Healthcare has gained a boost during the pandemic. But not without the help of technology. As the industry quickly adopted disruptive innovations, the quality of medical service was improved. This led to satisfied patients and increased revenue.
Disruptive innovations in healthcare help businesses improve patient care and cut costs. For instance, IoT can lower the costs of operational and clinical inefficiencies by $100 billion per year. And that’s just with IoT alone. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of disruptive technologies that are shaking up the industry.
AI applications may end up saving $150 billion for the industry by 2026. The technology supports healthcare professionals in terms of accurate diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention.
Some areas of AI usage include:
The amount of medical data in healthcare increases each year. It includes electronic health records (EHRs), prescriptions, clinical research data, and more. The industry is failing to cope with such high data volumes.
However, AI is driving digital transformation in the healthcare industry and is capable of solving some critical challenges, like data storage, analysis, and management issues. Backed by big data storage capacities, AI algorithms can extract, segment, and arrange the data. Then, when needed, algorithms analyze the data and share insights into respective processes. This way, healthcare providers can spend less time on reviewing patient data, make informed decisions about diseases and treatments, and drive better patient care in general.
Another challenge is disease detection. AI technology measures and tracks symptoms faster and more accurately than humans, while AI-powered tools can find a disease even when a patient is asymptomatic.
The technology detects thousands of health patterns and is able to identify even slight signs of disease.
AI also contributes to early disease treatment. This helps achieve a higher survival rate, even for the most challenging diseases. AI models analyze real-time data, assess the disease type, characterize it, and suggest necessary treatments.
Some years ago, a Swiss company, Novartis, collaborated with an artificial intelligence solutions provider, IBM Watson Health. Their common goal was to advance breast cancer treatment. The duo created a cognitive technique that uses advanced analytics for real-world data. This technique provides better insights on the expected outcomes of treatment. It can also simulate the intake of complex drug combinations. Using this data, physicians can choose the right therapy for cancer treatment.
The collaboration was mutually beneficial. Doctors were introduced to new treatment techniques, and both companies developed new revenue streams. They were also able to expand their client base. For example, IBM persuaded Pfizer and Teva to use its software for drug research.
Increased productivity and efficiency of care delivery. With AI solutions at hand, doctors can spend more time in direct patient care and reduce burnout.
Structured and categorized data. With its computational power, AI can handle large volumes of data. Algorithms then categorize that data. Healthcare providers gain important insights from these categories, which helps improve internal processes and boost performance.
Lives of the sector’s key players simplified. AI has the power to perform tasks typically carried out by humans. However, performing these tasks with AI takes much less time and money.
Improved healthcare accessibility. AI helps mitigate the shortage of professionals in remote areas and takes over certain diagnostic duties.
You know what telemedicine is if you have ever used video calls for medical care. But telemedicine is not just about treating people remotely. It is used for follow-up visits, preventative care support, and medication management.
Telemedicine addresses some of the hottest healthcare problems, including rising costs, access to high-quality services, and the shortage of personnel. For example, remote monitoring can improve follow-up care and save money by reducing readmissions.
Just imagine, hospitals spend over $41 billion to treat patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge—$15,200 per patient on average. Implementing and using remote monitoring costs much less than this, making telemedicine a key part of hospital programs for combatting high readmission rates.
MHealth, a subset of telemedicine, is medical service delivery via mobile technologies. It makes healthcare services accessible anywhere, anytime, and at an affordable price. What's more, smartphone use is improving patient engagement.
During the pandemic, mobile apps played a critical role in controlling the spread of COVID-19. For example, some apps can locate people who may have come into contact with COVID-19. Apps also help capture data and track the movement of people, speeding up and improving the process of finding COVID-19 contacts. People could identify those who may have been exposed to the virus, so they knew to isolate and watch for symptoms.
