The healthcare industry has taken longer than other modern industries to adapt and embrace the digital age that we are currently in.

For the longest time, healthcare organizations relied on traditional tried-and-tested methods. Over time, though, the effectiveness of these methods has dwindled.

This is something that hadn’t gone unnoticed by consumers, who have been pushing for access to digitally-enabled healthcare solutions.

It seems that the healthcare industry is finally ready to listen and, over the last decade, many health organizations have embraced a culture of digital transformation.

 

But there are some that stubbornly resist this trend.

These facilities are struggling to keep the patients currently on their books, and retaining new ones will soon be completely out of the question.

For example, according to a recent Black Book survey, 90% of patients no longer felt obligated to stay with a healthcare provider if they didn’t deliver an optimal digital experience.

The feedback of this study, and many like it, clearly showcases the need for a digital revolution in the healthcare industry. For this reason, many health organizations have turned towards the connected health model in order to improve the patient experience and better meet modern patients’ needs.

Connected health is a socio-technical model for healthcare management and delivery that involves using technology to provide healthcare services remotely and maximize healthcare resources.

 

This model also makes it easier for consumers to engage with clinical professionals by offering flexible solutions to modern problems, and it lets patients to self-manage their care more effectively.

Connected health options also allow physicians and other healthcare professionals to treat a larger pool of people with fewer resources. According to Orthogonal, thanks to advancements in medical software, doctors can now diagnose diseases and determine the appropriate treatment method with greater accuracy than ever before.

 

Despite the obvious benefits that the connected health model provides patients with, digitizing and updating services is an expensive process that not every facility can afford (at least not in the short term!).

Even companies that have the means to do it may struggle to identify the ROI and compile a business case for additional investments in healthcare innovation.

In fact, digitizing healthcare is so expensive it has been predicted that the industry will have spent $2.1 trillion on such initiatives worldwide by the end of 2019.

The truth is quite simple: health organizations need to embrace the connected health model to improve patient experiences and, as a result, retain and gain more customers.

The good news is that there are ways to be a part of the digitization of healthcare without breaking the bank. How? By observing digital trends in the healthcare industry.

There are many important interconnected digital trends in the healthcare space. Below we examine the biggest ones – the connected health innovations that we believe are here to stay.

 

Wearables and IoT

Wearable devices are hallmarks of internet of things (IoT) technology, and continue to enrich lives on a daily basis by redefining patient diagnostics, disease management and pre-emptive care techniques.

They use hardware, predictive analytics and mobile apps to provide patients with real-time analytics about their health. With so many options to choose from in 2019, and wearables for every budget, I think everyone within the healthcare industry understands the simple reality that wearables are here to stay.

And the only question health organizations should be asking is this: How can we leverage all the data collected across millions of devices to improve the quality of care for our patients and reduce readmission rates?

 

Telemedicine

Telemedicine technology enables remote diagnosis and treatment of patients through digital technologies. As others have argued before, telemedicine is profoundly transforming the delivery of care in the United States.

Telemedicine makes healthcare accessible.

For small fees, ranging from $35 to $70 dollars per televisit, consumers who would otherwise ignore medical symptoms are now significantly more likely to consult a doctor from the comfort of their homes.  

Some of the most popular telemedicine providers out there today are Teladoc, Babylon Health or Hello Alvin.

 

Mobile Apps

Healthcare mobile apps consist of multiple different technologies that aim to make healthcare more flexible and accessible, improving patient experiencing by fitting it around their current lives.

They can be used for many different things, from enhancing the usefulness of wearable devices, or on their own to help people take better control over their lives.

The functions of these apps may allow people to receive a diagnosis based on a common group of symptoms, give people updates about local hospitals, or allow them to have their prescriptions delivered to their home.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a big part of connected health due to its ability to perform complex tasks that normally rely on human intelligence. AI in healthcare can handle tasks that involves visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and the ability to translate between languages.

Executives in healthcare should not fear AI, but embrace it. It is very likely that 10 years down the road AI will permeate every single aspect of the healthcare industry. But until then, it is something we all need to talk about more and encourage healthcare executives to invest in.

 

Conclusion

To some degree, many facilities have already started to embrace connected health. However, there is still much more to be done if we are to continue improving the patient experience.

Building medical device software that enables professionals to transfer data across multiple devices, platforms and networks seamlessly and securely is absolutely essential for connected health. The future belongs to those companies with the clean vision to invest in the digitization on healthcare.