Digital transformation is everywhere and we are all aware that this reality is no longer reversible. Technology has been developing at a speed never before seen, reaching all areas of society, from industry to health. All sectors have been under enormous pressure, which forces them to renew and create new development strategies, in order to accompany a world totally different from the past, a more connected world and, above all, with more data and processes linked in network.
The National Health System (NHS) is no exception and it has also been forced to reorganize itself so that it can adapt to this new reality. Health is undoubtedly one of the main pillars of the country's democratic system and socio-economic cohesion. And as such, it continues and will continue to face a challenging future, from the steady increase in service needs, to the reduction of resources, to the limits on free and universal access to health services.
In this way, the institutions of this sector will have to develop a strategy, focusing mainly on improving patient experience, health professionals effectiveness and the quality of service evaluation system, making health care more citizen focused. But... How to make hospitals and health centers more efficient? How to innovate and create value in the health sector? These are questions that arise immediately when we put together the words "digital transformation" and "health" in the same sentence.
The integration of new technologies connected to the Internet, such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Business Intelligence offer solutions so that we can have a more efficient and innovative health system. The use of these tools will revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered, thereby helping to reduce costs, improve access and experience of using services, customize care, facilitate clinical follow-up activities and information professionals in the area, as well as providing users with access to monitoring, diagnosis and treatment activities. But above all, it will contribute to a better health service provided by each professional, to each citizen.
Ever wondered what it will be to have a more technological health system? What advantages will it have?
This transformation of the health sector will imply new opportunities for both patients and doctors or nurses. On one hand, it allows users access to new treatments. On the other hand, it forces the professionals of the area themselves to adapt to a new way of exercising medicine. One example is the proliferation of robotic systems that support surgery and that doctors are already becoming much more aware of the issue of technology inclusion and how they can help in the way they the provision of the best health care.
The use of more technological systems will allow the units to more efficiently manage the amount of patients in their facilities, in order to avoid the constant confusion we are accustomed to, as well as their waiting time and the number of times they have to go to hospitals or health centers. One example is the fact that more and more users are using mobile applications, sensors or medical devices that enable them to monitor and improve their health and well-being from anywhere, such as the known pacemakers, monitoring of electrocardiograms and glucose tracking devices, which will also contribute to this better management.
Thus, incorporating data management solutions will enable all health facilities, regardless of their size, to gather, organize, analyze and cross-reference all the information necessary to improve their performance. The list of available data sources is growing steadily, and this data also helps clinicians make informed decisions through algorithms monitored by technology systems.
In this way, it will be possible to develop a personalized and more efficient service to all patients and, at the same time, facilitate all the decision making of their professionals.
Welcome to the health of the 21st century!
Opinion article published in media Human Resources Portugal – April 5, 2017