Health Tech, MedCity Influencers, Artificial Intelligence

Overcoming healthcare’s reluctance to technological change

To stay competitive and differentiate themselves, hospitals, physicians and practices must use technology to enhance the patient experience while simultaneously improving outcomes.

The onset of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic accelerated technological progress in our society in many ways. Online shopping has displaced traditional mom and pop, brick and mortar stores, food delivery services now play a prominent role in the dining experience, and businesses have been pushed into the future with remote, work-from-home employees.

In an effort to meet the needs of its patients, the healthcare industry was forced to expand its utilization and integration of technological innovation. One of the most prominent ways the healthcare industry has done this was by expanding telehealth. This evolution of technology within the healthcare industry made the patient experience, or UX, far more accessible during the pandemic, even though it required a crisis to force these changes.

While other industries have experienced similar evolutions and continue adapting and innovating with new technologies, the healthcare industry will need to follow suit and continue this momentum to keep pace.

The healthcare industry was due for a permanent change

While the utilization of telehealth services and other technology-centric services was an initial reaction to the onset of the pandemic, they have since become more commonplace tools for healthcare providers.

However, with the end of the pandemic now on the horizon, healthcare professionals and care recipients are left scratching their heads, wondering if these innovations and the changes they have brought to the healthcare industry are enough to continue meeting the needs of patients.

If these changes remain permanent, this begs a further question: How can the healthcare industry continue adapting and innovating technologies to catch up with the pace of innovation in other industries?

The benefits that would come along with this technological wave

Healthcare technology must focus on improving patient experiences. To stay competitive and differentiate themselves, hospitals, physicians and practices have to enhance the experience for patients while simultaneously improving outcomes.

Their investment in capital equipment for their offices is now becoming an investment in digital technologies that allow them to run a more efficient practice that delivers a better experience. This investment is an excellent step for an industry that desperately needs to catch up to other industries.

To witness how technology can be integrated to improve the UX of patients and customers within the healthcare industry, look no further than the multitude of functionalities provided by innovations through machine learning like artificial intelligence. AI can serve as a “guide” to help the healthcare industry improve its UX since each patient possesses a health background and profile that is subjectively unique.

This service is helpful due to the myriad unknowns that healthcare providers and patients face daily, especially for patients needing more extensive, invasive or higher-risk procedures. At the very least, this could be an additional steppingstone in assisting the industry’s pace of technological innovation moving forward.

How healthcare is being changed for the better by technology

When we think of technology, we think of the things that impact us every day: our phones, our cars, our computers and the various platforms we use. We typically think of device innovation or breakthrough surgical techniques or drugs when we think of healthcare technology.

However, this paradigm is shifting at a rapid pace, and instead of focusing on medtech as we have seen in the past, it is now becoming tech-focused on the consumers of healthcare, the patients.

Let’s suppose that AI and machine learning capabilities will continue being integrated into the healthcare system post-pandemic. The potential to predict patient outcomes based on their unique health profile and offer recommendations to both the patient and their healthcare provider on how to best proceed transmutes many factors that would otherwise remain unknown into clearly defined options. This progress helps improve the UX and establish deeper trust in AI and other machine learning technologies within the healthcare industry.

Improving each patient’s UX can establish deeper trust in the broader healthcare system. One obvious way that this can be accomplished is for the healthcare industry to more broadly adopt digital platforms that allow patients and users to interface with one another voluntarily and discreetly. This is another innovation that has already seen widespread success in many other industries apart from healthcare.

As the healthcare industry evolves alongside emerging technologies, integrates them into its systems, and guides its users on how to utilize these adopted technologies best, it will be better positioned to generate additional value for its users.

Healthcare providers must continue to integrate experience-driven technologies into their practices and operational systems and help guide their patients through optimizing those technologies for their benefit. Although this will initially be a learning experience for both providers and patients alike, the result will be mutual trust in the continued evolution and adoption of technologies healthcare professionals can offer to improve the UX and overall quality of life for their patients.

Photo: elenabs, Getty Images

Patrick Frank is the Co-founder of PatientPartner, a platform that connects pre-surgical patients with fully recovered patients who went through the same surgery and is on the 2021 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 list for Consumer Technology.

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