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  • Writer's pictureVictor Mbatau

Value Based Healthcare For Better Patient Outcomes

With the advancement in technology, traditional medicine has gradually begun to digitize and smart healthcare has emerged. It incorporates a new generation of information technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to make healthcare more efficient, convenient and personalized. The main concept behind smart healthcare involves the combined use of telehealth, electronic record management, smart home services and intelligent and connected medical devices.

How does smart healthcare, therefore, contribute to better patient outcomes? Let's first look at the end-users in its ecosystem. The main participants include doctors, patients, hospitals, research institutions, diagnostic laboratories and government organizations, and involves multiple dimensions such as disease prevention and monitoring, diagnosis and treatment, hospital management, clinical decision making and medical research. From the perspective of patients, mobile and wearable devices are used to monitor their health at all times, seek medical assistance using virtual assistants and the use of smart homes for remote services.

Doctors can plug into this system for clinical decision making support to assist and improve diagnosis, and manage medical information through an integrated information platform. Hospitals can use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to manage personnel materials and the supply chain using integrated management platforms to collect information and assist decision making. From the perspective of scientific research institutions, techniques such as machine learning can be used instead of manual drug screening and finding suitable subjects using big data.

Improved patient outcomes can therefore be achieved through the various applications of smart healthcare based on different needs. Artificial intelligence, surgical robots and so on can help improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases because of their accuracy and provide a clinical decision support system that doctors can use for expert advice and improve the accuracy of diagnosis, reduce incidences of missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis, and enable patients to receive timely and appropriate medical treatment. The patient’s condition and disease status can also be accurately described thus helping to develop a more personalized treatment plan.

Health management, especially for chronic diseases, is particularly important as smart healthcare pays more attention to patient self-management, and emphasizes on real-time self-monitoring, immediate feedback of health data and timely intervention of medical behaviour. Wearable smart devices and smart homes connected by IoT technology provide a solution to this situation. Smart homes, in particular, can provide home assistance to the elderly and the disabled by collecting health data and help people who need care to reduce their reliance on healthcare providers and improve their quality of life at home. Wearable devices and smart apps can be used in disease prevention and risk monitoring by analyzing results collected based on big data-based algorithms to help doctors and patients adjust their medical behaviours and lifestyles at any time, and also help decision-makers to develop regional health strategies to achieve the goal of reducing disease risk and burden.

With the advancement in technology, there is still considerable room for improvement. This is especially important through the establishment of a uniform standard between different regions and organizations to ensure data integrity and compatibility between different platforms and devices thus removing barriers in information exchange. Otherwise, smart healthcare is beneficial in many ways; for medical institutions, it can cut down costs, relieve personnel pressure (burn out), achieve unified management of materials and information and improve the patient’s medical experience. For research institutions, it can reduce the cost of research, reduce research time and improve the overall efficiency of the research. With regard to regional decision making, it can help push the process of medical reform and promote the implementation of preventative strategies.

The transition towards smart health services is a slow and steady process and healthcare providers need to be constantly educated and convinced to adapt to the digital era. By bridging the gap between the different healthcare professionals in the industry using smart healthcare, more research problems and diseases can be addressed and smarter lifestyles can be adopted.

Image by macrovector via freepik


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