Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has been rapidly identifying ways to replace manual tasks for more efficient digitalized solutions. While healthcare technology has certainly made treatment more convenient and accessible, some may worry that the digital nature of today’s health systems may lack the personalization and human touch of more traditional medical practices.
Thankfully, studies are actually pointing in the opposite direction. Contrary to popular belief, the digitalization of healthcare has improved relatability and human interaction outcomes in many cases. Before telehealth appointments, the average doctor’s visit would take at least two hours, with only around 20 minutes of that time being actual doctor and patient interaction. This often increased the rates of missed or rescheduled appointments because it created an aversion for many busy people without the time to spare.
With telehealth appointments, generally only 13-15-minute interactions are made with the doctor, but over half of patients reported that telemedicine increased their involvement in their own health and treatment, and often led to more informed and engaged in-person doctor’s visits. One study even showed that over a 10-week period, only 1 in 825 telemedicine appointments were cancelled as a result of the increased convenience and efficiency.
The utilization of AI in healthcare has also resulted in an analysis of wider collection of data, which allows medicine to be more sensitive to gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic differences among patients. Medical professionals now have more tools available to create equity in medical spaces and treat patients with information that is more up-to-date and socially aware.
In addition to these factors, telehealth has helped increase the number of participants in medical trials. A 54% increase in respondents’ likelihood to participate in clinical trials was reported, with the knowledge that unnecessary in-person visits would be eliminated.
Outside of a hospital environment, it was also reported that 49% of respondents suffering from mental afflictions like depression and anxiety as a direct result of the pandemic sought help through networking online and through specialized mental health telehealth options, often lowering barriers for entry for those who might be hesitant to attend in-person counseling.
With the new normal in healthcare evolving as quickly as the technologies being implemented, patients, providers, and their communities can expect to health experiences that are even more personal due to the connectedness, convenience, and adaptability that digitalization affords.