Technology is transforming the world and It’s a reality that is unfolding rapidly. Whether it is our personal lives or businesses across the world, there is no denying the impact of technology on us. With digital transformation, we are seeing technology facilitating and easing certain tasks, improving productivity and efficiency, and changing business operations.
With the entry of digitization, the world has not been the same. There are no two ways about the fact that the world will be more digitized in the near time to come. So, it leaves people with no choice but to adapt to the new ways of this world. This is the challenge that various businesses across the globe are facing, and healthcare is no different.
Where is the Healthcare Industry in Terms of Digitization?
The medical and healthcare sector has been able to start its journey of digitalization with a foray of high-end technology solutions. These technological improvements have changed the face of the health industry and disrupted the hospital sector by providing tech-savvy solutions that can deal with the existing problems.
Digitalization has paved the way for the healthcare industry to flourish. According to the report by IBEF, the healthcare industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% from 2016-2022. It is going to reach the $372 billion mark by 2022 end.
One of the primary reasons behind this exponential growth is the adoption of state-of-art technology to cater to the changing and rising preferences and requirements of the consumers.
The amalgamation of digitalization with healthcare is reducing the communication and physical divide. So, it is contributing to the betterment of patient care service.
What are the Biggest Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry?
The healthcare industry is facing various changes that are posing brand new challenges to medical organizations, small or big. The technological innovations, the rapidly evolving regulations, and patient expectations can create a new environment in which managing medical practice is not only about treating patients.
Here are the top challenges that the healthcare industry is facing.
Even though data breaches, ransomware, and other cybersecurity concerns aren’t anything new to the healthcare world, the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled how vulnerable the sensitive health information of a patient is. The recent improvements in digital health initiatives are a prime contributor to the increase in breached records.
If a breach occurs, not only is it going to compromise patient information but also faces a significant penalty if you are found violating the compliant standards that regulate the industry.
As the coronavirus pandemic is encouraging minimum human interaction, adoption of telehealth has increased from 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020%. As the future implication of COVID-19 is still uncertain, it appears like telehealth adoption will keep growing. As a matter of fact, 76% of the consumers say that they are moderately or highly likely to use telehealth features in time to come.
Nevertheless, the telehealth industry still faces prime issues, such as an uncertain regulatory future and a digital health bubble.
Payment Processing and Invoicing
Medical practices cite the patient collection as the top of the revenue cycle management problem since patients are largely responsible for a significant portion of the medical bill. For encouraging patients to submit their payments on time, providers should abide by patient payment preferences.
To cater to the expectations of patients and improve user experience, healthcare facilities are now using paperless statements and various other payment options through the online patient portal and use the latest payment technologies.
But it is often costly and challenging for medical practices to set up such payment processing and invoicing systems in-house. They have to negotiate the terms with the payment processors and create the infrastructure. They also have to deal with the ongoing administrative cost to maintain such technologies.
The medical insurance field has undergone some significant changes recently. Since more patients are paying for their healthcare bills, they are demanding better services.
So, healthcare facilities are going to face tougher competition when it comes to retaining and attracting patients who are demanding an experience at par with other consumer brands. They want a streamlined patient service.
Healthcare organizations that are providing services in different locations should make sure that their employees have updated patient information from a centralized location. For this, the healthcare facility needs a patient portal that will keep the details in one place.
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How is AI Playing an Important Role for Doctors and Patients in Healthcare?
The impact of AI in the healthcare industry is life-changing. In healthcare, artificial intelligence is effective in areas of diagnosis, early detection, prognosis evaluation in diseases like cardiology, cancer, and neurology, and treatment.
With big data analytics, it is possible to gather relevant details. Also, AI can help in incorporating self-correcting facilities and abilities auto updation of medical details in various healthcare devices. It can reduce therapeutic and diagnostic errors, predict health outcomes, and create real-time health risk alerts.
AI in the healthcare industry helps in restoring controlling movements in patients having quadriplegia for regulating upper-limb prostheses.
With AI, it is easier to diagnose heart disease through heart picture and come up with a treatment through automated editable ventricle division.
What are the Trends We are Currently Seeing in AI in Patient and Hospital Management?
Amidst the growth of AI, a strong place for innovation is crucial at this point in time. So, healthcare is experiencing changes similar to other industries. Some of the trends shaping the revolution include-
- Diagnosing: AI has been deployed in a few hospitals for diagnosing critical diseases. This is beneficial as it is more accurate in detecting a condition at an early stage.
- Data Mining: AI is being used in data mining medical records: ResolveData is helping various healthcare organizations to apply cognitive technology for unlocking various health data for powering diagnosis.
- Personal Trainers and Health Assistants: AI-based chatbots are used as personal trainers and health assistants. A few of the use cases of chatbots in healthcare are scheduling doctor appointments, identifying the condition on the basis of symptoms, and providing medical reminders.
- Surgical Robots: AI surgical robots are conceptualized by various technology companies by leveraging the capabilities of Machine Learning applicatio
- Drug Discovery: The increasing application to AI technologies can be seen in drug discovery, too. An AI startup, Helix uses machine learning for responding to verbal requests and questions. This increases research efficiency and improves lab safety.
Are There Any Big Challenges for AI in Hospitals?
While AI has brought great benefits, it has posed significant challenges.
- Errors and Injuries: The primary risk is healthcare with AI systems can sometimes be wrong and that will result in healthcare issues and injuries. In case AI recommends the wrong drug for the patient or fails to notice a tumor, the patient’s life might be at risk.
- Data Availability: Training in AI systems needs a large amount of data from sources, such as pharmacy records, electronic health records, or consumer-generated information. However, health data can be problematic.
- Privacy Concerns: Another risk is privacy. The need for a large amount of data can incentivize the developers to collect it from several patients. This leads to the concerns of data privacy. Previously lawsuits have been filed between big healthcare facilities and AI developers. AI can also predict private information.
- Professional Realignment: Longer-term risk involves a shift in the medical professional. Some medical specialties are likely to shift when much of their work becomes automatable. Experts are concerned that AI use will result in decreased human knowledge. So, providers will lose the ability to detect and correct AI errors and develop medical knowledge.
How will AI transform Hospitals in the Future?
AI can now reveal patterns across large amounts of data that are too complex or subtle for regular people to detect. Here are the three major ways AI is going to transform hospitals in the near future.
AI-Powered Predictive Care:
AI and predictive analytics help in understanding the various factors in our lives influencing our health. In the future, healthcare systems will be able to anticipate when someone is at risk of developing a chronic disease.
Network Healthcare Facilities and Connected Care:
comes to another invention related to where the care is going to take place. In the future, a hospital will no longer be one building covering a wide range of diseases, rather it will focus care on complex procedures and acute illness, while less urgent cases will be treated in smaller hubs. These locations will be connected through digital infrastructure.
Better Staff and Patient Experience:
AI can ensure a better work experience as they won’t have to suffer burnout because they have to help too many patients with fewer resources. This will also lead to better patient care. AI powered predictive healthcare networks will help in reducing wait times and take over the administrative burden.
In 2021, we were a long way from adopting AI in healthcare. But now, it seems like the day when AI in healthcare becomes a major component is not far away. Even though AI implementation comes with certain challenges, slowly many healthcare facilities and individuals are adopting artificial intelligence tools that can diagnose issues and analyze clinical reports.