How the Healthcare System can be Updated by Digital Health Innovations

Blog / How the Healthcare System can be Updated by Digital Health Innovations

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    Sheraz Sarwar
    Sheraz SarwarDecember 15, 2021

    I ensure that our clients & developers are happy as we build exciting products.

    Digital health technologies continue to improve and expand. The developments come with a world of benefits, including quicker diagnosis and improved treatment plans. The world has become increasingly familiar with the concept of self-care and self-management, thanks to digital health technologies. 

    As innovation continues, the world will likely increase its reliance on health technologies. However, in the meantime, our healthcare systems are still running on paper records. 

    The foundation of healthcare systems is outdated. Many patient records are still kept on paper, and there are difficulties in transferring providers. 

    Without a cohesive healthcare system, digital health technologies can only achieve so much. Until systems are updated, implementing any tech developments nationwide is too big of a challenge.

    The Challenges

    Technologies can help improve healthcare globally. For example, AI can speed up the diagnosis of life-changing illnesses. However, this is only useful information if it is transferrable across departments and healthcare institutions. 

    Without key communications in place, important data comes to a standstill. Major challenges need to be addressed in order to feel the benefit of the most innovative healthcare solutions.

    Implementing Digital Health Innovations

    Segmented healthcare network

    In the US in particular, healthcare institutions operate very independently. Primary care facilities run separately from hospitals, and vice versa. Also, there is little to no integration across states. 

    This is partly due to a lack of communication platforms for the healthcare industry in the US. However, it is also down to the segregation of funding groups. Hospital integration will often depend on the insurance providers that they accept, or however they are funded. 

    As a result, communication across facilities is virtually non-existent. Primary care providers cannot provide information to all hospitals, even in the case of a referral. Unfortunately, this means that the patient may suffer. Physicians do not have access to the same information, and treatment is affected. 

    Paper records

    Many healthcare facilities still run on a paper health records system. Patients may have a file of data at each facility that they use. Important data may be secluded from other physicians, such as important allergy information or diagnoses. 

    Paper records present major security concerns. Paperless records can be kept secure on servers, but paper records are accessible by anyone. They are also easily disposed of, or misplaced.

    Also, paper records are often inconsistent. Errors are made easily. Each physician can write notes that suit them, but may not be easily translated. During a busy day, notes can be forgotten, and important information missed. 

    Ultimately, the patient will pay the price for poor record-keeping. Technologies like AI or VR can only be as useful as the records that have been provided.

    No back-ups

    Due to the fact that so many health records are kept on paper, there can be no backup of information. There are no widespread stores or files of healthcare data. 

    The newest technologies must rely on data of the nation’s health, in order to fully function. One example of this is AI technology. There has been research into programming Artificial Intelligences tools to diagnose disease. In this case, AI uses records of existing cases of disease or infection in order to recognise early symptoms in patients.

    Without a trove of vital data, many of the newest innovations will stall. Despite the potential for improvement in healthcare, and the benefit to patients lives, these digital health technologies cannot function properly.

    The Solution

    The overall solution to this problem is improved architecture. The current functionality of healthcare systems cannot support the speed at which the tech industry is innovating. However, there are solutions.

    Centralized database

    The biggest architectural change would be the implementation of a cohesive centralized database. Ideally, all healthcare facilities and physicians would have access to the database. 

    This would require a paperless system. As a result, it would take a lot of behavioural and best practice alterations. However, a paperless, database system for healthcare records would improve patient care extensively. 

    A paperless, cloud-based database would save time. Physicians would have one system to search, and data would be available immediately. This means that patients could receive equivalent care at every facility, as their data is accessible. 

    Implementing Digital Health Innovations

    Real-time data

    A centralized database could also give way to real-time data systems. This is a potential extension of a country-wide database. 

    Patient information, vitals, and health information would be accessible across the country. However, real-time data allows this information to be collated regularly, and accessible instantly.

    This system could be vitally important for department transfers, within the same or connected facilities. 

    Ultimately, patient data is what makes the healthcare system function. Widespread data access speeds up the current inefficient patient history searches. Treatment can be sped up, resulting in improved patient outcomes. 

    At Vertrical, we have teams of developers that are well versed in the implementation of digital health. Contact our experts today.



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