Move from legacy systems to cutting-edge healthcare technology

The pandemic has pushed the healthcare sector to accelerate digital transformation and has also revolutionized the way patients view digital services

Before the lockdown, people rarely searched for e-services such as online prescriptions or consultations via video platforms. Now that patients have seen first-hand the benefits of digital healthcare, such as flexibility and personalization, more people are supporting the implementation of these services. In fact, a recent RedPoint Global survey found that 80% of people prefer to use digital channels, like online messaging and virtual appointments, when communicating with their healthcare providers at least some of the time.

As a result of this shift, the healthcare sector is now under scrutiny to continue moving towards digitalization and adopting new technologies. To ensure this progression is sustainable, the industry must first embrace robust IT frameworks that can support future technology growth.

Implementing Modern Agile Infrastructure Will Transform Healthcare

Despite digital acceleration, healthcare is still held back by disparate systems. If healthcare datasets cannot “talk to each other,” critical information can get stuck in silos, making it difficult and time-consuming to track the patient journey across departments. To keep healthcare moving forward, healthcare companies need to think about how to invest time and money in modern agile infrastructure. By consolidating discordant and manual internal processes, organizations can manage services more efficiently and be empowered to improve patient care.

Going digital also introduces new security risks for businesses. Patient data must be encrypted and tokenized, while healthcare systems must adopt a zero-trust mindset, ensuring that all users and devices are authenticated and then continuously assessed. Before the NHS can use data to improve care for all, the health sector must demonstrate that it is rigorously protecting data and leveraging privacy-protecting technologies.

Take advantage of AI for continued positive change within the healthcare industry

Once the industry has improved its IT infrastructure, it can then take advantage of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). AI will have a particularly transformative impact on how health data is analyzed and used to help patients. By using AI with patient and medical resource information, staff can improve operational efficiency and deliver more accurate and personalized care.

Automation and AI could also go a long way in alleviating the increased stress felt by UK healthcare professionals during the pandemic. Clinicians spend almost half of their professional time typing, clicking and checking boxes on electronic records. This is partly why mental health problems quadrupled among NHS staff during the first wave of COVID-19, according to the largest survey of the pandemic’s psychological effect on UK health workers. For example, automation could help ease the administrative pressures felt by healthcare workers, freeing up plenty of time to focus on patient care, rather than paperwork.

Another advantage is that AI can help in the early detection of diseases and cancers quickly and with high accuracy. For example, in June 2021, the UK government announced that thousands of NHS patients and staff would benefit from dozens of new pioneering projects which received a share of £36 million to test cutting-edge AI technology. . The projects aim to help the NHS transform the quality of care and the speed of diagnosis for conditions such as lung cancer.

Long term cost savings

Digital transformation, and automation in particular, are also contributing to the bottom line in healthcare. Estimated cost savings vary, but a 2018 report from the Institute for Public Policy Research estimated that AI and automation could save the NHS £12.5bn a year by freeing up staff time . This is essential now that a severe labor shortage is imminent. The World Health Organization estimates that the overall demand for healthcare workers will reach 18.2 million across Europe by 2030. AI can also prove invaluable in helping to move skills to where they need to be. are needed and avoid NHS shortcomings. Through the exploitation of AI, the core activities of key jobs such as nursing will shift, allowing workers to refocus on tasks away from the administrative side and on improving patient care.

The pandemic has accelerated changes to the NHS, forcing practices to scrap traditional paper-based processes and replace them with end-to-end digitization. For now, the challenge is to ensure that the technology is used in the right way to improve outdated systems. Then healthcare can focus on emerging technologies, such as AI, that will enable doctors and nurses to prepare for future challenges and improve patient care.


About the Author

Will Owen is Director of Healthcare for ServiceNow. ServiceNow makes the world a better place for everyone. Our cloud-based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so they can find smarter, faster, and better ways to make work easier. Thus, employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNow. For more information, visit www.servicenow.com.

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