- The pandemic has accelerated the ongoing digital transformation in the healthcare sector.
- The following is a preview of a digital health report “Digital Health Ecosystem”. You can purchase this report here.
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The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the ongoing digital transformation in the healthcare sector, with patients and providers seeing the benefits of new technologies and virtual solutions. Telemedicine appointments, remote patient monitoring services and modified insurance products can provide consumers with high-quality care at a faster and cheaper rate.
But existing healthcare institutions should pay close attention to the large technology companies that are encroaching on their space, because companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are trying to influence traditional healthcare through a consumer-first, technology-centric approach Consumers of the company.
Below, we review the trends and changes that have occurred in the healthcare ecosystem and outline what traditional healthcare companies can do to stay ahead of large technology competitors.
Major digital trends in the health ecosystem
What is digital health? Although the healthcare industry has made slow progress in digital solutions, COVID-19 has disrupted the entire healthcare ecosystem, including insurance, healthcare services, and pharmaceuticals. Medical service providers are forced to adopt technologies including telemedicine, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively treat patients from far away.
Therefore, insurance companies must address barriers that prevent patients and doctors from using telemedicine, such as co-payments and unclear reimbursement channels.
As hospitals and other healthcare companies were forced to reduce non-emergency visits, healthcare services quickly shifted to remote care alternatives. According to data from CivicScience, the pre-pandemic telemedicine adoption rate only hovered around 11%, but by August 2020, this proportion had soared to 36%.
Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have become leaders in vaccine development during the pandemic. The rapid adoption of digital health technologies will continue to benefit them as they repeatedly fight against new strains of viruses-using artificial intelligence to enable pharmaceutical companies to speed up the drug discovery process, thereby saving money.
Factors driving the digital transformation of healthcare
- Lower cost: According to Amwell, before the pandemic, 54% of American adults said they would use telemedicine if it meant saving money. As providers want to see continued benefits from telemedicine investments, they may continue to keep costs low.
- Accessibility: Consumers’ demand for ultra-convenient care has soared, and nearly one-third of millennials say it is not convenient to go to a medical examination. As millennials account for the largest portion of the adult population in the United States, vendors are adding convenient products such as virtual care and online digital health services.
- Value-based care model: Insurance companies are pushing for a shift to value-based care (VBC), forcing providers to focus on positive patient outcomes rather than the number of services provided. Digital tools, such as analytics that support artificial intelligence, can help optimize care without compromising costs.
How COVID-19 affects the healthy ecosystem
The “new normal” of healthcare is largely brought about by telemedicine and digital technology. By August last year, more than one-third of consumers had used telemedicine. Although the increase in adoption rate is mainly caused by stay-at-home orders and social distancing, telemedicine may continue to be popular in the future.
In addition, telemedicine is a possible solution to the upcoming shortage of suppliers-tBy 2032, there may be a shortage of 122,000 doctors in the United States, and a shortage of 670,000 medical staff, including nurses, by 2025.
Facts have proved that telemedicine can also reduce medical expenditures and limit unnecessary hospital visits. Therefore, for a long time after the pandemic, providers may continue to provide telemedicine services as a means of providing high-quality telecare. In addition to benefiting healthcare providers, as the adoption rate continues to increase, telemedicine will also become a popular choice for consumers.
As stated in Insider Intelligence’s Digital Health Ecosystem report, The demand for virtual care will remain high as 83% of American adults say they want to use telemedicine even after the pandemic, According to Doctor.com survey.
2021 healthy ecosystem forecast
Although some aspects of the healthcare ecosystem are difficult to predict moving forward, as we move towards 2021, one thing is certain: digital healthcare will continue to exist. Provider organizations that run out of funds may still need to rely on telemedicine to generate income from patients who have become accustomed to the convenience of telemedicine in recent months.
Another factor that needs attention this year is the data sharing mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS issued a mission to improve interoperability between providers, payers, and health systems, but it suspended compliance until 2021 to give healthcare entities time to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Because of these requirements, Insider Intelligence hopes that interoperability service providers can more easily standardize and integrate patient data, thereby increasing the hospital’s attention
Another slow but steady trend developing in the field of digital health is digital therapy (DTx). The virtual care boom caused by the pandemic has brought DTx into the spotlight, leading to a surge in the adoption of DTx tools. By 2021, the global DTx consumer base is expected to grow to 44 million users—a 288% increase from pre-pandemic levels. According to data from Juniper Networks Research in the UK.