The first phase of Digital transformation (DX 1.0) involved identifying new technologies, trends, drivers and processes that pushed organizations out of their status quo and helped grow their business.

Digital transformation (DX2.0) involved in organizations addressing the new challenges and opportunities that the 2.0 version presented. The trends, drivers and technologies that drove the first iteration evolved, forcing organizations to adapt to these new tools and upgrade themselves to stay in the race.

The premise of this 2nd wave in healthcare industry is to move towards a patient-centric approach rather than just treating the condition. Providing more value in terms of patient care over volume. The best example is the CES that happened in January 2019, that provided a platform for healthcare companies, experts to project the future of digital transformation in healthcare.

CES 2019 – A Showcase for Digital Transformation

The annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2019 January edition was an eclectic mix of technologies, innovations and interactive sessions that showcased the capabilities and futuristic innovations in the Healthcare, ICT, Sports and of course Electronics domain. It was all about digital transformation using Smart IT, AI, IoT and 5G technologies that connects everything.

As part of the knowledge sharing initiative, the Healthcare summit spanning 6 days from Jan 6 to Jan 11 was an opener for all the health tech companies to arm patients and consumers with information. It was a platform for medical personnel to take healthcare to the next level.

Of interest is the healthcare revolution happening in the wearable tech and IoT, Health apps, patient engagement through technology and AI in healthcare. Broadly driving this transformation is the relatively stable economic growth, increased transparency, affordable medical plans, and government policies cutting the red tape.

DX2.0 is an opportunity for retail in the healthcare sector to leverage technologies like AI, machine learning, IoT, Blockchain, advanced performance and analytics for wearables, and healthcare apps. Digital health is allowing more evidence-based discoveries and providing new treatment options.

Healthcare Trends dominating Digital Transformation

As digital health grows at an increasing pace, the legacy network and IT architecture need to keep pace with it. The innovative solutions for making healthcare affordable, diagnosing, treatment, and its advancements need a supportive environment from CXOs, governments and revolutionary leaders.

Here are the top areas where healthcare digital transformation is occurring:

Artificial Intelligence

It’s changing the modern healthcare outlook. A combination of varied technologies like machine learning and natural language processing helps unlock relevant patient medical data to improve patient decision making process.

Some practical applications of AI include:

  • Voice assistants: HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications will allow clinicians and care givers to focus on more healthcare related tasks instead of non-core routine activities like scheduling etc. Leading companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft are focusing on developing VAs for healthcare use cases like elderly care, pain management etc.
  • AI driven research: Through its fast data processing capability, it can help in identifying patterns and paths in the vast amount generated by both individuals and institutions thus aid in research. AI can help in identifying clinical trial subjects and studies that help in advancing medical research in a precise manner.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The number of medical devices that control/monitor the health status of the individuals daily is increasing to help detect any abnormalities the moment they occur. The data compiled by these devices will help the mHealth technologies to provide actionable insights, promote preventive care, value-based and patient centric care leading to an enhanced patient satisfaction.

IoMT is not limited to wearables. The future of medical supply chain management using RFIDs for tagging and packaging of medicines to ensure quality by the manufacturers and making the system more transparent and efficient.

Telemedicine

Patients can’t afford delays in scheduling doctor’s appointments for treatment. Telemedicine offers a viable solution to this problem by offering them remote consultations through the effective use of video conferencing, wearable devices and easy availability of smartphones. This not only saves time and resources but makes healthcare delivery more effective and productive.

Big Data & Predictive Analytics

Medical data produced at both individual and organizational level have valuable insights regarding the patient healthcare. The convergence of big data, cloud computing, IoT and analytics tools can process this huge volume of data within a short duration, which is impossible for humans.

These can be effectively used to predict potential spread of diseases in real time, lower the risk estimates in treatment plans, better precision medicine and research through improved patient profiling.

Artificial and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

Medical education and surgical training are the immediate applications of AR/VR. Improved body imaging, visualization and mapping using sensors allows patients have precise diagnosis and helps in minimal invasive medical procedures and surgeries. This results in better doctor patient relationship, less stress and an enhanced patient experience. Pain management and physical therapy are other areas where research is being focused on.

Bio-printing

Using AI, 3D printing technologies, VR technologies, bio printing of various body parts like legs, arms, ears help the physically challenged patients lead a normal life style.

All these need a complete overhaul in the business models of healthcare industry with the focus on identifying gaps in the digital transformation process and propose a plan of action for all the stakeholders involved. This allows them to set realistic expectations from the professionals.

To get business leaders to be proactive about digital transformation in healthcare, they need a big push with tangible examples from other companies that experimented with DX2.0. Only then will they come aboard with this concept and support this change wholeheartedly. Having a clear-cut vision of the digital transformation in the healthcare domain by the leaders will make this endeavor be a success.