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Healthcare of the future underpinned by innovation

Article-Healthcare of the future underpinned by innovation

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Tech companies enable healthcare providers to make the transition from hospital to the home or point of care.

The pandemic has shown us that healthcare demands can rapidly accelerate advancements in the industry. At a time of surging demand and cost-control pressures facing healthcare providers, the industry is undergoing a transformation made possible by technologies and innovation that are redefining healthcare for the future.

Hospital entities have begun to reevaluate their healthcare preparedness and how their healthcare systems work. The pandemic has highlighted that hospital infrastructure has not been built to sustain a large influx of patients for a long time, and this is a prominent concern today for healthcare providers.

According to the World Health Organization, it is projected that the proportion of the world’s population over 60 will nearly double from 12 per cent to more than 22 per cent over the next 30 years, which means that the industry is going to be further strained. There will be a larger population of people with chronic diseases going to hospitals for treatment. This type of demand is going to force hospitals to be more productive, more efficient, and make the best use of their resources and care settings. Operational excellence is going to hold core importance for the entire healthcare ecosystem.

Additionally, the healthcare sector in the MENA region is witnessing a phase of significant growth due to increased demand for healthcare services. A report suggests that the MENA region’s healthcare market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7 per cent from US$185.5 billion in 2019 to US$243.6 billion in 2023.

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Already, there is a trend where patients, taxpayers and insurance companies are demanding improved efficiencies at hospitals to reduce costs and wait times across the healthcare landscape. Hospitals are seeking ways to eliminate redundant tasks, minimise wasted resources and streamline processes to become more effective in their delivery.

Today’s hospitals were built for episodic, acute situations for a short amount of time. Hospital leaders are now realising they need to adjust to providing long-term care for chronic diseases. Hospital stays for many complex diseases now require longer treatment, especially specialist elderly care where demand is set to soar in the next 30 years. This approach is not sustainable due to limited bed availability and shortages of nurses and doctors. Unsurprisingly, there is a significant trend to move certain care and therapies from the acute hospital setting to less acute point-of-care, closer to the doctor’s offices and in some cases, to the homes.

To enable and facilitate this substantial migration to the home, novel technologies will be necessary. This is where technology companies come into play that can enable healthcare providers to make that transition from the hospital to the home or the point of care.

As we look into the future, we can expect hospitals to increasingly utilize more remote therapy, remote patient monitoring, and real-time information gathered from outside the four hospital walls, which will eliminate the need for patients to be at hospitals as often. Streamlining the process for providers to effectively deliver patient care in this way will help to increase provider satisfaction and reduce the amount of non-value-added work on their plates.

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Overcoming mental barriers to change and training hospital professionals on new processes will be a critical challenge to overcome for the industry. This is one area where innovative technology has a significant opportunity to bring about efficiencies and cost reductions. In the coming years, we expect more hospitals to adopt advanced technologies that will help digitalise the patient care ecosystem and plug the gaps to ensure effective and efficient care delivery. Accordingly, digital health centres and real-time monitoring systems, among other technologies, can improve healthcare outcomes.

Future improvements in diagnostic tools will be able to help diagnose some critical illnesses for patients and provide key information through remote devices to enable a level of information that patients do not have today. Additionally, with patient data and advanced data analysis, technology can help shed light on future health risks and play an important role in disease prevention.

Despite all the challenges and upcoming changes in the healthcare industry, it is an exciting time and opportunity to use novel technologies to help improve the health and well-being of patients worldwide. 

Charbel Rizkallah is the Senior Healthcare Director at Honeywell Sensing & Safety Technologies.

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