As one of the most essential industries in the world, health care is also being forced to move its way into the 21st century. Digital health, the tech solution for healthcare services, is destined to make a key contribution to the healthcare industries both in the United States and around the world. With the development of digital health comes a series of trends that are influencing the evolution of clinicians, health insurance companies, health management organizations (HMOs), hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other entities in the healthcare sector. These trends include:
- Patient-centric healthcare revolving around the patient, rather than the provider
- Drive towards electronic health records, or EHS, systems.
- Development of mobile health services and applications
With all these trends surface certain commonalities, such as the need for flawless usability, end-user training (for a wide spectrum of age groups), and the privacy of sensitive medical data.
Digital solutions must have flawless usability because by and large, the users are not tech-savvy. Digital health must have learnability, the ease for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they use the solution; efficiency, the speed at which users can perform tasks when they are familiar with the solution; memorability, the ease of getting back up to speed after a period of no use; small error impact, the number of user-induced errors, their severity, and the ease of correction; and finally, user satisfaction.
Having already moved away from paper-based patient health information, the digital health industry must now work to improve the usability of electronic health record (EHR) systems. More features like collaborative medical records can improve the quality of patient care, increase clinician productivity, induce cost control, and transform the EHR system industry into an even bigger player in the healthcare field.
The exponential growth of smartphones in the last decade or so has and continues to transform our day-to-day activities in every aspect. In the healthcare field, mobile applications can play a crucial role in providing mobile medical advice, appointment reminders, prescription information and ordering, and other healthcare activities that can be done without a visit to a doctor’s office or hospital. Since such mobile applications would be used in conjunction with sensitive medical information, privacy and security should be a central aspect in the development of such an application. Beyond privacy, usability, both on the side of the clinician and on the side of the patient, must allow for both parties to use the application with ease. If these requirements are met, mobile applications can completely alter the field of healthcare from a largely hospital-based industry to a mobile, user-friendly, and convenient way to receive good healthcare.
Digital healthcare is emerging into a big player and transforming the way the healthcare industry operates. With a patient-centered state of mind, a drive towards Electronic Health Record systems, and the development of mobile health applications, digital health will transform the healthcare system from its antiquated strategies and systems to a user-friendly, secure, and convenient arrangement that will achieve its over-arching goal of improving the quality healthcare.
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