In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented – and in some situations, permanent – changes to the delivery of healthcare services. Today, there is a strong, tech-driven response needed to address any type of urgent need. Providing this is something that will have positive implications that will last beyond the current health crisis and provide new options in the realm of preventative care, improved engagement, and better connectivity.
While now is a good time for healthcare practices to learn more about EMR, there are other tech options to consider, as well. Keep reading to learn more about the health industry tech trends you should watch for in 2021 and beyond.
Patients Will Drive the Healthcare Experience
As hospitals are continuing to handle high-risk cases and working to deliver long-distance care for non-acute cases, there is an increased need for patients to take on a more proactive role in their health and healthcare. Also, more personal technology will be used to help address the shortcomings in the delivery of home healthcare services.
Modern healthcare practices and organizations are working to support this movement by optimizing and expanding their telehealth programs and creating “digital front door” portals that provide messaging services and self-service functions.
Efforts are now being taken to help reduce the possibility of readmission, which has taken on a higher importance recently. This is being boosted by health IT teams that are launching and expanding the use of remote patient monitoring and wearable programs to help collect and transmit a patient’s vital signs from any location. However, to benefit from this, it is necessary to handle issues related to connectivity and patient education.
Permanent Changes to Cleaning Technologies and Hospital Design
To help keep spaces much more sanitary, modern healthcare providers are looking to use several tools to help tackle the essential tasks that go along with deep cleaning and to enforce good hygiene. There are also new and changing layouts and different check-in processes available to help reduce large groups of people from gathering, and determine if visitors are contagious before they enter a building.
This works by using autonomous robots, which emit a germ-killing UV light to help decontaminate rooms in just 15 minutes, along with RFID technology, which tracks how long and how often employees are washing their hands. Hospitals and healthcare facilities use thermal cameras at the main entryways to determine if anyone has an elevated body temperature, which is a common symptom of COVID-19.
It is expected that there are going to be even more changes to the design of healthcare facilities and buildings in the coming months. Some of the things you can expect to see in hospitals and healthcare facilities include convertible areas designed to accommodate the frequent surges in patients who require critical care. Some of these spaces will feature retrofitted rooms, updated ventilation systems, plastic or glass walls for viewing isolated patients, and touch-screen kiosks to help minimize face-to-face interaction.
Automation and AI to Ensure Efficiency and Reduce Clinical Burden
As doctors and support staff are working to continue handling the waves of COVID-19 cases – all while dealing with reduced staff due to mandated isolation requirements or illness – they are looking for solutions that can handle part of their work, or even anticipate needs before they fully develop.
The need for touch-free interactions and efficiency can boost the clinical side of natural language processing – which is a branch of AI that lets computers understand spoken words and remarks and then transmit them to the patient’s record. Another option is automated services, such as chatbots for symptom-checking, that will continue to work to reduce cases of administrative bottlenecks. This technology is also expected to free up time for healthcare providers, who have been working at maximum levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
Focusing On the Future of the Healthcare Industry
As you can see, there are many new and innovative technology solutions coming to the healthcare industry. If you work in this field, then taking note of what is available is essential to be ready for these changes. The information and technology mentioned here are just scratching the surface of what’s to come. Knowing the available options is the best way to ensure the desired results are achieved and that you know what to expect.