Top Six Challenges in Digital Healthcare
Recently, technology has transformed the way industry professionals approach the concept of healthcare.
Hospital information systems (HIS), electronic health records (EHR), prescriptions, personal digital assistants (PDA), and wearable devices enable ease of the storage of medical data and enhance the overall contact between patients and healthcare professionals.
While many of these inventions are optimistic and highly productive, they also present notable challenges that cause issues that cost an arm and a leg. Why? How can medical professionals recognize and avoid the obstacles tech has introduced to the healthcare industry? Let’s quickly look at the critical challenges in the following article.
According to the HIPAA Journal’s Data Breach, about 50 healthcare data violations impacting about 500 patient records were recorded in January 2022. Medical device tools, such as MRI, have been a vital point of susceptibility.
Such a piece of equipment has run on legacy systems at the cost of software updates that strengthen it against hacks. With the development of digital health services such as social media, patients and providers increasingly employ smart devices to access a hospital or practice’s network to access patient data.
At the same time it gives a possibility for the criminals to get known any piece of personal data kept in the cloud systems. Just a smart and customized security system can solve such a problem and save all the information with no chance to be hacked. Network visibility and monitoring are several strategies to keep patient data secure.
Multi-component systems and effective communication between all the elements of digital healthcare are the foundation of pharmaceutical and digital health solutions. Due to the reliance on BLE, pharma companies face significant connectivity-related issues, which is valid for IoT (Bluetooth Low Energy).
To determine how systems respond to various real-life scenarios and situations, both in the physical and logical aspects, there are several things to take into account and test:
- Effective serviceability
The operational systems must handle weak or no transmission, and the critical system elements must operate independently( any medical gadget must work even without connectivity).
- Accurate device identification
Suppose you have numerous smart inhalers, for instance. In that case, the systems or applications must be able to distinguish the appropriate device for each user and not confuse them with other identical inhalers that may be nearby.
To test all the possible errors in interconnection processes, it needed to make smart testing scripts to shield many real-life scenarios such as: overloading a phone’s CPU, growing the distance between devices and checking connectivity, checking devices in elevators, changing time zones, and many other cases.
Since some tests are time-consuming, test automation should be used to experiment with many devices at the same time. For instance, if there are six inhalers in the space, and all are joint to machines, it’s needed to affect this type of usage and eliminate any possible mistakes.
The increasing digitization of healthcare introduces lots of ethical matters to be discussed. Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook entered the digital health domain. They propose practical solutions for managing, storing, and diagnosing health data and informed support issues. The development of apps and technologies developed for consumers confuses between what is medical data and non-medical data and gadgets.
It raises ethical challenges relating to how to formalize such technologies. Many religions also worry about their rules and regulations regarding digital healthcare solutions. Thus, such globalization causes further arguments and arising matters to be solved.
Investigating patients with the help of digital tools is one of the significant concerns in the healthcare industry. While misdiagnoses can happen with in-person healthcare, there’s much more danger when using remote care. Disregarded diagnoses hurt both patients and tech service providers.
They also drive up the prices of the healthcare system because wrong diagnoses can lead to improper medications and further damaging treatment. Such issues hold digital care industry adoption back for tech providers eager to avoid the risk of any medical errors.
In-depth studying of diagnostics holds the tremendous possibility to improve the accuracy of diagnoses. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already supported several outcomes, such as IDX-DR, which catches diabetic retinopathy through deep learning methods.
Rural Area Issue
There are numerous challenges to getting digital healthcare treatment in rural areas, yet the shortage of a tech-oriented mindset is one of the most considerable. Furthermore, there are multiple more minor medical procedures with rather small earnings (about $150,000 yearly) and old-school doctors who don’t want to execute the latest technologies and simply don’t know how to implement them.
Some health providers have already funded some of the money in the paper procedures. Such providers also have no suggestion to implement the latest health solutions because they demand high upfront costs. With all these issues, rural areas are pretty hard to implement new technologies, thus this is one more case to think over.
According to the American Hospital Association report, almost 40% of people in rural areas lack adequate internet or broadband. Many local healthcare providers simply can’t present digital healthcare services to their patients.
Regarding the 2021 Pew Research Center report, approximately 7% of American adults still don’t have an internet connection, and up to 25% of adults aged 65 and older don’t go online. Some patients cannot register their account, call a doctor, or do any other digital manipulation.
Besides, elderly patients can have vision or hearing troubles, making video communication even more challenging. That means that solutions targeted at seniors need improved and customized characteristics and UX/UI design and other development cases.
Digital healthcare can support patients receiving care on their terms, whether from the office, the home, or abroad. It is the ideal time for medical establishments to adopt healthcare digitalization and build a convenient system that yields to industry standards and laws.
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