Technological advancements have drastically changed many aspects of our lives – from how we communicate and the way we work, to how we get around and how we pay for things. Digital innovation is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives – including healthcare. In a recent study by GP. Bullhound, digital technology was described as “the key to meeting the challenges of healthcare provision in the 21st Century.”
Digital healthcare and the trends shaping it
The report suggested that one of the key factors pushing forward a digital revolution in healthcare was the widespread usage of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. As more and more people gain access to the internet at their fingertips, there is huge potential for wide-reaching and innovative new technologies relating to healthcare. Interestingly, the report found that it is largely SMEs leading the way in digital healthcare innovation.
The report went on to highlight some of the most “exciting” companies in digital healthcare, and listed Ieso alongside several other innovative digital healthcare services. The report mentioned our recovery rates as a major advantage, and also mentioned our low ‘did not attend’ rate. Our discreet online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) sessions utilise technology, giving patients flexibility to choose session times that are convenient for them, and perform them in a place they feel comfortable.
Key challenges facing digital healthcare
While digital technology is coming of age in the healthcare sector, it still faces several challenges. The main challenge the report discusses is the issue with healthcare commission. As many healthcare practises are commissioned at local levels, technology and innovation is often implemented at hospital, clinic or even department level, rather than being rolled out nationally. So, while certain areas are utilising the latest technologies, others are falling behind, and medical information, services and methods are not unified.
Another problem is the relationship between the National Health Service and the latest innovations in digital healthcare. While some companies (such as Ieso) are NHS-approved and validated, others may not gain accreditation from the NHS, meaning that many patients who could benefit from their services are not made aware of them. Risk aversion is a big reason for this, as a shortage in funding and resources means there is often a resistance to spending funds on a new technology.
The future of digital healthcare
As technological advancements continue, it is almost inevitable that digital healthcare will become more widely used and accepted as a treatment method for mental health issues and other medical problems, as well as a valuable tool in making healthcare more efficient and economical.
The report predicts that technological developments will become widely accepted within healthcare, a sector which has traditionally been slow to adopt new technologies. With the digitisation of health records, patient information will be easily accessible across GP surgeries, hospitals and other facilities, making for a more efficient system. Digital software is the key as healthcare seeks to become more efficient and patient centric.