An organisation can bring vital changes into its operations, enhance its efficiency, optimise resources, and attain sustainability by adopting digital technologies. The pandemic has been a turning point for many industries across different sectors, as it accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.
For instance, a sector that has been showing an unprecedented pace in adopting digital technologies is the healthcare. Unlike others, the healthcare sector has unique requirements, and any change will impact patients’ safety, experience, and satisfaction.
It is also important to note that the patient-centric approaches in healthcare have made the adoption of digital solutions a necessity for healthcare providers. In addition, it will also enable them to strengthen its operations by integrating its verticals such as patient care, administration, human resources, data management, finance and accounts, and supply chain.
Currently, disruptive digital technologies have been instrumental in bringing vital changes in the sector through information platforms, virtual and on-demand healthcare, Artificial Intelligence and cloud-based services, wearable devices, and telemedicine, to name a few. Furthermore, digital transformation can also contribute towards carbon footprints reduction and sustainability goals.
Sultan Salim Al Owais is the Managing Director - Special Projects, EVOTEQ
One of the emerging technologies that have brought many significant changes in the health sector is AI. Besides enabling the healthcare sector to create bespoke healthcare services, AI plays a vital role in electronic medical records (EMR) and transformation of clinical documentation; facilitation of on-demand services enabling customers to consult with their healthcare provider at their convenience; allow clinicians to make informed decisions; reduce medical errors ensuring utmost patient care. It is also interesting to note that the energy-efficient, paperless environment, enabled by EMR contribute vastly to organisations' sustainability goals.
The healthcare sector can also meet the increasing demand for remote and on-demand health services through adopting emerging technologies. Smart solutions such as AI-powered chatbots, telemedicine and mobile applications with user-friendly interfaces will help healthcare industries to facilitate patient engagement.
Another major change that can be observed in this sector is the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) technology and robotics in medical treatments. While VR is seen widely in treatment for health issues ranging from pain to severe anxiety disorder, surgical robots are increasingly used for conducting complex surgical procedures that require accuracy and high precision.
Besides patients, healthcare professionals, clinical facilities such as hospitals and labs, and treatment models, one healthcare segment that largely benefits from digital transformation is the supply chain. By implementing digital technology in the supply chain, healthcare providers can deliver products or services to patients cost-effective and error-free. A digital supply chain can also improve data flow and analytics, provider-patient connectedness, asset tracking, and regulatory compliance in this sector.
The importance of efficient supply chain solutions was also reaffirmed during the pandemic when healthcare providers across the world faced shortages for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and life supporting medicines and equipment. Implementation of emerging technologies in supply chain such as track and trace solutions, healthcare organisations can streamline distribution of products, reduce delays and errors and control shortages to an extent.
In a research report published by KPMG titled ‘Healthcare sector on the cusp of a technology led revolution’, industry leaders from the sector underline the significance of digital technologies in ensuring the future readiness of the healthcare system. By adopting the latest advancements in technology, the healthcare sector can create new patient care models, which are efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable.