Digital Healthcare Revolution - Dream or Reality?
According to Christian Schmid, the Managing Director at Credit Suisse, healthcare spending in recent decades has grown faster than the rest of the economy all around the world. In the U.S. alone, the annual spending on healthcare is a very significant proportion of the GDP—18 percent. Many medical and technological professionals including Schmid believed that digitalization would disrupt the future healthcare industry by reversing the healthcare cost increase trend. Digital healthcare can manifest a completely new healthcare system by facilitating the improvement of disease diagnosis and medical treatment while shifting the focus from treatment to preventive care and new technologies such as sequencing of human DNA.
There are a large number of people and insurance companies worldwide taking steps to practice and promote ehealth including real-time health monitoring devices like wearables recording health information such as blood glucose, blood pressure, food intake, and more. However, the adoption of digital healthcare isn’t undeterred, due to hiccups such as insufficient awareness of and trust in the new technologies among people, and the need for compliance with existing regulatory requirements. As per Viroj na Ranong, research director at Thailand Development Research Institute, technology will improve treatment efficiency, without much impact on the cost of treatment. And, the shift towards preventive approach can perhaps delay but not eliminate the chances of suffering a disease altogether.
Despite the hurdles on the road, science and technology are fast innovating with growing patient-centricity, we may soon see a future day with a life expectancy of up to 90 years by 2020. The enhancement of interoperability, effective use of patient data, and enhancement of patient engagement and experience are primary measures to smoothen the path towards digital health revolution. It is also essential to ensure that IT environments in healthcare institutions are up-to-date and robust. The developing IT landscape is aiming for a possible disruption of the global healthcare system, bringing the overall cost down, and benefiting both patients and new market entrants.