The Emergence of Digital Health Care: Current and Future Trends [Infographic]
In the health-care industry, there has been an increasing shift from illness to wellness. People are beginning to look at other options for managing their personal health, resulting in increased adoption of virtual care options.
This resulted in the emergence of digital health. Digital health is defined as the integration of digital technologies within healthcare and living wellness. The purpose is to enhance the efficiency of personalized care and medicine to assist in managing illnesses, promote health, and wellbeing. These technologies can include software solutions and services like telemedicine, mobile applications, wearable devices and remote monitoring sensors.
This article will discuss the current healthcare trends involving digital technology, and the future trends we will see in the next decade as digital healthcare continues to evolve.
Current Digital Healthcare Trends
TREND#1: FROM OLD TO NEW
In the most recent years, current trends of digital health are starting to demonstrate a shift from non-adopters of technology to current digital health users. According to a National Physician survey in 2014, 75% of Canadian physicians have begun using electronic medical records instead of the traditional paper method. With the use of electronic medical records, it is suggested this will increase productivity and keep a better track of each patient and their records.
TREND#2: CHANGES IN PATIENT’S NEEDS
This advancement in digital health is due to a change in the patient’s needs. They require more attention and higher quality healthcare. They want to see changes in the overall procedures and more immediate attention when requesting assisting.
A report by Transcend Insights, 93% of patients with healthcare providers had full accessibility to their medical history. Majority of patients believe it is extremely important for health care providers to know their full medical history in order to receive high-quality healthcare.
TREND#3: ADOPTING TECHNOLOGY
A study by Rock Health demonstrated 46% of consumers reported to be digital health adopters, whereas the number of digital non-adopters was 12%. This indicates an open-mindedness to adopting technology order to manage their own personal health.
Furthermore, in the Transcend Insights report, 74% of patients stated it would be helpful for doctors to have access to this information – extracted from digital health devices – to ensure it is a part of their medical history.
In summary, this demonstrates two needs. Firstly, a rise in the desire to manage personal health using a digital device and secondly, the importance of healthcare professionals to have access to this information.
TREND#4: THERE IS SOME DOUBT
While these current trends show a strong need for the integration of digital technology into health care, there has also been discussion over the harm that may come along with this advancement.
According to Pew Research Center and Imagining the Internet Center, their report observed the opinions of 1150 technology experts. When asked about the impact of digital technology in health care, there was a small margin between harmful and not harmful. Out of the technology experts, 47% suggested that an individual’s well being will be more helped by digital life. Whereas 32% suggested that an individual’s well being will be harmed with digital life.
However, among those who believed digital technology will be helpful reasoned that digital tools are used to find solutions to problems which can assist to enhance overall lives and improve productivity.
Future Digital Healthcare Trends
TREND#1: Emergence of Personalized HealthCare
In addition to current trends, future trends have become evident in the next decade to come. For example the emergence of personalized healthcare. As stated before, with a strong desire to adopt digital technology among consumers and patients, there are estimated to be 250,00 health applications available on mobile.
However, this also raises concern as these applications do not carry clinical validation which implies that physicians and nurses do not have training in mobile or digital health.
TREND#2: DIGITALIZE CLINICAL PROCESSES
Despite so, another future trend in digital healthcare is the integration of technology into the actual healthcare clinical process and medical routine. This suggests a rise in technological solutions for medical documentation and workload to allow doctors to give full attention to their patients.
Optum Reports stated that with virtual care, this can provide 20% faster appointments resulting in a 60% decrease in missed appointments and a 25% reduction in hospitalization rate and length of stay.
TREND#3: AI TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE
Finally, there will be a future trend towards the advancement of AI such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and robots to combat depression, assist in ageing, stroke rehab and even surgical procedures.
According to Rock Health, AI companies have raised their budget to $2.7 billion in 206 deals between the years of 2011 and 2017 suggesting that by 2026, U.S healthcare involving AI applications can create up to $150 billion in annual savings as it helps the productivity of frontline clinicians.
AI technology can revolutionize the experience of health care, with patients receiving quicker clinical aid or diagnosis, it can also impact workflow and administrative tasks, and advancements in surgical processes. By the end of 2025, the market of digital health will be estimated to reach $536.6 billion.
What does this mean for UX Design?
With the emergence of digital health care, this will soon change the UX sector and become a key component in how this advancement will affect society. Digital health care will increase opportunities and develop new areas of UX work. UX design will impact the needs of patient’s and will affect the outcome in their experience with healthcare. This will ultimately affect everyone’s quality of life.
TREND#1: IDENTIFYING PATIENT’S NEEDS
As stated above, the patient’s are beginning to change their needs and wants. UX Design has the capability to identify these needs and paint points, especially with a growing number of diverse patients. UX design can provide solutions that will allow patients to gain control over their own health experiences and wellness.
TREND#2: PROVIDING SOLUTIONS
Eventually, UX design will be a necessity to create a seamless connection between patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and digital health. Especially with individuals beginning to demonstrate a desire to manage their own health with mobile devices, this shows a need for better user experience.
TREND#3: NORMALIZATION OF HEALTH DEVICES
With more health-related apps emerging on mobile and becoming more readily accessible, UX Design can assist in the normalization of personal digital health. Currently, there are devices that manage health from the number of steps walked, to the amounts of hours you sleep every night. These applications are still in the early stages of its greater potential and can eventually produce greater means of managing one’s own health.
In summary, in the next couple of years as digital health continues to grow and as it begins to integrate more advanced technology, UX Design will also find a greater purpose in this fast-changing industry. Patient’s and health care professionals are demonstrating a desire for greater solutions in the health care process. But there is also a desire to find ways to receive and provide higher quality health service. UX Design can assist in this mission, by solving the problems they may face and to design for better user experience in healthcare.
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