How health tracking technology will shape patient care over the next decade

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No one could have predicted all that has happened in healthcare this past 18 months. The unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic mean we now have fewer opportunities than ever to meet with patients. To meet this challenge, one valuable bridge between HCPs and patients that has emerged is a new generation of health tracking technology such as mobile health apps, artificial intelligence, epros, and robotics.

The median age of the global population is rising, and this aging population has more complex care needs. At the same time, technological advancements are skyrocketing, and changing how we deliver care. 

New developments in technology have made patient care more efficient and easier for HCPs who manage a large number of patients. This can be helpful in providing better care for the patients with more convenient and accessible options. In fact, in a survey of 600 nurses, 82% shared that they have a somewhat or very positive view of how technology is affecting patient care.

Here I’m going to highlight some of the initiatives that are set to change healthcare in the years ahead.

Healthcare apps

According to a study by GreatCall, a whopping 93% of doctors believe healthcare apps can bring improvement in a patient’s health. Another study, by Skycure, found that 80% of physicians are using mobile technology in the course of delivering patient care.

This use of smart devices and mobile apps by healthcare professionals is transforming clinical practice. From diagnosing or monitoring illness to making accurate calculations, managing their schedules, organizing health records, clinical documentation, and improving processes by ensuring direct touch-points with patients on a regular basis every aspect is covered with mobile applications and is transforming this industry.

There are apps that can help healthcare facilities to handle emergency cases much more efficiently. Using these apps, a facility can notify doctors about an emergency before sharing the patient data to the HCPs device, regardless of their geographical location. Just imagine how much time could be saved in getting the HCP up to speed without the need for any additional briefing. Also, the facility can save time in documentation and treatment procedures which can be crucial in emergency situations.

Healthcare app developers are taking the already accelerated healthcare industry to the next level.  

Electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs)

ePROs, or electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes, give patients the ability to answer questions and give reports throughout a trial, using their smart devices to create an electronic diary of the treatment experience. Adopting ePRO technology can keep patients engaged and actively involved in the care provided, all while helping healthcare providers better the patient experience by planning the next steps.

On another note, ePROs can benefit research staff. Researchers can define a cohort around the mutations, indications, and other characteristics from the given data. It also helps teams over time to understand, in real time, the toxicities associated with a particular drug regimen. As the patient-reported data is electronically available, it reduces the duplicate entry by staff and is more reliable, focused, and easier to interpret than paper sources. 

Finally, the data gathered from ePRO can help accelerate many clinical programs and can be shared with pharmaceutical manufacturers beyond the controlled trials and help them develop innovative new medicines.

Smart hospital

In previous decades, connected health models were just a utopian idea, but the acceleration of digital transformation in the pandemic is bringing the smart hospital concept to reality. So, what on earth is a “smart hospital”?

Smart hospitals create a more integrated, efficient space that better suits both parties (healthcare providers and patients), through the application of emergent tech like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things. McKinsey states that smart hospitals are not only being used to improve care delivery within the building, but to also connect to, and contribute towards, the broader healthcare delivery ecosystem.

The next decade will present new opportunities and technologies that create value and dramatically improve patient care. By integrating smart infrastructure technologies into hospitals, healthcare providers are going to be able to increase efficiencies, maximize patient comfort, and cope with the difficulties of tending to patients in a modern world. 

“Ambitious goals require new ways of working where staff, patients, and visitors are supported throughout their journey,” the McKinsey report states. “This requires the recognition of the vital role that the building, especially its digital systems, can play in the process. This new approach – where the building itself continuously learns and adapts to the constantly changing needs of its users – is heralding a new age of the smart hospital.” 

I can say with confidence that the next decade will present a new and improved healthcare system; one that creates value and dramatically improves patient care. This system will be executed by integrating smart infrastructure technologies to healthcare, for instance, moving to the cloud or to private data centers and managing centralized information. Through this, all healthcare providers will be able to increase their efficiency while also maximizing patient care. There are exciting times ahead.

Photo: fandijki, Getty Images

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