The healthcare consumer landscape is changing. Consumers want to be known and understood in order to get a personalized healthcare experience. Therefore, understanding consumer attitudes and preferences across the healthcare journey is key for not only improving the experience but also for supporting healthy behaviours, achieving better outcomes, and remaining competitive.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 Health Care Consumer survey, many consumers still find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system. Healthcare consumers want to easily access the information they need to successfully navigate the system and make informed decisions about their care. As such, there is demand for an environment in which health information can flow seamlessly among healthcare professionals, caregivers, and the patient.
As the 2nd quarter of 2019 kicks-off, it is crucial that healthcare organisations take into account the needs of these consumers when developing new care models. This, combined with innovative digital health solutions, will lead to future success in the industry. Technology holds many of the keys to making this a reality.
We would even go so far as to argue that technology and healthcare represent a marriage made in heaven. As a result, we’ve put together a list of 5 healthcare software solutions that every executive should be excited about in 2019.
A dull and monotonous waiting hall, the long queues, desperation to get inside the doctor’s chamber, gloomy faces of ailing patients; this is the picture one would imagine maybe a decade ago while paying a visit to a hospital.
Now with the help of mobile apps, doctors or healthcare professionals are able to speedily cater to medical emergencies and offer enhanced patient services. This way mobile apps have successfully brought in a digital revolution in the healthcare industry.
They are rapidly becoming an integral part of doctor’s practices. Like, starting from medical prescriptions and viewing blood reports and x-ray to track and monitor symptoms and patient recovery, these e-prescription apps allow doctors to diagnose patients, treat & monitor them for many common diseases while being on the move.
Consumers have become accustomed to accessing their data through the use of various digital tools, where the use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled from 13% in 2014 to 48% today. Catering to this growing market, British based start-up Babylon Health is making waves on a global scale. Partnering with the National Health Service (NHS) and private health provider, Bupa, it has also cemented its presence across the flourishing Chinese market, with a membership base exceeding 1.4mn citizens across Europe, Asia and Africa. By partnering with global juggernaut Tencent, Babylon’s artificial intelligence system has enabled both parties to interact directly with users, identify specific illnesses, deliver health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. The mobile app is available to over a billion users and linked to more than 38,000 medical facilities in China alone.
Voice is a huge healthcare marketing technique that’s been on the rise since smartphone and smart speaker were first released (with Amazon’s Echo first hitting the market back in 2014.) And, more importantly, it can be an effective tool in the industry. Voice search has become incredibly popular around the world and with 1 in 6 Americans now owning a smart speaker and 40% of adults using voice search once a day.
So how does voice search apply to the industry? Healthcare access is predominantly local.
In other words, most Americans look for healthcare options within the proximity of their place of employment or their residence. Since 20% of Google searches are voice searches in 2018, voice has become one of the main health technologies healthcare marketers must invest in come 2019.
If 1 in 5 are using voice to find out about healthcare options, it’s imperative that you’re not missing out on the potential customers.
Bottomline: optimize your marketing campaigns & landing pages for voice. With the rise in popularity of smart speakers and native voice search as a whole (Siri, Google Now, Cortana etc), voice presents some of the most amazing opportunities for healthcare executives in 2019 and beyond.
In 2018, a major breakthrough study showed that AI could detect skin cancer better than doctors. This study, published in Annals of Oncology, acknowledged that the testing was not being done on actual patients, but instead dermoscopic images which could skew the physicians’ work. However, the study is just the tipping point of how AI can help detect, and prevent, life threatening diseases.
AI engines can reduce and mitigate risk of preventable medical scenarios in three critical ways:
AI and predictive analytics have proven solutions that can help improve patient outcomes.
The European Union is set to invest $24 into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 in a bid to catch up with Asia and the US, who have invested heavily in AI and cloud services. This year, Google revealed its plans to harness AI and machine learning across a multitude of consumer technologies, particularly in healthcare. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.
The bottomline is simple: keep AI on the radar and utilize the concept as one of the main health technologies for you in 2019. There’s no signs of slowing down.
Blockchain in healthcare isn’t just useful for the hype it’s ramped up with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Instead, what’s exciting about blockchain is the digital record-keeping that creates the ledger of transactions that isn’t only transparent, but impossible to tamper with.
As healthcare organizations further embrace digital, and specifically blockchain, there are many areas of opportunity, including claims processing from a payer perspective and improving the exchange of patient information and data from a provider view. Blockchain is a definite way of the future when it comes to increasing productivity and operative ability across healthcare organizations.
Blockchain is here to stay with a variety of experts, some of whom are skeptical of bitcoin, claiming that the technology could fundamentally change the way that huge sectors operate – including digital healthcare marketing.
Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of virtual reality which encompasses surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training.
One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as refreshing existing ones in a safe environment. Plus it allows this without causing any danger to the patients.
One example of this is the HumanSim system which enables doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to interact with others in an interactive environment. They engage in training scenarios in which they have to interact with a patient but within a 3D environment only. This is an immersive experience which measures the participant’s emotions via a series of sensors.
Another popular use of this technology is in robotic surgery. This is where surgery is performed by means of a robotic device – controlled by a human surgeon, which reduces time and risk of complications. Virtual reality has been also been used for training purposes and, in the field of remote telesurgery in which surgery is performed by the surgeon at a separate location to the patient.
Whether it is for surgery or treating patients with autism, the introduction of virtual reality has been revolutionary in improving solutions where traditional methods have fallen. It’s also a safer way to treat patients for health-related issues. Healthcare is an industry in which “customers” are often anxious (think white coat syndrome) so having a virtual tour or example procedure could be hugely beneficial to calm the nerves of future patients and improve the patient experience. The possibilities with this technology are endless.
Healthcare providers have multiple opportunities to engage healthcare consumers to help them manage their health. The modern consumer favours inexpensive, easy-to-use digital health tools that fit seamlessly into their daily routine.
Engaging the consumer can hold profound potential benefits for healthcare – Deloitte
As organisations continue to evolve their strategies, it is important to consider:
Choosing a solution that is flexible and easy to integrate with pre-existing systems is key. It is also important to implement fit-for-purpose technology that is easy to use, convenient, reliable, scalable and cost-effective. This, paired with a robust clinical mobility strategy, is essential for achieving real success. Keep in mind, action also needs to be taken to increase awareness and better inform consumers about the current digital health tools that are available.
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