Last updated: 21.06.17

Healthcare: 6 ways digital is transforming the industry

As the digital landscape rapidly changes, so does the healthcare industry and how it operates. Here we take a look at how digital is transforming the industry.

Technology is evolving at a pace we’ve never seen before. Digital companies, super-fast internet and complex electronic devices are changing the face of technology and allowing businesses across all industries to work faster and better.

When it comes to the healthcare sector, advances in technology could be life-changing for patients, especially at a time when the NHS is under much strain. Digital technology that replaces the job requirements of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will help free up crucial time that could be spent on treating patients in the worst conditions.

In recent times, new tech companies entering the healthcare market (and existing players) have had to up their game in many ways, keeping ahead of trend at all times. Here we take a look at six ways digital is transforming the healthcare industry.

1. High-quality service

While medication is of course vital in treating patients, there is much more to healthcare than just handing out the correct prescription. By offering a service that considers a person’s lifestyle, diet and education (for example)’ and provides relatives with advice, patients are much more likely to be engaged and active in changing their lifestyles. Apps can help patients manage stress; find the information they need, chat to an electronic coach and learn about other support.

2. Real-world development

Today’s technology means that the development of medicine is excelling because manufacturers have access to a higher quantity of real-world data, which helps with understanding the effects of any given drug. Digital will innovate healthcare and drug discovery because it has the ability to constantly monitor signals and changes in the treatment of medicine.

3. Targeted marketing

In the past, sales techniques to private healthcare professionals and providers by pharmaceutical companies have required meeting with numerous reps from the same company - becoming a long-winded and drawn-out process.

Technology, however, offers a simpler and more flexible solution. Digital communication channels can provide access to samples and resources, with apps created to deliver personalised messages to customers at the right time using a suitable channel to increase revenue and reduce costs.

4. Better patient communication

There are many stages in which a patient must communicate with other healthcare professionals, from a first appointment with a doctor, to the surgeon that may be performing any procedures. Currently, this process is prolonged, and many patients are on waiting lists that enable their conditions to worsen. However, with the introduction of patient portals, apps and online communities, this process could become more efficient and much quicker, providing an overall improved customer service.

5. Improved research and development

Real-time technology can help speed up research and development (R&D) in healthcare, allowing clinical trials and supply chains to benefit from better operations planning. Not only would this improve inventory and service levels, but also productivity. When we look at other industries, a common theme is the digitisation of the supply chain. While this is a crucial step in meeting expectations, this also carries security risks.

6. Accurate treatment

Technology means that information is more easily generated and stored. In the past, medical information has been recorded on file, limiting the amount of information provided for each patient. However today, patients are able to receive more accurate and personalised care not only because of this, but also because they are able to measure symptoms themselves. Wearables, smartphones and other technology provide users with detailed information about their health.

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