Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 27, 2021

Everyone Wins With Digital Healthcare

While healthcare was once a monolith that patients had to try to fit into, the current trend is to put the patient at the center and to concentrate on their needs and work around them. With distributed healthcare, this trend has progressed to a better way of getting healthcare to those who need it.  

Where healthcare was once centralized, it is now more distributed. Patients' needs can better be met through distributing healthcare through sub-units that are smaller and local. The great growth of urgent care facilities to offer convenience outside of the major hospital setting is part of this added convenience. Having better flexibility can result in better outcomes for patients.  

Patient Choice 

Having more independence from the healthcare system and more freedom of choice can give patients choices for the services they use, the treatments they get and the providers they want to work with. The new paradigms of digital health and freedom of choice allows patients to see healthcare providers more often as telehealth makes seeing providers far easier and more convenient.  

The increased digital technology changing healthcare is a broad revolution with multiple devices now handling aspects of treatment, medication, diagnosis and consultation. New apps for phones increasingly take these tasks. These small revolutions are especially helpful to keep up with an aging population that increasingly stays home to receive healthcare.

Telemedicine Today 

Telemedicine has been around for a few decades, but it has never been easier than it is today. Healthcare providers are increasingly offering this service so that patients' schedules can be accommodated. Now that most people have the internet at home and have high-speed internet connections, this option has made engaging in telemedicine to be much more like going to the office for a visit.  

This aspect of digital healthcare can allow the doctor to see the patient easily in HD video and even conduct an exam with the help of the patient. With a good internet connection, patients can engage in healthcare appointments no matter where they are, and they don't need to miss work to have an exam. 

Home Healthcare 

The increased convenience of a more digital healthcare is especially important for many elderly people. They may not be able to get to a doctor's office or may have mobility issues that make it hard to go anywhere. Telemedicine isn't the only way to see a healthcare provider, but it does provide a different option for many types of healthcare appointments.  

For an aging population, there are many types of care that can be delivered at home. Family members are increasingly becoming caregivers for loved ones, and the burgeoning home health industry has been short-staffed to crisis point in recent years. Digitizing healthcare for greater distribution has been especially helpful for patients who are aging in place, i.e. staying at home at an advanced age. 

Electronic Health Records 

The electronic health record (EHR) has greatly moved digital healthcare forward, making a change in healthcare that has been welcomed by patients and healthcare providers alike. With the EHR, patients and their healthcare providers can access their records easily and stay up-to-date with the patient's medical history. 

Healthcare providers are using these records to improve the outcomes for patients and to give them a higher level of care, as new technologies analyze patient data to better predict treatment needs. And as healthcare fragments into smaller sub-units, with non-professionals entering the service as home caregivers and independent contractors, it becomes crucial for the EHR to reflect changes in real time.  

It took time for electronic health records to enter into widespread usage, but that hurdle has already been jumped. They are now in wide use and have become the norm rather than an alternative. The value of these records has clearly been seen by the healthcare industry with about 90% of healthcare providers using them today. Both patients and healthcare providers today expect to have access to these records. Practices that don't access the EHR have fallen behind the times and may not be very efficient.  

Changes in the Healthcare Industry 

As our demographics have shifted, the healthcare industry has also had to shift. Increasingly, our technology is moving the industry ahead and allowing it to be more patient-centered. Using the latest technology with modern treatment practices will allow healthcare providers to meet the needs of a modern population. Healthcare can now be provided just about anywhere that patients need care. Having more options is always desirable, and today's healthcare options are allowing for more people to access the care they need as well as to decide on their own health plans over the long term.  

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