As industries race to keep up with the digital demands of consumers, healthcare has noticeably lagged behind. The needs for security and confidentiality have added to the hesitation surrounding online platforms, but digital technologies have recently been racing to keep up with consumer demands. With much of the U.S. under shelter-at-home orders over the past few months, patients need to be able to pay bills, schedule virtual appointments, and fill prescriptions from the safety of their own homes.
A hacked social media account can be bad news, but access to medical records and patient files is a breach of HIPPA law. Perhaps this is why digitalized healthcare hasn’t caught on as quickly as other virtual conveniences. Now that patients and providers are in the midst of a global pandemic, the need for socially distanced diagnoses is greater than ever.
Virtual treatment is a current necessity, but is only one facet of digitalized healthcare. A larger, long-term goal is the cloud-based accessibility of patient medical records. While past security fears have impeded the move to cloud-based medical records, modern measures make it easier to protect data. Cloud-based tech can increase the speed of diagnostic tools, and facilitate top-notch continuity of care. If providers are able to access patient records with a quick click of the mouse, they can make informed treatment decisions.
On-demand healthcare isn’t just relevant in a COVID-19 scenario, but adheres to the general trends of consumer ownership of services. Smartphones and other devices have made everything from ordering groceries to engaging in therapy as easy as pushing a button. On the flip side, it’s also more convenient for physicians to offer certain services remotely, rather than in the office.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but digitalized healthcare can result in more personal care. Increased data availability means an increased personal approach, either because the provider has access to a wider timeline, or because he or she can tailor a treatment based on the patient’s genetic profile. When a shift in personal approach to healthcare aligns with available technology, digital options will increasingly appear.