AiRo Digital Labs wins Bot-a-Thon in Automation Anywhere Partner Bootcamp, New Delhi, 10th June 2019
June 11, 2019
VIKI @ Collaborative Care & Health Innovations Summit (CCHIT) Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland June 23 – 25, 2019
June 19, 2019

Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has seen an infusion of technology-enabled innovations - a trend which is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future. In fact, tech-based solutions have become the fastest-growing, not to mention the most profit-making, vertical of the healthcare industry. The Global Connected Healthcare Market reported that digital healthcare, valued at USD 1,860.26 million in 2017, is now expected to grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 28.3% by 2025. And if predictions are to be believed, the US is expected to lead the technology-driven healthcare industry into a whole new age.

What does this mean for business strategists who are going to invest in the healthcare industry? How can they make the best of this golden period? Let’s take a look.

Invest in Digital Innovation & Technological Transformation

Digital healthcare innovations are emerging at an exponential pace and scale, and with their assistance, medical systems are now transforming to new models that are patient-centered and encourage consumers towards ‘smart health’.

This is done keeping in mind aspects like accessibility, affordability, and improved quality at a lower cost.

How will this development help your organization?

Investing in digitalization of healthcare means having a well-organized and better-utilized health data, which, in turn, leads to a more personalized healthcare experience.

Digital innovation in the healthcare sector is meant to support and augment the working hands, allowing its highly-trained resources to focus on more valuable and patient-facing activities.

For example, chatbots serving as digital assistants help doctors and physicians deal with routine medical inquiries. These chatbots use AI-supported messaging and voice systems, and the more advanced ones are designed to learn and retain information from patient interactions thereby assuming the role of a general practitioner. They also contribute towards making the medical experience better by giving timely prescriptions, conducting required lab tests, and making the billing and payment procedure uncomplicated, among other things.

Though the chatbot technology is still in its nascent phase, market experts estimate the global chatbot market will be around $1.23 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 24.3%.

Currently, there are basic versions of smart algorithms that can talk via text, understand the patient’s problem, and suggest solutions. But, every day there are new and advanced versions of bots are making their way into the market. Keeping an eye on these developments will help you be at par with the industry. Also, keep an eye on your competitors and the technology they’re investing in. Combining both these aspects, you can evolve your business and make your organization future-ready.

Maintain Cybersecurity & Regulatory Compliance

Cybersecurity has become the biggest concern of the industry today. The vast volume of high-value clinical innovation, advancements in interconnected IT environments, and market complexity make the healthcare industry an attractive target in the cybercrime world. Data is the new healthcare currency, and keeping it safe is of utmost importance.

How does this development concern your organization?

The healthcare cybersecurity breach at mega-insurer Anthem made headlines in February 2015. The investigation exposed that the cyber attack affected the medical records of nearly 80 million patients. Now the company is investing millions of dollars in strengthening its cybersecurity.

In the black market, the medical data of a person can be 50-times more expensive than stolen credit cards. This is because a medical fraud scheme can last for years, before its discovered. From the name, date of birth, social security number, and address to your blood group, vitals, and medical history, the hackers have access to everything. Even stolen medical data of an individual can be used by criminals for decades.

While the US government is working towards policies and regulatory oversight to strengthen healthcare security and safety at a macro level, you also need to focus on compliance, ethics, and risk. In addition, you must drive awareness within the enterprise. Apart from educating your team members, it’s critical that you invest in crisis management capabilities to make cyber-diligence stronger and better.

Tie Everything to Changing Consumer Needs & Expectations

Modern consumers expect their healthcare solutions to be accessible, convenient, and customized. And the rapid advancements in medical science and technology have only bolstered their expectations. The healthcare industry is becoming ‘shoppable’, and people are willing to pay too, provided the patient experience is up-to-the-mark.

How can your enterprise make the most of this evolving mindset?

With increased role and influence of patients in their own health and care, organizations operating in this industry should take advantage of the emerging opportunities by establishing direct and personal relationships with the consumers. In order to achieve this goal, digital technologies help enable easy access to healthcare while nurturing two-way engagement for the long term. Using techniques like digital health (e-hospital), telehealth, wearable monitoring, fitness devices, social media and more, you can position your organization favorably among consumers and help individuals make informed healthcare decisions.

Take for example Amazon and Walmart who have stepped into the healthcare industry and are playing to their own strengths.

  • In the pharmaceutical arena, Amazon is capitalizing on its strengths in rapid product fulfillment and easy and secure online ordering. Also, as Amazon gets into more households with its Echo smart speakers, ordering and reordering pharmaceuticals is going to become much easier for its customers. With digital health, Amazon is building upon its already existing robust machine learning and web hosting operations.
  • Walmart, on the other hand, is capitalizing on its extensive network of standing locations to provide healthcare as a value-added service, especially for health and wellness, prescriptions, and first aid. This is a smart move because Walmart doesn’t need to take up more real estate to open clinics. The initial costs have already been sunken into its retail stores. This move also offers an excellent cross-selling opportunity.

Taking lessons from these brands who are growing by leveraging their already established assets, your enterprise should evaluate and prioritize its existing assets and explore the possibilities of their multiple utilization as per market and consumer needs.

Digital technologies hold immense opportunities in the healthcare sector from genomic conditions and improving the treatment of long-term conditions to harnessing big data and keeping them safe. At the same time, we have an aging and growing, health-conscious, and tech-savvy population that wants everything to be simple and easy. Adapting to emerging technologies and adding new services will keep your customers' attention and build value. The IT industry and the healthcare industry are, and should be, working together to ensure that the true benefits of improved proactive healthcare can be achieved and sustained.

Bottom Line: Industry experts believe that healthcare is on the cusp of a new and bigger wave of technology adoption, and now is the time for you to go all in on digitalization and include it as an integral part of your enterprise strategy.