Without you realising, you probably use digital healthcare in your everyday life, your NHS app for managing prescriptions or showing your NHS vaccination card. The pandemic caused a significant shift within the digital side of healthcare, which has benefitted the industry massively. 

Health technology aims to improve our well-being; you can wear devices that track your steps, symptom trackers, and platforms that provide remote healthcare appointments. The convenience is vast, with it being accessible whenever and wherever. I’m sure, as businesses, it can be tough to decide whether it’s worth investing in these new technologies and whether they will transform or improve your business’s processes. But these are the digital changes to the healthcare industry. 

On-demand healthcare

Patients more than ever want healthcare ‘on demand’, meaning that they want it to be accessible regardless of their busy schedules. In addition, with healthcare entering the digital world, consumers want quick, fast solutions for their healthcare needs. By booking appointments, ordering prescriptions and monitoring symptoms, the industry can meet their demands. 

A change that has recently happened is doctors joining the ‘gig’ economy, which is a labour market that relies on temporary or part-time positions, not full-time permanent employees. Those who are a part of this can attend different jobs but not commit to one company. This allows physicians to provide the ‘on-demand’ healthcare that so many patients seek. 

Big data 

Big data is used to understand consumer behaviour better by collecting, analysing and identifying trends for future decisions. As a result, big data can be advantageous to the healthcare industry.

  • Prevention of medical error – software can highlight any anomalies between a patient’s health record and prescription, preventing mistakes.
  • Retention – Software can pick up on ‘frequent flyers’ (those who are recurring patients) and allow the department to find measures to treat them, so they are less likely to return. 
  • Units – Big data can inform departments on prescription expiry dates and any other vital information that helps with decision-making.

Wearing medical devices

In today’s world, more patients are working on preventing health issues, compared to a time before when we would wait for something to be wrong and then find a solution. In addition, we are wearing more fitness devices to track our heart rates, calories burned and steps we walk each day. As a result, there is now more demand for patients to understand their health through medical devices. 

The healthcare industry is currently investing money into these devices that can provide up-to-date information on high-risk patients. These can actually save money in the long run with less research and ‘check up’ appointments needed for those patients as the evidence and information is being worn through a device by them every day. 

Virtual Reality

If someone had told you that virtual reality could ease a patient’s pain or discover a disease, you probably wouldn’t believe them. However, in 2023, virtual reality is making its way into the healthcare industry. It comes with further understanding for doctors and nurses to fully comprehend exactly what their patients are going through – and, more importantly, understand their condition from an empathetic standpoint. 

Virtual reality has also been proven to diminish pain by up to 24% and is being used to help women in labour, patients with chronic pain and more; it can potentially reduce the need for pharmaceutical appliances. Virtual reality first entered the market as a way to transform online gaming; well, the healthcare industry is also incorporating this now for younger children who are unwell as a form of distraction. 

Artificial Intelligence

AI has transformed industries for the better; it has enabled work to be completed efficiently and improved workplace productivity and profits. AI gets taken to a whole other level within the healthcare sector. Its technology can identify the best possible combination of anticancer drugs based on thousands of pathology images of various cancers whilst also predicting the best drug-based treatment for that. 

Many unwell patients can now have therapies that have been accurately created based on their lifestyle and genetic makeup due to AI’s pattern recognition. Overall, AI is bringing multiple benefits to the healthcare industry.  


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