Healthcare Technology

Healthcare welcomes digital technology, with a bit of caution.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) Augmented Reality (AR) and remote technology are on the rise in all industries. It’s not like we are going to be completely taken over by robots like some sort of seventies sci-fi horror, but it’s becoming more present. And the Healthcare industry is no exception.

Despite the industry moving strongly toward people-centric care in most areas, there is no doubt many of our processes and even some of our relationships across the industry will be affected, and most likely, greatly improved with the help of technology.

We have seen some pretty cool things introduced in the last few years, such as drone-drops for remote medicine delivery, robot dogs to help socialise dementia patients, mobile phone apps for managing healthcare data. In the most part, these have been welcomed with open, of course, there are always a few sceptics. But this will phase out.  The presence of digital technology in Healthcare will only expand as the younger generations of doctors start filtering in. The next generation, already growing up with digital technologies as a prominent tool for communication, will respond well to the advancements in digital technology in medicine and probably demand it.

According to an Accenture survey, young people in Australia are driving the digital healthcare market with demands for mobile and virtual services. With digital options becoming more popular, and in some cases, replacing the old-fashioned face to face there’s arguably a large relief for services, but does it come with a price?

According to the same survey, AI will have a great impact on organisations within three years. With reports showing ‘extended reality’ (a collective term for virtual augmented and mixed realities) has made a huge mark on healthcare already, perhaps it won’t be a difficult thing to welcome. 

But, as with most new tools, there are risks involved in introducing such technologies without due process. There will be a gamut of legal, security and ethical issues that come with the evolution into media-digi-tech too.

Shane Evans, the Healthcare legal advisor for Minter Ellison, told Healthcare IT News.

“Australia is moving into a new paradigm for healthcare delivery where the focus is on the patient and patient centricity. Inherent in these rapidly emerging technologies are both challenges and opportunities for the healthcare sector in Australia.”

Evans says there’s an increasing demand on their services from the Healthcare Industry. Some of the areas he said Healthcare professionals sought the most guidance in regarding digital technology is on patient safety, insurance, liability, privacy and management of health information, cybersecurity, workforce reform & contracts.

The demand will not diminish, with several regulations not being updated at the same pace as the technology. So it will be up to providers to start thinking about strategies to safely help introduce the new toys. And it’ not only safety, some employees just won’t take to the changes. A great tip for a smooth digital evolution is to include staff in every step. Provide plenty of information, training and leave room for queries. Treat it like a Public Relations (PR) project. And this should be done right down the line. From CEOs to cleaners. It only takes one mistake to upset the apple cart.

Speaking of apples, I’m sure Steve Jobs had some great PR strategies when he first introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer, and look how well that went!

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