A recent survey revealed that 91% of healthcare organizations plan to incorporate digital health services within the next year to improve the patient experience. The benefits of digital technology are obvious to most people in the healthcare field. Devices that monitor vital functions can be the first line of defense if a health problem were to occur unexpectedly, which can save countless lives. And new technological developments can help doctors determine the cause of ailments and diseases faster, thus shining more light on how to prevent them in the first place. While the digitization of healthcare has life-changing potential – it certainly cannot replace some traditional, hands-on methods as well, and finding a way to balance these different types of healthcare is at the forefront of the top professionals in the field.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues facing the current state of healthcare today is inefficient patient services. In the United States, people can expect to wait up to 90 minutes to be seen by a emergency room doctor. Eliminating wait times could end up saving thousand of lives. Digital services can play a key role in reducing wait times in hospitals and doctor’s offices across the world. The internet has provided a number of services that allow people to get professional advice on ailments and issues, all without having to leave their home.
Apps and video conference calls are two popular methods for doctors to communicate with patients in a fast, efficient manner. In fact, 75% of patients expect to use some sort of digital healthcare service in the future. While this does not eliminate the need to physically see a doctor – what it can do is allow healthcare professionals to determine if the issue is serious enough for the patient to come into the office, or if proper advice can be given to them electronically. This helps to reduce the number of people with minor problems from overcrowding waiting rooms, and streamlines more serious issues to the top of the list.
Helping to Reduce Costs
Of course, eliminating the need to come into an office will significantly help to reduce the rising cost of healthcare. Spending grew 3.9% in 2017 for healthcare services, putting an even greater strain on an already expensive necessity for Americans. Digitization hopes to help cut those costs down. Online services will generally be cheaper than physically being at a hospital or office, so minor health concerns can get professional treatment at a reasonable price. Additionally, online medical credit can provide unique services for clients as well as financial benefits. Incorporating more digital services for patients will prove to have tremendous financial gains for Americans across the board.
The Role of Traditional Healthcare
While the digitization of the medical field has endless promise, there are some things that simply cannot be replaced by the online world. Doctors almost universally agree that online healthcare comes with irreplaceable benefits, but there are a number of potential dangers as well. Online medical advice is difficult to verify, and strict policies about what is an accredited source of medical information will need to be adopted. It can be all too easy for patients to stumble upon a doctor or healthcare professional who is not the person they appear to be online. Patients and doctors alike will need to tread lightly in the digital healthcare world in order to avoid misinformation or poor communication. Not to mention the benefits of a doctor being able to physically examine a patient, which will lead to more accurate diagnoses and a better overall healthcare experience.
Whether we like it or not, digital healthcare is coming fast and will be a staple of the medical field for the foreseeable future. In order to maximize its’ potential, professionals will need to figure out how to make reliable information easy to access, and to filter out “fake news” type doctors. But with the potential to reduce wait times, save Americans money, and save lives – it’s tremendously important to get involved with the digitization of healthcare.