Friday, February 26, 2021

Digital Transformation in the Healthcare Industry

Industries across the board witness more rapid advancements to their digital strategies in the past year than ever before. Organizations were forced to adopt new ways of thinking and finally embrace technology. The healthcare industry was no exception.

Marking almost a year since the beginning of the pandemic, here’s how the healthcare industry has adapted to our increasingly digital world.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is more than Pokemon GO. AR is a type of experience that combines the physical world with a virtual world and has the potential to transform healthcare in all aspects of the patient experience.

Enhancing the Patient Experience

On average, there are hundreds of millions of needle procedures administered in the U.S. every year. And while these are usually pretty typical procedures for adults, it’s a different story for infants. Rightfully so, these can be quite scary and painful procedures for children. Healthcare providers have started to use AR to distract children from the painful experience. This company has developed an AR experience called ARISE, in an effort to reduce pain for children. ARISE is set to be launched in the spring and doesn’t require any additional hardware other than one’s mobile device.

A Glimpse into the Future

Have you ever used a Snapchat filter to see what you would look like with different colored hair?

Well, now plastic surgeons are utilizing AR to provide patients with a glimpse of what they will look like after their procedures. There are several mobile apps with experiences to show what their teeth will look like after a dental procedure. Invisalign has created the tool, SmileView, where patients take a selfie, upload it, and see what their smile could look like using the product.

Virtual Experiences 

Almost everything went virtual in the last year; school, work, and even a trip to the doctor’s. The trend towards telehealth skyrocketed in 2020, with the number of telehealth claims increasing by 8,336 percent. But even as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out, the trend towards telehealth won’t disappear; telehealth will continue to play a major role in digital health for the foreseeable future.

Along with the rising trend in telehealth comes the possibility of expanding a facility’s talent pool. Many companies have found remote work has opened the door in terms of expanding the breadth of their expertise. Healthcare is no exception. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Healthcare Outlook, many facilities will start to access external individuals for expertise using AR.

Contactless Experiences

Navigating the hospital experience has seen its challenges due to the pandemic for several reasons. First, asking for directions isn’t as easy as it once was. Trying to understand what the other person is saying over a mask is difficult, believe me. There’s only so many times you can ask the person to repeat their answer before it’s time to move on. Add socially distancing on top, and communicating directions effectively becomes almost impossible. Plus, navigating the halls when volunteers are not easily accessible to patients or when visitation is reduced is less than ideal.

Wayfinding solutions are rapidly increasing in popularity among healthcare facilities in the U.S. Those that have implemented a Wayfinding mobile experience have seen a tremendous amount of success. Take a look at some of the benefits to creating a Wayfinding experience:

  • Enables patients to seamlessly navigate from the parking lot to their desired location using their mobile device
  • Allows for marketing teams to make real-time updates to changes in navigation based on construction, COVID restrictions, etc. and have those changes be immediately available to all patients
  • Provides patients with the ability to review the facility floor plan and directions to their desired location from the comfort of their home

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report, medical app downloads grew 50 percent year-over-year. We’re at a critical point in time where those facilities that choose to embrace mobile will be better equipped for the future. And those that continue to resist transformation, may not be as successful.