Common use cases of mHealth and telemedicine in general include:
Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice successfully reduced hospital readmissions. They employed a remote monitoring system by issuing patients with tablets equipped with healthcare software and wearables to track their vitals. The program sends alerts to doctors’ dashboards and enables communication via audio, video, and messages. This way, patients receive further care, even after discharge from the hospital. This resulted in a twice lower readmission rate and total cost savings of more than $10 million.
Knodd, a Swedish startup, created a platform for child and parental healthcare. The app acts as a hub for new parents. It offers personalized tips and guides from child nurses and doctors, and provides digital parenting and child care courses. An AI engine aims to aid and empower parents in the early days of parenthood via video calls. The solution has quickly gained popularity among new parents with more than 100,000 installations in January 2022. The startup has also secured $600 million in investment.
Fewer staff, reduced office space, and budget savings. By utilizing telemedicine, doctors can treat more patients than they could through physical visits.
Improved patient satisfaction. Telemedicine may boost patient satisfaction and increase trust by offering shorter queue times to see a doctor. It also makes accessing care more convenient.
Added revenue stream. Telemedicine may attract new patients because it’s convenient. It may also serve as an incentive for current patients to seek treatment more often.
More patient engagement. Video visits are a good way to increase patient engagement. For example, patients are more willing to have follow-up appointments via video calls. They also prefer online treatment recommendations.
According to McKinsey, the healthcare industry spent $335 billion on healthcare IoT in 2021. By 2025, it is estimated to reach $1 trillion—a growth of 300%. It will be the stage for personalized and accessible medical care for everyone.
There are endless use cases for IoT in healthcare:
With their ability to solve some hot issues in healthcare, IoT devices proved crucial for the industry. One of the hottest is failing to comply with industry regulations. Organization-wide compliance ensures that every stakeholder follows proper procedure, with the goal of providing safe, high-quality patient care. IoT can provide automatic screenings to help providers comply with regulations.
Dealing with a high volume of medical errors is another area where IoT can win the race. In fact, medical errors are responsible for 251,000 deaths annually and are the third-leading cause of death in the US. Providers can automate various processes so that the chance of human error is negligible. IoT can also help reduce the number of mistakes by providing real-time patient monitoring and obtaining real-time data.
The industry also seeks to decrease operational costs. Healthcare expenses in the US have been rising for decades, and there are no signs of them slowing down.
The US spent more than $3.8 trillion on healthcare in 2020, and spending is expected to exceed $5 trillion in 2022. IoT has the potential to at least hinder that growth.
Automated real-time monitoring of hospital devices and assets is one method for doing so. Using IoT sensors, healthcare providers can get usage reports of their medical equipment. This helps maintain optimum operational efficiency and leads to reduced costs for healthcare facilities.
Philips’ e-Alert is a good example of how IoT can reduce inspection and maintenance costs. The system is a smart hardware and software-based tool that keeps a close eye on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system performance. Using sensors, it continuously monitors key system parameters: magnetic field, helium level, temperature, and humidity. If any of these parameters fail, technicians get notified automatically and can respond quickly. It also predicts and prevents any possible issues. If maintenance is required, service engineers receive alerts. One of Philips’ customers confirmed that using e-Alert helped them grow their revenue. They also managed to improve operational efficiency, reduce costly downtime, and scan more patients.
Lower costs. Using IoT, healthcare providers monitor patients in real time. This means fewer unnecessary visits to the doctor, hospital stays, and readmissions.
More productive healthcare providers. Using IoT solutions, businesses have access to better, more accurate data in real time. This enhances decision-making.
Fewer errors. With its power to automate, IoT solutions can reduce the number of errors, especially those related to human input. It also makes decision-making much more efficient.
Technologies are becoming more disruptive, and the industries using them are maturing. As innovations infiltrate healthcare, we will only see those innovations grow more beneficial for key industry players. Patients will enjoy high-quality, accessible care, and in turn, businesses will have more satisfied customers and growing revenue.