The American healthcare system has been far from perfect for a very long time. Many people do not have access to quality care or cannot afford decent health insurance. These inequalities have become even clearer thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to healthcare disparities, the number of patients is rising rapidly. Many recent hospitalizations are due to the pandemic, but the number of seniors living in the United States is also growing rapidly, a population that requires more frequent care on average.
These patient influxes have triggered a race—a race to improve efficiency and quality care at doctor’s offices and hospitals nationwide. As we look ahead to the future, it’s clear that we need to focus on solutions for improving the way we treat patients, and we need to do it soon. Here are just some of the possibilities!
Robot Nurses & AI Expanding Care Opportunities
Today’s nurses are swamped and burned out. They don’t get to spend much time with patients because they’re always switching between different tasks, from dispensing medications to completing paperwork. Robot nurses and AI could help to take some of the burden off of human nurses by automating certain tasks and allowing nurses to spend more time on the activities they’re best at.
Robots and AI in healthcare can perform a wide range of tasks, and offer many benefits in clinical and telehealth settings. While many people think that robots will take away jobs from human nurses, the concept of bringing automation into hospitals is to make up for staffing shortfalls and to outsource tasks that are repetitive, dull, and dangerous. They can also be used to reduce staffing requirements overnight.
Personalized Care & Treatment
Outcomes are better when patients receive personalized care and treatment. Not only does treating someone as an individual give them a better patient experience, but it also helps to improve outcomes. People are individuals and healthcare shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all!
Personalized care at scale means leveraging data and creating systems of coordination that allow healthcare providers to help each patient proactively manage their health. Ultimately, personalized care could lead to better disease prevention, in addition to improving treatments and doctor-patient relationships.
Automation tools are beginning to make personalized care a reality. At large institutions, big data can help to manage individual health information and reveal insights for doctors that help patients get the best care possible.
Improved Care & Outcomes Through Patient Education
Historically, patients haven’t been empowered to participate in their own care. In the past, doctors were the ones with the knowledge and patients didn’t have much to go on in monitoring or improving their own health. There are more resources than ever for people who want to learn more about health and healthcare.
Today, we know that patient education is the key to improved care and outcomes. Patients know their own bodies better than anyone else, and if they have the information they need to spot potential problems, they’re more likely to seek medical attention when necessary. Education can also help patients maintain better health overall and encourage them to prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
Education also helps patients advocate for themselves. Doctors are human, and they make mistakes. Patients who are aware can spot potential warning signs and help healthcare providers course-correct before they miss something.
Leveraging Big Data to Improve Identification, Implementation & Analysis
In the race to improve efficiency, big data will play a major role. Hospitals are already leveraging big data to improve their internal operations, reduce errors, and improve preventative care, and they will need to embrace data even more as patient populations rise.
Data can help to identify areas for improvement, guide organizational strategy, and even determine individual risk factors for patients. Big data is central to the future of healthcare because it enables a huge number of healthcare trends, including wearables, telehealth and remote patient monitoring, personalization, and institutional efficiency.
Big data can also be used to reduce health disparities by identifying at-risk populations within hospitals so that resources can be allocated toward solutions serving those populations. Health data could revolutionize the way we view medicine in all kinds of different ways!
The future of healthcare is exciting, and it’s approaching quickly. As we see more and more patients walking through hospital doors, it’s time to implement these solutions and improve the healthcare experience for people all across the country.