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3 State-of-the-Art Technological Innovations that are Helping Physicians Streamline Operations in 2021

We live in an age where innovation is ramping up its pace on the technology front in a rapid manner. Like every other business vertical, healthcare too is quickly catching up with it.

In a recent research study, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found 2019 was the year that saw rapid increases in investment into healthtech and public well-being, as well as innovators leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to augment the functioning of their solutions/products.

Amid the ongoing Coronavirus global emergency, healthtech has attracted a huge number of stakeholders and innovators the world over.

Keeping up with the latest innovations and trends in the healthcare technology space is critical for medical practitioners in order to stay competitive in this ever-evolving market and be able to furnish the best possible care. It’s time providers jump on the tech bandwagon and start exploring ways that enable their staff to spend less time doing manual tasks.

Here are three such state-of-the-art technologies that physicians should be leveraging in order to expedite care delivery, improve outcomes, and streamline their day to day operations.

1.) Telehealth

Telehealth has emerged as a powerful tool the world over, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency.

Before 2019, the number of Americans who had used telemedicine services at least once stood at a mere 14%. As the pandemic began to wreak havoc across the US since March last year, the number of people who have participated in at least one telemedicine visit has increased to nearly 57%.

This progressive tech innovation has proved its potential on every single front of care delivery – right from making care more accessible for patients in a remote setting and serving as an effective means for the continuation of ongoing non-emergent treatments, to improving population health outcomes and ameliorating patient-provider relationships even in times when in-person interactions weren’t an option due to infection risks.

Telehealth platforms embed various important features that can greatly help physicians streamline both their workflow and patient communication. Some of these features are: in-app chat and media sharing, appointment scheduling, video calling, consultation reminders, quick access to patients’ medical history, EHR integration, push notifications, etc.

Dr. Vinati Kamani, in one of her recent articles for Arkenea, explains why mapping out what features you require in the first version of your application is absolutely essential:

“It helps to define the scope of your app, set up a development budget and timeline, and hire a telemedicine app development company to maximize your chances of success by building an app that is highly scalable in nature.

Developing your application incrementally also allows for greater flexibility and ability to incorporate the feedback received in the initial versions of the app into its future iterations to ensure the best user experience.”

These advantages only scratch the surface of what telehealth truly has in store when it comes to patient-centric, value-based care delivery. Therefore, this is definitely one tech innovation that should be on your practice’s radar in 2021.

2.) Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another tech innovation that has been making exemplary strides on the healthcare front in recent times.

From AI-guided diagnosing methodologies that function on histological and radiological analysis, to smart assistants and chatbot assistants that aid physicians in making healthcare delivery seamless – the applications of AI in medicine are numerous.

This progressive technology solution is also being employed to enhance various medical processes such as congregating and refining valuable patient data, preventing diseases and predicting the onset of an illness even before it starts exhibiting first signs.

Automation, which is another tech solution under the wide umbrella of AI, is helping healthcare providers take care of repetitive, manual tasks within their offices, and therefore reduce staff overtime and optimize the utility of each resource. This can also significantly mitigate physician burnout that occurs as a result of too many bureaucratic tasks.

Natural language processing (NLP), a subset of AI, when used in conjunction with sentiment analysis enables examination of online posts, reviews, public forums, as well as physician and patient comments across the web to find previously untapped feedback, ideal response rates, and incidents that can show you in a negative light or put your reputation at stake.

Condensing and processing this information further enables physicians to furnish decisions quickly and removes complexities from these aspects of the work of medical affairs in the life sciences and pharma industries.

Apart from the applications mentioned above, there are a lot of other fronts of medicine where AI is proving to be extremely useful. Therefore, forward-looking healthcare leaders can definitely think about incorporating this tech solution within their organization in 2021.

3.) Mobile Health (mHealth) and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Today’s patients are highly tech savvy. They are increasingly turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to meet their everyday needs. Healthcare is no exception.

Providers can easily turn this situation to their favor since mobile devices also give them the ability to directly access patient information and utilize data to the fullest. This further enables them to make intelligent care decisions.

A lot of healthcare businesses – small and big – have already begun using tablet devices to update charts, fill prescriptions and order tests. Physicians and their staff can use mobile health (mHealth) tools for carrying out day-to-day tasks such as patient documentation, order completion and checking past medical histories stored within patients’ EHRs.

Both patient facing and provider facing mobile apps are finding ever-increasing utilizations on the healthcare front. With the use of these apps, physicians can reduce chances of burnout by mitigating excess workload off their shoulders. Patient facing mobile apps can include generic fitness and health apps to dedicated apps such as prescription reminder apps.

Smart devices that fall under the umbrella of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) are equipped with sensors that gather particular health information such as blood glucose levels, heart rate, ECG, etc and transmit it to the corresponding mobile apps.

One such example would be that of Nemaura Medical, a UK-based medical technology company that aims to assist the 25 million Americans suffering from Type-2 diabetes with its BEATdiabetes program, which does more than just simply measure glucose levels.

The BEATdiabetes program consists of a noninvasive, daily wear glucose monitoring patch, which is used in conjunction with a mobile app.

In the patch, “glucose is extracted to the surface of the skin through a controlled diffusion process, where it reacts with glucose oxidase enzyme to produce an electrochemical signal,” explains Faz Chowdhury, Nemaura Medical’s CEO, in an interview for MD+DI.

This signal, measured in nano-amps, is sent by low-energy Bluetooth every five minutes to a smartphone app (Android or IOS), where it is converted to a glucose value, using a proprietary algorithm.

Nemaura Medical is only one among the many healthcare organizations that are now witnessing what the implementation of IoMT technology can truly do for medical professionals.

For now, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that mHealth apps and IoMT devices definitely hold the potential to greatly streamline operations and make patient experience seamless to another level.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are a lot of other tech-enabled solutions available in the market today that can greatly help physician leaders and their staff in carrying out their day-to-day tasks in a more seamless manner.

As a forward thinking leader, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest market trends, keep aware of what your counterparts are doing to attract patients their way, and be open to embracing and experimenting with the solutions you find fit for your practice’s needs.

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About Author

Dr. Leo P. Langlois

    Dr. Leo P. Langlois is an extensively experienced board certified physician and surgeon, graduated from brown university medical school, completed residency training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and fellowship trained at University of California Davis with over 27 years of experience treating chronic disabling conditions and chronic intractable pain who has run a successful private practice in Bakersfield, California since 2003.

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