By Dan Matthews, Writer, Content Consultant, and Researcher
Although COVID-19 jumpstarted the digital shift in almost every industry, the transition failed to completely take hold in the field of healthcare. Whether because the healthcare industry had bigger fish to fry or because security concerns ran rampant, some healthcare facilities have yet to make the complete transition to a wireless network.
However, despite the issues surrounding the wireless adoption process, making the transition is becoming increasingly essential for healthcare facilities in today’s digital world. A wireless network infrastructure goes far beyond telehealth services; it has the potential to revolutionize the entire medical field.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of technology in the future of healthcare. We’ll also examine the obstacles facilities face in the big transition and how to overcome these challenges, giving rise to the new digital medicine experience.
Technology Will Play an Integral Role in the Future of Healthcare
Resistance to change is understandable, especially in the medical field, where professionals oftentimes must undertake great risk to reap the rewards of innovation. But it’s 2021, and a series of recent trends is driving digital transformation for medical knowledge sharing, education, and clinical decision support.
Partially driven by the rise in demand for remote services, along with heightened requests for online training on the part of physicians looking to keep up with continuing education, technology, and wireless systems are crucial to the future of healthcare. Increased patient load and paperwork are also stressors on the medical system that can be partially overcome with an increased focus on digital innovation.
Believe it or not, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April 2020, although medical professionals worked longer hours than ever before and optimized services, the American Hospital Association saw a drop in U.S. hospital revenue, down over $50 billion per month for four months. Clearly, system inefficiencies need to be rooted out to allow the emphasis to return to quality doctor-patient interactions.
However, technological efficiency is not just limited to wireless network connection, although going fully digital is one component of transitioning healthcare facilities to the digital world. Technology’s contribution to the future of healthcare promises numerous innovations, including:
- Developments in blockchain.
- Safe and secure data collection.
- Artificial intelligence, including chatbots and patient monitoring.
- Virtual reality for training doctors and soothing patients.
- And much more.
Data from 2019 collected by the Consolidated Health Center Program and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that only 43% of facilities were capable of providing telehealth medicine. That number stands in sharp contrast to the 95% of facilities that ultimately delivered remote medical services at the height of the pandemic.
Although transitions can be difficult, when undertaken with efficiency in mind, they can produce astounding results. However, concerns still surround the deployment of healthcare wireless networks, ranging from gaps in connectivity to security issues. Carefully planned network management and cybersecurity practices can create greater security, mitigating doctor-patient confidentiality concerns and avoiding HIPAA violations.
For healthcare facilities, a constant wireless connection is also necessary. A drop in connectivity can have disastrous consequences in the medical field. Facilities can address these concerns by ensuring their network is capable of supporting their current and future needs. As facilities adopt new equipment and procedures, their wireless network will need to keep pace to avoid connectivity problems.
Moving toward a full-on digital transition, strong information technology analysis is also essential. Networks, with the help of humans (for now), should be able to determine the priority of a device, as well as identifying which processes may be unnecessary or bogging the system down.
How to Facilitate the Transition Process
The digital transition can be a lot to fathom for medical professionals, which is why it’s lucky they won’t have to navigate it alone.
One of the top industries for information systems professionals is healthcare, where they’re highly in-demand to help manage increasing amounts of patient and operational data. High volumes of clinical and administrative data, along with heightened use of cloud-based management systems, means information systems professionals are necessary to streamline the wireless transition process in U.S. healthcare facilities.
Healthcare facilities nationwide would also be wise to invest in reimagined consumer empowerment in healthcare, starting with digital identity. What exactly is in the cards? Professionals are leaning toward creating “a health system that serves patients instead of patients serving the system.”
Wearable devices like Apple Watches can allow physicians to monitor patient conditions in real-time, from near or far. Seamless data and monetary exchanges via mobile applications allow for quick, efficient exchanges of information, between both patients and doctors and amongst the community of medical professionals. Sites like Yelp also host review services that help patients select reliable, affordable healthcare providers that work for their needs.
Not only are all of these processes automatically carried out and stored, but they’re also key components of transitioning to a fully digital healthcare ecosystem. Technology has great potential in the field of healthcare, and it all starts with the complete switch to a wireless network — that is, provided facilities can overcome the challenges they face along the way.