The Top Digital Health Trends in 2018
How Healthcare Changed Over the Last Year
2018 proved to be a strong year for digital healthcare technology as more facilities tapped into the benefits of telehealth and telemedicine. We’ve seen some surprising and some anticipated digital health trends over the last year, and these trends will likely continue in the future.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
New digital healthcare systems are putting artificial intelligence (AI) to good use. AI programs are being used to assist surgeons during complex procedures, improving precision and accuracy. This could reduce a patient’s hospital stay by up to 21%. Other AI programs are being used to remotely monitor a patient’s condition and better inform patient diagnosis by looking over previous health records. These changes are improving efficiency and helping healthcare professionals cut down the costs of patient care.
Online Talent Recruitment
With a nationwide nursing shortage in place, facilities are turning to digital technology when it comes to recruiting top-tier talent. Using predictive data models that sort through an applicant’s record, employers can quickly find the team players they need without a lot of effort. These digital programs look for certain traits and skills in a pool of applicants, giving a boost to the most qualified candidates. This improves employee retention rates by linking facilities with skilled professionals that meet certain organizational needs.
Digital Innovation Remains Slow but Steady
A recent report shows that 85% of healthcare executives say digital innovation is tied to their long-term strategy, which speaks to the growing appeal and demand for digital healthcare technology. But the majority of healthcare professionals are focusing their efforts in two main areas: operational efficiency and employee benefits management. Just 2% of those surveyed stated that their progress toward a digital transformation was “complete in all areas”.
This shows that facility managers and healthcare professionals are struggling to adopt digital technology across all of their facility’s operations, choosing to focus more on operational efficiency than digital patient-focused care. As more healthcare professionals take advantage of these digital tools, they will focus on transforming more of their facility’s operations, including specific operations such as referral management, network utilization, patient-generated data, social outreach, and community support.
Digital healthcare technology has the potential to transform nearly every aspect of a facility’s operations, but professionals are easing into these changes slowly. This is in part due to the initial cost of digital healthcare systems, as some facilities may not be ready for a facility-wide investment. Based on the results of a recent economic report, the biggest challenge in adopting digital healthcare systems is the “lack of mature technology”. Simply put, many facilities do not have the technological infrastructure to make use of these systems.
Focusing on Chronic Disease Management
Facilities with telehealth systems in place seem more concerned with chronic disease management than general health and wellness applications. As opposed to preventing illness among healthy patients, this technology is mostly being used to remotely monitor the condition of patients with chronic illnesses. The most common health conditions currently being monitored include diabetes, mental health disorders, and heart and circulatory illnesses. Many healthcare facilities have yet to use telehealth as a way of helping healthy patients monitor their lifestyle and current health condition, but this may become more prevalent in the future.
Digital health technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace as more facilities recognize the value of these systems. Yet, most facilities seem to be gradually making room for this technology in their operations as opposed to rapid deployment. However, the data shows that participation in these digital programs will only continue in the years to come.