If you live in the United States or other developed countries, chances are that the notes from your last few visits to the doctors have been recorded on a computer, instead of a physical file that would be placed in a library of charts in the reception of your doctor’s office. Electronic Health Records (or EHRs) have been the first step many doctors and hospitals took towards the goal of automatizing the healthcare industry as a whole, and they’re a great starting point to this conversation because a good amount of the benefits of a world in which digital healthcare is the norm are made possible through EHRs.
Thanks to TV shows and movies showcasing healthcare technology advances with such a strong focus on robotics, a good amount of the population assumes that automatization in healthcare will automatically yield some sort of Bicentennial Man/Face Off/Minority Report situation where entire surgeries that are not yet possible can be performed by autonomous robots or machines. Though that may be the goal long-term and there’s been some headway made in the process, laparoscopic and long-distance mechanized procedures are still are far cry away from being a reality. So, what are the more immediate, short-term possibilities of automation in healthcare?
Let’s start with the challenges. There is a “demographic earthquake” underway, meaning that due to the increase in life expectancy and decrease in newborns, there will be a higher amount of elderly people that need to be taken care of when the population demographic tide turns. With an aging baby boomer population that will require increased healthcare, there’s more patient data than ever before, and between insurance claims and patient records, Deloitte anticipates that up to 60% of hospitals could see negative margins by 2025 if they don’t automate.
Another huge hurdle that the industry needs to rally around to overcome as a whole is the cost of automation. According to a report by Transparency Market Research on PR Newswire, end users are discouraged by not only the price of implementation of the technology, but also by the requirement of regular maintenance that it adds to the operational costs. Historically, this kind of perception leads to one of two paths: complete rejection of automation as a whole, or a halfway approach with a siloed, step-by-step automation strategy that ends up being ineffective, costly, and maybe even the downfall of the entire organization.
Lastly, a third aspect to keep in mind that represents one of – if not the – biggest obstacles in the process of automation is the patients themselves. People around the world have different opinions about the healthcare they want to receive, some are associated with stereotypes or personal opinions without foundation. Whether the age of the attending physician, their reliance on technology as a crutch for lack of knowledge, and the aversion to technology from the patients themselves – there are a number of issues that come about when it comes to the user experience component of this equation. There’s also a huge expectation about what the hospital of the future will/should look like, and because patients tend to be inpatient – they want it now.
Many other industries might be able to get away with pushing off automation for a bit longer, but when it comes to healthcare, it’s literally a life or death matter. Accuracy in patient records, transfer of information and accessibility of it in a timely manner can make the difference between sustained life-expectancy increase, and unnecessary loss of life.
As a software developer, it is our responsibility to let both our customers and end-users know that technology in healthcare is not an option that can be made in the future, but rather a critical decision that can shape us today.
At Lagash, our solutions are a fit for healthcare organizations because we offer:
- Starting with Design Thinking: patient care and satisfaction should be the ultimate goal of any organization. With that in mind, we design with the patient’s needs in mind first and foremost, and for the benefit of all parties involved to deliver safe and long-lasting care.
- It’s not about replacing humans: it’s still a chief concern among many that technology is here to take jobs away from providers, but in the case of technology, advances are here to save lives. Innovations have always made our lives easier, but now they’re ensuring we’ll be here for the long run to enjoy them.
- Testing and support: our company has one of the most comprehensive testing phases to rule out bugs or issues, a strong and dedicated team of experts to help every step of the way, and support across geographies and time-zones.
For the full analysis of why automating healthcare with Lagash is the way to go, check out this infographic report that clearly outlines the challenges of the industry and our approach to tackling them head on. If you’re interested in a personal consultation with our team of experts regarding what our solutions can do for the health of your company, contact us.