In the past decade, we’ve seen major growth in the use of technology in healthcare. This should come as no surprise, as we’ve seen the progression from flip phones to smartphones in the same time frame! Just as it seems there’s constantly a new iPhone being released, there always appears to be a new advancement in digital health.
Some of the biggest advancements have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic strictly out of necessity. Think about it – had you ever had only virtual appointments before 2020? Probably not! Health systems were not only forced to implement technologies, but forced to implement them fast. Because of that, a lot of healthcare professionals and their patients might not understand all the different digital offerings out there. We’re here to explain a few of our favorites!
It’s not just about virtual appointments
Yes, technology in healthcare absolutely refers to virtual visits, but it includes so much more than that. What stands out to us? Interoperability, artificial intelligence, and chatbots, just to name a few.
While these may sound confusing, we promise they’re not! Each of these solutions plays a key role in advancing healthcare. The more that people understand them, the more they’ll be adopted by health systems, helping the industry progress further. Let’s dive in, shall we?
It’s about interoperability
Kicking things off with interoperability, it’s important that we start with a simple definition. Interoperability is the ability of systems and devices to exchange and interpret data.[i]
One of the best examples of interoperability is SMART on FHIR technologies. This is what we use to power our integrated medication adherence platform. SMART stands for Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies, and FHIR stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. SMART refers to the application, and FHIR refers to the actual data. Together, SMART on FHIR creates a framework to build healthcare applications that don’t rely on one specific vendor, meaning they can share data across any healthcare system.[ii] This allows clinicians to have a seamless user experience.
Say a baby is born prematurely and the initial care provided is documented in the NICU’s system.[iii] Once the baby is discharged, her next visit could be an outpatient office visit, meaning the care is documented in a different system. Her following appointments might include check-ups with her pediatrician, specialist visits, or hospital stays. Thanks to the interoperability and data sharing that SMART on FHIR provides, every provider can see a complete medical history within their system.
There’s no question that interoperability can significantly enhance healthcare. With data being presented consistently to all parties, efficiency is improved, care transitions are safer, and costs can even be lowered.
It’s about artificial intelligence
Chances are you’ve heard of artificial intelligence, and chances are you might have an idea of what it is. For a quick refresher, AI is essentially the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.[iv] Artificial intelligence is nothing short of amazing, which is why we’re seeing it grow so rapidly.
AI is capable of a lot. At EveryDose, we use it for a few things in particular:
- To help health systems and health plans identify patients that are at high risk of becoming non-adherent to their medications; this helps prioritize outreach efforts
- To engage with mobile app users; this helps to identify their unique adherence barriers and pinpoint areas where we can help them improve
- To deliver personalized nudges and tailored content to our mobile app users; this helps keep patients engaged in their health journey
All of this reduces the risk of preventable medical complications and allows clinicians to maximize their time. Imagine sifting through everyone’s data, finding each individual’s medication trends, and figuring out how and when to intervene! There are definitely better ways to spend your workday, and if AI has it handled, why not?
It’s about chatbots
Until recently, many people used to be bothered at the thought of not talking to an “actual human.” Nowadays, chatbots have become so capable that they’re often the first place that patients turn to when they have a question about symptoms, medications, and so on.
The perks of chatbots are pretty straightforward. They can schedule appointments and remind patients to take their medications. They can gather information from patients that is then filtered to the right clinician. They can act as a form of social support and encouragement, proving to be a helpful guide in one’s healthcare journey.
Ultimately, chatbots empower patients to take control of their health as well as improve health systems’ workflow. With outcomes like those, it’s no wonder they’re being implemented everywhere! Heck, we even got on board and made one of our own – Maxwell!
Ultimately, it’s about connection, engagement, and education
Whether you’re a provider or a patient, you can benefit from technology in healthcare.
Thanks to interoperability, we’ve never been more connected. Clinicians can be miles apart from one another and see the same data, keeping everyone up to date in order to provide the best care possible.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, we’ve never seen more engagement. The personalization that AI offers draws patients in. For example, when the EveryDose mobile app informs Bob that he’s only been 57% adherent this week, he feels motivated to increase that percentage.
Thanks to chatbots, we’ve never been more educated. Since patients don’t have to wait for hours to talk to someone, clinicians receive information they might not have had the chance to get to before. With the quick response time and competencies of chatbots, patients can get answers fast, too.
Cover photo by Unsplash
[i] “Interoperability in Healthcare.” HIMSS, HIMSS, 11 Sept. 2020, www.himss.org/resources/interoperability-healthcare.
[ii] Collier, Mitch. SMART on FHIR: Is It Worth the Investment or Just Another Burden?, 31 Mar. 2019, hitconsultant.net/2018/12/10/smart-on-fhir-investment-or-burden/.
[iii] Lefebvre, Ayesha. “What Do I Need To Know About SMART on FHIR?” J2 Interactive, 24 June 2020, www.j2interactive.com/blog/smart-on-fhir/.
[iv] “Artificial Intelligence Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artificial%20intelligence.
[v] “What Is a Chatbot?” Oracle, www.oracle.com/chatbots/what-is-a-chatbot/.