Digital Platforms in the Healthcare sector have caused the telemedicine space to boom in the last few years. So much so that some assertions expect the global telemedicine market to reach as much as $191.7 billion by 2025. Like everything else related to healthcare, this growth has further been accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. The value proposition is apparent as virtual visits have become increasingly common.
A digital ecosystem connects diverse data resources, applications, devices and technologies, enabling them to work seamlessly together. It offers society new ways to organise and deliver health care and, most importantly, new ways to improve patient outcomes and overall population health. The aim ultimately is to securely provide the correct information, to the right person, at the right time, improving cost efficiencies and clinical decision-making.
In the context of healthcare, a digital healthcare ecosystem is a combination of resources working together, using emerging applications and technologies, to unify different types of data (e.g., administrative, test results, etc.) gathered by clinics, laboratories or any medical test through lab or hospital information systems (LIS/HIS).
Actionable Insights (from the combination of data points) exhibits on a computer dashboard or an app where a clinician can view contextual medical insights on the individual. These insights associate directly with the individual patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).
How technologies are affecting the healthcare system
Digital transformation is shaping the future of medical healthcare globally in the following ways:
1. Integration of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
Data today has evolved into the central point of all operations to optimise patient outcomes.
Cloud-based LIMS and Digital Platforms in Healthcare solutions are aiding the amalgamation of automated instruments within the labs, across lab chains, ensuring quality, TAT and transforming traditional labs into ‘Smart labs’.
2. Cloud-based platform for data security
LIMS resolution based on a secured cloud-based platform permits labs to store, document, share, analyse and manage data to standardise operations.
The cloud-based solutions ensure 24×7 data protection and seamless data transfers across various zones at the cost of controlling one’s own data centre.
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3. The shift from preventive to predictive maintenance
Repose remains one of the biggest concerns for laboratories from an operational point of view. The days of preventative maintenance are fast giving way to predictive maintenance. Devices with IoT capability can sense when specific components are exhibiting faults or when they are near their expected end of life and communicate this back to technical support.
Timely actions can be initiated to resolve them – from alerting to scheduling maintenance, replacing parts or requesting a completely new/ upgraded device. The utilization of IoT and AI Tools is there in this area.
4. Inventory management
Remote monitoring is also available to evaluate the usage and consumption of reagents for each test. Along with that, it is also used to measure their expiry to efficiently manage lab inventory and utilisation.
Further, by analysing actual usage data, the lab and the supplying company can provide better customer service. This is done by pre-scheduling the delivery of consumables. This is particularly relevant for a diagnostic laboratory facing the significant challenge of optimising load capacities of capital equipment across various centres and ensuring faster TAT.
4. Minimising complexity in troubleshooting
Capturing error codes and directly alerting the staff and support teams has reduced the time taken in troubleshooting. It has also reduced downtime. Also, tapping the equipment’s performance and understanding the mean time between failures has significantly aided load balancing during crucial hours.
A lot of this exhibits in handling a large number of COVID related tests during the pandemic’s peak. Specialised software can help track the functioning of medical devices at scheduled intervals to alert users of impending failures, etc.
5. Managing constantly increasing workload
Effective use of LIMS and other Digital Platforms in Healthcare can help manage constantly increasing workload more efficiently through remote monitoring and automating of all services, including re-runs with minimal human intervention.
Furthermore, workload efficiency improvement of up to 20-30 per cent is seen in labs which have adopted such technologies and managed the workflow optimally.
6. Addressing quality issues
The software can provide a real-time measure of the performance of all the devices. Results and statistics for quality checks and calibrations can be readily accessible daily.
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