Technology is transforming every aspect of our lives, from our personal lives to our professional lives - and of course, it’s completely transforming our health too. Thanks to the rise of health apps, smart monitors and even smart pills (yes really!) technology has had a huge impact on the healthcare industry in recent years. It’s putting the patient in control, resulting in a new, patient-centric style of healthcare that’s influencing everything from diagnosis to decision making and delivering better, more efficient care. From capturing data in real-time to analysing feedback and empowering patients, technology such as AI is truly transforming the healthcare fieldwork industry as we know it. In this blog we look at artificial intelligence, its impact on healthcare and how it’s changing the medical landscape forever…
Improving patient experience
Thanks to technology and artificial intelligence, software such as NarrativeDX now exists that can help hospitals instantly analyse patient feedback in order to improve or prevent future problems related to their experiences. By gathering insights and collecting instantaneous feedback about the quality of care patients have received, workflows can be improved to transform healthcare - and by automatically uploading all this information to a dashboard that identifies actionable insights and opportunities for improvements, patient experience can change for the better. But it’s not just the patients who will benefit: such technology will also have a positive impact on entire facilities too, helping hospitals prevent lost revenue, decreasing referrals and even reducing physician burnout.
Providing real-time access to medical knowledge
In the near future, digital technology and AI could be further used to improve patient experience by providing real-time access to medical knowledge too. For example, AI in the form of virtual care assistants could be used to inform and educate patients, ease their anxiety whilst receiving treatment and even empower them to participate in their care. From answering routine questions about diagnoses, expected recovery times and daily medication schedules to acting as a data repository for the patient’s medical history, test results and appointment schedules, AI technology can help to empower patients and their families and make them feel more in control.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll already know how popular wearable devices have become. From Fitbits and Apple Watches to handheld heart monitors, wearable devices are becoming more popular by the day. It’s official: in 2018, we prefer our healthcare on the go. But it’s the real-time data from these devices that is truly transforming the industry by allowing physicians to monitor patients remotely - and AI has the ability to take it one step further by constantly monitoring data to alert hospitals and caregivers to any changes as and when they happen. The Apple Watch Series 4 is a prime example: if you fall over it delivers an alert which allows you to call emergency services, and if you’re immobile for more than one minute following a fall it will automatically notify emergency services as well as sending a message to your loved ones letting them know your whereabouts. Such developments will result in more efficient care and even better outcomes by predicting patient harm or deterioration and suggesting suitable interventions, completely revolutionising the healthcare industry.
Improving smart devices
Smart devices are taking over the consumer environment. From self-driving cars to real-time videos of the inside of your fridge, there’s a smart device for everything and these devices are unstoppable. But they’re also having a pretty big impact in the medical environment too. From monitoring patients in the ICU to identifying deterioration and even spotting when conditions such as sepsis are taking hold before they’ve even happened without the need of time-consuming tests to confirm it, AI is making medical devices smarter than ever before. And thanks to these types of predictive analytics, AI is drastically improving patient outcomes and will continue to do so to an even greater effect.
Simplifying admission and discharge
One area where hospitals frequently stumble is in their admission and discharge processes, particularly when it comes to efficiency and patient satisfaction. Patients often complain about filling out multiple forms that ask for similar data, or receiving conflicting discharge instructions. But as hospital processes go digital, AI is improving hospital efficiency by improving admission, discharge and other processes. In the not-so-distant future, there will likely be no patient registration process, and AI algorithms will be automatically integrated into the discharge workflow. The result? Customised registration processes and discharge guidelines that are unique to each patient to drastically save time and improve patient satisfaction.
In conclusion, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are already transforming the healthcare industry - and there are set to be even more changes over the coming decades. With exciting new ventures such as the Amazon/J.P. Morgan/Berkshire Hathaway Bezos-Buffet-Dimmon healthcare partnership that aims to eliminate unnecessary and overly-expensive services without compromising outcomes, we predict that over the coming years there will be a continued effort to use technology to reduce inefficiencies and improve care outcomes - which will have a monumental effect on both patients’ and physicians’ lives.
If you are interested in implementing new technology into your next healthcare fieldwork project and would like to explore this topic further, you might find some of our other blogs on technology interesting as well: