Growing Reliance on Digital Technologies in Healthcare

Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

In today’s times, accepting changes in the digital world and integrating oneself with it, is the primary need in order to move ahead. Whether it is digital marketing, digital technologies, digital data or digital media: digital is an integral part of almost everyone’s lifestyle.

No one can dispute technology’s ability to enable us all to livelonger, healthier lives. From surgical robots to “smart hospitals,” to health and fitness monitoring apps, the digital transformation is revolutionizing patient care in every way.

The healthcare sector comprises of doctors, nurses, health clinics, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical equipment manufacturers and health insurance firms. They all work in conjunction with one another to provide diagnostic, preventive, remedial, therapeutic and medical expenses coverage services.

Why is the healthcare sector going digital?

The major reasons why healthcare sector necessities digital transformation, are:

1. To allow innovation- Innovation in medicine gives access to superior and affordable healthcare solutions. Medical technology leads to wider availability of the drug/ treatment at affordable prices, which can save lives.

2. To remain in business- The healthcare sector has taken longer than other businesses to adopt digital technology. The worldwide digital healthcare market is expected to touch $206 billion by 2020. As per a recent study conducted by SAP and Oxford Economics, it was determined that while 70% healthcare companies are planning to digitalize operations, another 61% feel that digital transformation will increase patient satisfaction. There are a lot of new and global opportunities for marketers. Digitalization is essential to remain in competition in worldwide markets.

3. To go with the flow- Healthcare marketing has progressed from the corner medical store and the medico rep, to the online digital world. With consultations and medicines available online, doctors and patients cannot be left far behind. Also since advertising on digital media is stated to become the number one channel for ad revenue by 2019 the medical fraternity should utilize to advertise their drugs and specialist services thru digital platforms like Facebook, websites etc.

4. To utilize the data- There is so much valuable raw data in terms of patient history, latest drugs, innovations in medical equipment, healthcare apps, all of which have to be interpreted correctly and utilized in the most optimum manner towards patient’s health and wellbeing.
The healthcare industry in India has significantly grown in recent years.

There are professional digital healthcare agencies, which provide marketing strategies to established and emerging Hospitals, Clinics, Individual Practitioners and Corporates including FMCG, Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices & Diagnostic companies.

A healthcare marketing agency helps to build a website, offers Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to attract more traffic, creates a mobile app and handles Social Media Marketing (SMM) for medical practitioners.

With Internet coverage having spread to small towns and even villages in recent years, with medical information getting more easy to access, with doctor patient interaction getting closer, with competition amongst pharmaceutical companies growing stronger; the healthcare industry is relying on medical marketing, hospital marketing and pharmaceutical marketing. This is why it is essential for doctors, GP’s, Physicians, consultants and specialists in the healthcare sector to approach an internet marketing company which can offer a digital marketing strategy to serve the overall purpose.

Seen here below are few technologies of recent times that are helping the healthcare sector to get closer to the people in need of medical assistance:

1. The advent of telemedicine: Until recently, a patient had to visit a doctor’s clinic or a hospital or then the doctor was required to do a home visit. With technological advances, geographical location no longer limited a doctor or patient to communicate with each other. Telemedicine presents doctors with a greater accessibility to patients. Availability of patients’ medical records in digital format for specialists to refer to, as and when required, is a major benefit offered by telemedicine. Telemedicine also effects time and money saving.

2. The convenience of wearables: From monitoring glucose level and ECG to DIY blood tests this can be performed easily by the patient with the help of modern mobile wearable devices. Once the data is monitored, it can be relayed to the doctor in real time. This data is then analyzed and monitored by the healthcare professionals to provide preventive medicine and suitable medical advise to the patient. It is life-saving.

3. Cloud platforms to store data: As per statistics, more than 83% of healthcare sector comprising of hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations are currently using some form of cloud platform to store the immense data they receive. Hospitals, insurance companies, and doctors are now storing patient medical records in the cloud. The patient also has easy and quick access to his/her medical tests via email.

4. The importance of genomics: Experts in genomics strive to determine complete DNA sequences and perform genetic mapping to help understand disease. They are constantly working towards eradicating diseases or help in times of epidemics.

5. Genetic engineering: In modern medicine, genetic engineering is used to mass produce insulin, human growth hormones, for treating infertility, and the manufacture of vaccines and many more life saving drugs.

6. Social media: A lot many patients through various medical sites and online forums are able to seek information and research on their health condition and ailments. Also the search for a doctor or hospital best suited to the patient in his territory is influenced by online searches and social media posts. Online medical platforms prompt informed discussions between the doctor and patients.

7. The use of Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to detect and prevent life threatening diseases. Recent study published in Annals of Oncology, in 2018, showed AI could detect skin cancer better than doctors. AI predictive analysis has also provided solutions to improve patient outcome.

In times to come, more people will be using digital tools to seek diagnosis, video conference for ailments, email and WhatsApp for medications from physicians rather that scheduling and appointments.

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