Ready for Digital Healthcare?
Are We Ready for Digital Healthcare? It’s Time To Make The Switch.
These days, technology touches every aspect of our lives. From the cellphone in your hand to the smart car you drive, technology continues to make extraordinary strides every year, and we adapt right along with it. With advancements such as these ingrained into our daily lifestyle, it should come as no surprise that we now need to get ready for digital healthcare. It is only natural that technology has found a way to evolve and change the landscape of our healthcare system, but are we ready for digital healthcare and the impact it will have on our daily lives?
What is Digital Healthcare?
Digital healthcare is an umbrella term that encompasses the convergence of people, connectivity, technology, and information. These elements come together to improve the patient experience through an increased efficient tracking and managing system and enhancing healthcare without having to visit a doctors office as frequently physically. Everyday technologies such as phones, big data analytics, and internet cloud storage systems play a huge role in how digital health operates. Utilizing a myriad of different technologies, a digital healthcare platform allows patients to meet with their doctor through email, video or phone thus eliminating a lot of the stresses that are involved with physically visiting an office. With these advancements, we are beginning to see less and less of traditional healthcare services as many people are making preparations to get ready for digital healthcare.
Has Traditional Healthcare Made Us Ready for Digital Healthcare?
Traditionally when we get unhealthy enough to call a doctor, we do just that. We pick up the phone, call the office, and make an appointment to see a doctor. Sometimes these appointments are at inconvenient times, or perhaps at the office, you spend an absurd amount of time sitting in the waiting room, or maybe you encounter someone sick, and now you are even sicker. Whatever the reason, visiting a physician’s office for a traditional appointment can be riddled with complications that are often outside of your control. We must make these appointments when we are sick, as we need to be seen by a healthcare professional that can provide us with the medical attention our bodies need to recover. However, what if there was a possibility of skipping the face-to-face traditional doctors’ office visit? This concept is the basis for the digital healthcare revolution that is currently shaking the foundation of conventional healthcare. Digital healthcare provides people with an alternative method for seeing a doctor: they can see them digitally.
Patients will be able to work with their provider in a digital space and not only compare provider quality and prices, but also make more informed choices for their healthcare.
Why is Digital Healthcare so Transformative?
While face-to-face doctor’s visit still exists, those who have accessed digital healthcare have much success with their applications. “Those who have embraced digital health tools have been able to monitor their health and keep doctor’s informed with real-time data and the latest updates while decreasing the number of office visits and curbing long-term healthcare costs.” (1) The static nature of traditional doctors office visits has been transformed into a digital landscape of information, and connectivity between patients and their caregivers. The switch to digital health has provided doctors with access to information that patients do not need to come to the office and provide making this new healthcare option.
Pros of Digital Healthcare
- Easy Doctor-Patient Communication: Patients can log into their portal to schedule appointments to have interactions with doctors in a timely matter.
- Real-time Access to Results: Once a patient’s tests are completed, they will have access to labs, data and any pertinent information about their health that they can track and stay current on.
- Digital Recommendations from Specialists: Doctors can refer their patients to other digital doctors sharing records, notes and any information that is relevant.
- Online Record Access: Patients can access their records at any time, from a safe and secure cloud storage device.
Cons of Digital Healthcare
- Concern Over Security Of Online Records: Many people are concerned that their cloud storage device will be hacked, and their medical records leaked or stolen for nefarious reasons.
- Too Much Transparency: Many doctors write shorthand notes for clients files. There is a concern that patients could get upset or misunderstand how a doctor communicates about their visit.
- Client Confusion Via Digital Communication: An email or a call can sometimes be miscommunicated. Without any face-to-face interaction or body cues, much could be lost in translation.
- Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction: The digital space carries the risk of dehumanizing care. The doctor-patient relationship may be lacking, and the process becomes transactional instead of intimate and personal.
For many years, the infrastructure has slowly been built to get us ready for digital healthcare. The health industry is under a lot of pressure to reduce costs but also provide improved patient care, and this could be provided digitally. The trend for digital healthcare has paved a path for both patients and providers use this new platform to improve health services in both the short and long term basis. Potentially, the use of a digital health platform could assist in early disease prevention and behavioral changes that can prevent and eliminate costly healthcare bills. Patients will be able to work with their provider in a digital space and not only compare provider quality and prices, but also make more informed choices for their healthcare. While we are not quite there yet, we are definitely making strides to get ready for digital healthcare and all it’s implications.