The healthcare industry is unarguably one of the most sensitive sectors for businesses to operate in since it impacts customers in almost all the ways possible; physical, mental, emotional, and financial. While there has been a massive transformational change in the technology used in healthcare making the delivery of healthcare relatively easier, there are still many challenges the industry must combat with every day to effectively address the concerns of the ailing patients. Some prime examples of the challenges as per Curt E. Liebman MD, the healthcare sector must rise to overcome in the years to come:
Taking Advantage of Advanced Technology
In the modern healthcare sector, both hardware and software are undergoing very rapid change. The Internet of things is also coming of age and providing connectivity between different medical devices across the Internet, which helps massively in data collection in real-time making observation of patient health from remote locations possible. As per one industry study, the number of medical devices connected will jump three-fold in the period 2017 to 2022. Advanced technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence is also increasingly powering software applications managing critical functions like patient administration and laboratory information management. In the years to come, healthcare providers must ensure that they upgrade their data management systems to be able to take advantage of the huge amounts of data that can be collected and harnessed for improved healthcare delivery.
With the increasing amount of healthcare data and personal information now being collected and stored, keeping the information secure from hackers is a really big challenge. In the period of 2009-2018, there has been a large upswing in the number of data breaches that have potentially left around 190 million healthcare records exposed. However, with increasing awareness, the number of security breaches since 205 has been on the decline. Even as more and more healthcare service providers are digitizing their healthcare records, they need to be extra careful of limiting access of confidential data to only persons with the need to know, ensure proper separation of the internal and external medical networks. Strictly follow security protocols for application development, and only work with certified partners for outsourcing projects.
Rising Cost of Healthcare
The crisis of high cost of healthcare is not new but it affects all the stakeholders, including, insurance companies, device manufacturers, healthcare providers, and drug companies, all of who exercise a significant impact on the final cost of healthcare. Not only do high costs hurt the revenues of the businesses involved in healthcare but also it deters many patients from undertaking proper treatment and tests, or even going to the doctor for a checkup. It is evident that with steep costs, the good health of patients and the healthcare sector can be unsustainable. To lessen the impact, healthcare providers should examine the possibility of providing a selection of price points, make it possible for patients to select healthcare plans as per their affordability, reduce the number of tests, many of which are unnecessary, negotiate the cost of prescription drugs for patients, etc.
With the emergence of new technology and changes in the state of the market, healthcare providers will have to be even more alert to threats and opportunities to retain and grow their market share. Mapping the changing requirements and preferences of patients and other industry stakeholders is the way forward to survive and thrive in an intensely competitive and sensitive industry.