Healthcare is something that’s been around for a while, especially in the western world, but as with all things, digitalization is omnipresent and something that’s unavoidable.
In this article, we’ll explore how digitalization is affecting healthcare, what changes it can make, and what challenges this could pose for both patients and healthcare professionals. Whether by adopting a DDC system or just by making data easier to work with, we have plenty of talking points below that’ll give you a better understanding.
What changes can digitalization make?
Digitalization can make a number of changes to healthcare, both good and bad. On the positive side, digitalization can improve efficiency and accuracy in healthcare delivery. It can also make it easier for patients to access their medical records and get second opinions from other doctors.
On the negative side, digitalization can lead to information overload for both patients and doctors, and it can pose a risk to patient privacy if data falls into the wrong hands.
Of course, even though the increase in technology poses challenges and issues in healthcare, the benefits generally outweigh any detractions. With us now being able to monitor patients from home instead of the hosital, we can treat more patients and complete more tasks from a distance, which is excellent at a time when contagious infections are currently more prevalent than usual.
How can digital technology be applied in healthcare?
There are a number of ways in which digitalization is affecting healthcare. One of the most obvious and perhaps most important ways is how patient data is being collected and stored.
With the adoption of electronic health records, there is now a vast amount of data available on individual patients. This data can be used to improve patient care, but it also poses a risk to patient privacy if it falls into the wrong hands.
This data digitization could mean that it’ll become easier for different healthcare authorities to communicate and share patient records, as well as the data collection itself. This could result in paper surveys being discontinued on a large scale, with professionals now able to collect unbiased data directly from the patient using digital gadgets and attachments that’ll monitor the body.
Another way that digitalization is affecting healthcare is the way that treatments are being delivered. With the advent of telemedicine, patients can now receive treatment from their doctors without having to leave their homes.
This has obvious benefits for both patients and doctors but also poses some risks. For example, if a patient’s condition deteriorates while they’re receiving treatment remotely, they may not be able to get the help they need.
Suppose a patient is undergoing treatment for a current condition and has to take medication that could result in an adverse reaction. In that case, wearable smart technology could be used to monitor how the patient is doing from home, meaning that they won’t need to stay in a hospital and take up increasingly valuable hospital space, reducing congestion and allowing more patients to receive care.
What challenges does digitalization pose for healthcare?
Data security is one of the most significant issues that digitalization poses for healthcare. With the vast amounts of data being collected and stored on patients, there is a risk that this data could be hacked or stolen. This could lead to identity theft or even fraud if criminals were able to access medical records or other sets of sensitive data.
That being said, many private healthcare providers already use digital tools for healthcare, and there are very few incidents of data being exposed, mainly because of how many layers of protection are put in place. If we continue down this path toward technology being further integrated into healthcare, we would expect steps to be taken to protect patients and keep their data safe.
Another issue that digitization poses for healthcare is patient data privacy. If patient data is not properly protected, it could be accessed by anyone who has the right software. This could include insurance companies, employers, or even criminals who want to use the data for personal gain.
Safeguarding measures will need to be in place so that patients will feel secure in having their data stored online. As things stand, it’s relatively easy for most people working within healthcare to access the health records of anybody (including famous people) as long as they have access to the database. This will need to change.
Lastly, digitalization can lead to information overload for both patients and doctors. With so much data being collected and stored, it can be challenging to sift through everything and find the information you need. This can lead to mistakes being made or critical information being missed entirely.
Having tools available to make this huge mass of data easily interpretable will be key here. Currently, many healthcare providers use outdated databases that aren’t fit for purpose anymore. This adds a lot of stress to administrators, call center staff, and even healthcare professionals and increases the likelihood of mistakes being made and details being missed.