After our webinar with futurist Mike Ryan, we’re looking forward to what the future of healthcare holds for the patient experience. In this blog, we’ll uncover the changes we’re seeing in the short to long term and how each will affect the individual patient experience.
Want a quick overview? Check out our infographic at the bottom of this blog!
Digital adoption and virtual appointments
After the drastic effects Covid-19 had on healthcare systems around the world, many individuals were left with very few options for their care, especially those who are immunocompromised (living with a weakened immune system).
With so many vulnerable individuals, digital health adoption is not a choice, but a necessity, and with more smart technologies becoming available each year it becomes increasingly possible to assist patients wherever they are.
- Over 50% of U.S. hospitals have a telehealth program
- 3 out of 4 ER visits “are either unnecessary or could be handled safely and effectively over the phone or video”
50 million Americans would be willing to switch healthcare providers to have access to a video visit
Healthcare application development and promotion fitness apps and
A year after the start of the pandemic, the world had seen a 25% surge in health and fitness app downloads, growing from four to five million mobile installations per day (Dec 2019 – Jan 2021). It’s reported that the mobile health (mHealth) market will reach a worth of $311.98 billion by the year 2027!
The largest rise was visible during 2020’s Q1 and Q2 in which downloads increased by 46%! India saw the greatest app boom with over 58 million new users downloading a health-related app and having an increased session time of 18% showing India as a developing country had rapidly become very health conscious.
App download growth by region in Q1 and Q2 2020:
India – 158%
MENA (Middle East and North Africa) – 55%
Asia-Pacific – 47%
Europe – 25%
Americas – 21%
Rest of the world – 43%
Digital health (vaccine) passports
In an effort to get life back to the way it was pre-pandemic, companies around the world are developing apps that will be able to provide airports, borders, stadiums, and nightclubs with proof of the users’ current health status.
By having proof that an individual has gone through a vaccination procedure, locations around the globe will be able to work together to prevent the spread of C19. Additionally, by having this information available on an app the risk of false documents and the risk to individual security can be significantly reduced.
Example of a Vaccine Passport: NHS Covid-19 APP
The NHS App was released on the 24th of September 2020 with the aim of contributing to the nationwide track and trace objective. The app works by using built-in Bluetooth which is required for the app to work. When individuals come within proximity of another user, the transfer of data will result in an alert to isolate if 11 months after the release of the NHS Covid-19 App Statista released a report revealing statistical insights and user trends of the app.
- 27 million downloads across England and Wales
- During the week beggining July 12th more than 600,000 alerts to isolate were sent
- 22% of users claimed to be using the app incorrectly
- 1 in 10 users have deleted the app
As of May 2021, it was announced that the NHS App may be used as one of multiple means for British travelers to prove vaccination status and negative test results when going abroad. This will be called a vaccine passport.
How do vaccine passports work?
Just like any mobile application, vaccine passports ask users to provide basic information such as their name, email address, and date of birth. By collecting as little information about an individual as possible, and using security such as blockchain (which works by utilizing the principles of cryptography, decentralization, and consensus), it is very hard for personal data to be exposed, stolen, or lost.
Watch this video by the Wall Street Journal to see a vaccine passport in action.
Digitization of healthcare premises leading to more efficient treatment
Healthcare venues around the world are beginning to utilize technology and big data insights to provide a better experience for their patients, visitors, and staff. By removing pain points such as navigating endless hallways and implementing solutions for appointment reminders hospitals are providing a new kind of care for all while allowing staff to remain focused in the busy environments. By becoming more aware of how patients and visitors feel, healthcare venues can begin to eradicate the issues that affect operations and free the burdens that come with a visit to the hospital.
A great example of the global initiative is the UK’s first indoor healthcare navigational solution CHS Maps. The Croydon Health Services NHS Trust launched this solution in August of 2021 providing patients and visitors with numerous options for easily finding their way around. On their promotional page for the service, Croydon has explained there are three ways in which this service can be used:
The growing role of data in individual health and how we live
Based in the UK, The Health Foundation (THF) has made it clear that there has been a major attitude shift toward the use and implementation of AI-driven technologies to benefit patient experiences and healthcare priorities.
Despite the noble aim for creating a better patient experience for all, the general acceptance of technology in this space will take time, so we’re going to list the benefits and negatives of implementation.
So what are some of the benefits of including big data in healthcare?
- Solving patient inequalities: With a wide variety of communities and groups in most healthcare systems, there are pre-existing issues when it comes to access to appropriate care as well as having access to technology. By utilizing big data and AI technologies, decision-makers can plan to become more inclusive and make changes to solve inequalities.
- Patient risk prediction: By identifying patients that are at a high risk of contracting or transmitting diseases, healthcare officials, clinics, and government officials can be alerted for early intervention to protect them. Existing data sets for geographical cohorts will be invaluable to this.
- Quicker diagnosis with Electronic Health Records: Records that contain patient medical history, allergies, diagnostic test results, previous illnesses along with other details will be accessible (but not modifiable) by doctors and are only shared using secured information systems. The benefits for patients using EHR’s are that individuals can be updated on upcoming doctors or diagnostic visits and even track their prescriptions. Additionally, EHR’s will lead to a reduction in healthcare costs as understanding large patterns in community and national health will enable a greater understanding of patient health and a reduction in unnecessary treatment or hospitalization, saving healthcare systems loss in revenue each day.
DNA testing & personalized medication
Personalized medication (PM), also known as precision medicine is a new healthcare model which works to best deliver treatment for an individual based on their requirements, rather than providing treatment based on the understanding of how drugs affect diseases and work among the masses.
“One area of personalized medicine is called pharmacogenomics, which improves medications through genomic testing.” – News Medical & Life Science
Watch this video by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to get a better understanding of how PM works!