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July 3 2022 11:17 AM ˚
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Revolutionizing healthcare in the scope of digital transformation

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(Photo: Handout from Health Hub)
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E-health solutions and their applications are becoming commonplace within today’s societies and have the potential to transform the healthcare system and take it to a whole new level with just a little guidance from physicians, their respective patients, technology developers, and policymakers. We’ve been witnessing a tremendous shift in technology in this specific sector during the past few years and especially in the aftermath of COVID-19, which affected all business sectors around the world. اضافة اعلان

Let’s start by defining the term “e-health,” and then we’ll highlight the different services or types of “e-health” solutions and determine their pros and cons. So, e-health is a term used for healthcare practices that are supported by electronic processes and communication, e-health is primarily a concept that involves digitizing healthcare by incorporating IT and AI with Information Communication Technology (ICT), to revolutionize the healthcare sector as a whole. 

Mobile applications

Nowadays, mobile apps are helping us take our lives to a whole new level in terms of experience and service quality. Having mobile applications that are specifically dedicated to healthcare has turned our smartphones into pocket-sized personal trainers, miniaturized diagnostic devices, tiny sleep monitors, and much more. 

Mobile apps in the healthcare sector offer a wide array of services, such as an e-booking system. Booking through an app enables patients to gain access to doctors’ exact locations, know their working hours, and be informed about what insurance providers these doctors are deal with. In addition to that, the patients get seamless access to a huge network of doctors listed in the same area of specialization.

Doctors, on the other hand, can enjoy a much more organized and conflict-free appointment schedule without having to worry about keeping track of incoming phone calls received from patients, which results in minimizing patients’ cancelations. 

Medical insurance mobile apps are continuously improving and are subject to periodic technological checks and assessments, and medical claims and approvals are now fully autonomous with little or no need for contacting a a company the old-fashioned way.

All medical claims submitted by pharmacies, labs, x-rays, and radiology centers can now be processed and approved solely through applications. Prescriptions renewals have also been a substantial part of insurance IT development, where patients with monthly prescriptions renewals can get notified and approved through an app. 

Moreover, Mobile apps are taking part in other e-health services such as Tele-Health, electronic health records, and other services like those mentioned below. 

Telehealth

Telehealth involves accessing healthcare services remotely and providing care from a distance. This technology may be used from home or accessed from anywhere there is a network or internet connection is available. Through telehealth, patients can communicate with their doctors directly to explain how they’re feeling and describe the symptoms they’re having. Patients can share any results, and their respective doctors can make a diagnosis based on the information provided by the patient. 

Not all specialties, however, can apply telehealth, but many could actually fully rely on it, such as but not limited to psychologists, nutritionists, dermatologists, ENT otolaryngologists, and general physicians. Telehealth helps people in remote areas with limited or no access to healthcare services get the medical attention they need. People living in distant provinces or living in rural or isolated communities can receive seamless access to healthcare services at any time. 

The spread of COVID-19 also reduced people’s in-person interaction, this is especially true for traditional waiting rooms in clinics that patients share. Telehealth has reduced the traffic jams, proven to be a great time and money saver, and last but not least spared unnecessary travel for both doctors and their respective patients.

Another telehealth service is remote monitoring, where patients or even in-patients can be monitored through medical devices and the reading will be electronically transmitted to healthcare professionals in a timely manner. Post-surgery readings could be shared with a doctor or a medical assistant by receiving the readings from medical devices simultaneously. For example, connecting devices with healthcare professionals to check blood sugar level, “glucose monitors and meters”, readings will be sent directly from the remote device to healthcare professionals’ devices to monitor the patient’s glucose level and take the needed action accordingly. 

Wearable technology 

The well-known term wearables, includes smart accessories and clothing, such as wristbands, glasses, and smartwatches. Such devices are used to gather and monitor information relevant to your physical and mental health condition. We have seen the fast-paced development of the smartwatch industry in the past few years; they can accurately monitor your sleeping hours, walking steps and distance, heart rate, and other readings. This allows users to monitor their activities and allows them to make educated data comparisons. For example, users who suffer from some sort of sleep disorder, can monitor their sleeping hours and compare their sleeping hours a month before or after taking a certain medication. 

Electronic health records (EHR) are a patient-centered record that can be safely stored in one place. It’s basically a digital version of diagrams, charts, and readings of a patient. Patients can share their records easily and safely with healthcare professionals at anytime and anywhere. This usually includes files containing a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory test results. 

One of the key features of an EHR is that health information can be managed by authorized providers in a digital format, enabling a patient to share his/her information with other providers across more than one healthcare organization, such as specialists, laboratories, radiology centers, pharmacies, emergency facilities, etc. 

Augmented reality Augmented reality (AR) is used to visualize organs in 3D, so surgeons can plan their interventions ahead of time and make them less likely to encounter any surprises. Such technologies can also improve training in medical schools. AR tools can display an internal view of the body on top of a student’s physique. The technology also includes a gesture-sensitive user interface, allowing people to interact with AR presentations.

Potential cons of e-health

As mentioned above, we have skimmed through the main e-health services and the corresponding pros of utilizing such technologies. But let’s have a look at the cons of using this technology as well. 

It’s not possible to do every type of doctor’s visit remotely, as patients sometimes still need to get clinically examined and physically undergo certain tests and imaging, and that implies the need of a hands-on approach. Such technologies rely on good internet connection, which can sometimes be disrupted or lost. 

Senior citizens might also struggle more with technology, so it could take them some time to learn how to use such technologies and become used to them. 
Clinicians are also sometimes limited, in that they can only assess the data they see and what a patient tells them; doctors may need a certain medical supply or special equipment to assess a patient’s condition properly, and this might imply seeking further treatment.

In conclusion, e-health services are spreading fast to help healthcare professionals overcome the outstanding obstacles pertaining to the healthcare sector. And provided that there are a couple of cons and disadvantages to e-health that need to be addressed, the pros and positive aspects of e-health on the other hand still outweigh the cons. Therefore, e-health applications will inevitably raise the standards of the healthcare sector and provide a reliable customer experience.

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