Can digitalization harm the healthcare sector?

For airlines, banks and shops, the digital experience is slowly taking shape. Booking tickets, purchases and transfers is possible thanks to the app, which uses personal information and preferences for a seamless customer experience.

Unfortunately, until recently, this digital movement wasn’t really embraced by the healthcare industry. But the healthcare ecosystem is already evolving significantly with the development of new healthcare ERP software and the arrival of new players.

How digitization influences the development of the industry

New technologies have enabled truly significant developments in healthcare. Hardware and software are becoming more and more precise, enabling, for example, a surgeon to use robotics for the finest operations, or an oncologist to diagnose cancer in ever shorter times using software equipped with artificial intelligence (AI).

On the other hand, the traditional relationship between patient and doctor and between the practicing doctors themselves is changing.

  • Patients make an appointment with a doctor online, consult a doctor remotely and invite “chatbots”, robots equipped with artificial intelligence and able to answer specific questions or monitor files (pregnancy, appointments, etc .).
  • At the same time, teleexpertise allows for much easier and more efficient collaboration of different specialists involved in the same case.

So we see that new technologies can create a revolution in healthcare, and this transition raises new questions.

What can become an obstacle to the increasing digitization of industry?

At first glance, the protection of personal data still occupies a significant part of the attention. Storage and processing by AI-enabled software can have negative consequences if the collected data is not protected to the maximum extent.

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In addition to legal questions, other ethical, deontological and social questions need to be scrutinized. In a sensitive area like health, transparency, traceability and reliability of AI results are crucial. In addition, many employees are concerned about the future of their profession.

We will see that there is no shortage of innovation in healthcare. On the contrary, more and more companies like Intellectsoft are offering services that can improve access to healthcare or the quality of care. However, without a well thought-out framework, these initiatives are likely to pose significant risks.

Impact of new technologies on access to medical care

Booking an appointment online is one of the services that has developed the most in recent years. It is not difficult to understand the reasons for this success. From the patient’s side, making an appointment has never been so easy: contact via the Internet is faster than by phone (and without intermediaries) and allows you to see clearly the treatment proposals offered by the doctor, as well as the different time slots available.

On the part of the doctors, the tool enables you to reduce material costs and optimize the utilization of the practice, in particular through the management of cancellations. The concrete results of such a service are promising. Beyond simply scheduling appointments, new technologies in general, and the internet in particular, are enabling people to find answers to their questions — and solutions to their symptoms — in increasingly autonomous ways.

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From a simple search on specialized websites – with the associated risks of self-diagnosis or even self-treatment – to a telephone consultation, via video conference with a professional doctor, to telemedicine, patients no longer always have to travel to get an individual medical opinion. It is also an answer to the difficulties of some population groups.

Better health surveillance?

Technological tools have become indispensable to assist physicians in diagnosis by reducing delays and increasing the accuracy and reliability of results. In this way, the quality of care is improved with the help of intelligent tools that automatically detect malfunctions or anomalies.

Like “smart” home devices like Echo (from Amazon) or HomeKit (from Apple), wearable electronics are very present in the healthcare space. For example, new smartwatches offer highly accurate monitoring of users to enable them to lead a “healthy” lifestyle.

Thus, watches can monitor the user’s stress level, calorie consumption, heart rate, sleep rhythm and many other data, which together make it possible to create a very accurate “health map”. Some watches go so far as to warn the wearer if they detect an anomaly, or even call an emergency room on certain hypotheses (e.g. fall detection). The main investments of the web giants in the health sector are in line with the posed economic and social issues.

Focus on the challenges of the digitization of the healthcare system

There is an endless need for tools that can improve the functioning of the healthcare system. But digitization must be approached with caution.

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For example, new technologies across all sectors of the economy are raising many fears about the profound changes in jobs and relationships they are causing. Some professions will change – medical assistants, for example, are beginning to see some of their tasks already being automated.

Simple tasks can be automated – powerful artificial intelligence software finds solutions faster and with the same (or even greater) accuracy than a human.

And the question really arises as to how doctors and other medical specialists will continue to practice their profession. However, there is no doubt that medical professionals will play a fundamental role in experimenting and training AI for medical purposes in real-world conditions. And besides, the useful role of new technologies in the field of health care is obvious, it is impossible to ignore their potential.

Therefore, people should continue to adapt the medical profession, changing the ways of doing medical research and adding training on the use of AI. The development of new technologies will certainly lead to automation, but this can be solved by reorganizing institutions and the tasks of medical professionals. The digital transformation makes it possible to increase the productivity of the medical staff, for example by reducing the time spent on analyzes that could be carried out by powerful software.

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