare space will increase humanity, others know that it may not be that simple.
The evolving patient-physician relationship
Over the past several decades, the relationship between doctors and their patients It has changed significantly. With the continued advancement of technology, patients have never had more access to health care resources and information than they do today. Modern patients have taken more ownership of their health, and even work with their doctors to understand emerging trends and how that affects their diagnosis and treatment. Many patients feel that access to online portals where they can directly message and communicate with their providers has brought them closer to their doctors and given them a greater sense of control over their health care experience.
Research shows that nearly half (46%) of all consumers (and 56% of 23- to 38-year-olds) say they are comfortable using technology to manage their health today.. In this sense, technology has allowed consumers to feel a closer relationship with their providers, while also increasing their ownership of their own health journey.
Clinical trials and telehealth
The benefits of technology are becoming more prominent in telehealth. Studies have confirmed that While telehealth appointments are, on average, much shorter than in-person visits, they are more effective.. Between the commute to the office and the time spent in the waiting room, patients spend more time navigating the appointment than talking to their doctor in the exam room. Some argue that this streamlined version of healthcare is dehumanizing the experience, perhaps dehumanizing healthcare by allowing more patients to live their normal lives with healthcare as simple as putting gas in their car. Perhaps health care is the ability to get the care it needs when it’s needed, and not spend twice as much time waiting for an in-person interaction that can be just as effective online.
Clinical trials have also improved with technology. Early stages of research and development, as well as recruitment and retention of patients, have traditionally been major barriers to completing clinical trial phases. Moreover, rare diseases make it difficult to find enough patients geographically to participate in these trials. With virtual appointments and telehealth, sample sizes can be expanded across geographies, allowing tests to be completed faster, time to market for drugs, and cures for diseases. A global gathering to help fight and cure diseases faster has humanized the clinical trial process.
Understanding the health care ecosystem
Contrary to those who recognize the humanity of modern health care, there are others who believe there is still more work to be done. Especially in the United States, there are many experts who understand that the health care system is emergency and revenue-oriented – and in turn, they lack empathy.
The perception that the U.S. healthcare ecosystem is designed to push urgent and emergency care, which results in more profits for hospitals, has led many to believe that healthcare organizations are incentivized to improve efficiency, performance and revenue, not humaneness. Results. The idea that technology isn’t used because it doesn’t push the revenue agenda raises a lot of questions about how human health care works in the United States.
For example, international markets have started using voice analysis on emergency lines. With voice analysis, the responder can assess the patient’s tone and examine vocal patterns for stress, anger, etc. to better understand the emergency. However, this ability is not used in America. Is this perhaps a missed opportunity to connect efficiency with humanity?
Access to personal information has proven to be a very divisive topic in the healthcare sector. Many healthcare organizations want to keep patient information to themselves rather than providing a complete service to patients. But what if patients had a digital wallet with all their medical records on their personal device? This wallet can be used by patients – whether it’s the oncologist or the Pilates class – to always have a complete and long view of their medical history.
Giving patients ownership of their medical portfolio, as opposed to the more siled medical companies that own a person’s medical information, many experts argue will make health care more human. However, the high cost of medical data combined with complex data sharing processes and security concerns have prevented this type of technology.
So which argument is true? The simple answer is that technology itself provides an opportunity to explore more human techniques in all industries – including healthcare. Despite significant advances in patient-professional communication, clinical trials, and virtual patient support, economic and data-driven opportunities remain.
Like many industries, humanizing healthcare is a work in progress, and it doesn’t mean the same thing to all people—but it’s progress, nonetheless.
Sheetal Chawla is Head of Life Sciences. Take America. She has over 13 years of experience in strategy development, market analysis, marketing and business evaluation. In her current role, she leads Capgemini’s US life sciences practice and provides industry thought leadership on digital transformation.
Abhishek Khandelwal is Vice President of Life Sciences. Capgemini Engineering. With over 12 years of industry experience, Abhishek heads the medical devices and healthcare technologies sector for Capgemini.