What is Healthcare 4.0 & How Will It Change Your Practice?
Posted by Robert Cecchi
Imagine a healthcare industry where wearable health sensors automatically detect changes in patients’ bodies to adjust medication. Where doctors practice medicine remotely via augmented reality glasses. Where artificial intelligence uses data and analytics to develop personalized health plans tailor-made for each individual.
All of this is not only possible but coming to your medical practice in the not-so-distant future as Healthcare 4.0 technologies flourish and mature. Are you prepared for the coming changes?
What is Industry 4.0?
In continuity with industrial progression from the manual to the mechanized to the computerized, humanity once again finds itself on the cusp of a new technological era that will forever change the way we work.
Experts refer to this next stage of development as “Industry 4.0.” You may have heard of the smart technologies that define it, like 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Big Data Analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud/Fog Computing, and Machine Learning. Beginning with manufacturing, these technology solutions are in the process of overhauling how we build & distribute software, organize supply chains, perform routine tasks, utilize data, and more.
With the right application, savings using Industry 4.0 tech have been seen as high as 30%, with error reductions reported up to 40%. Needless to say, the efficiency improvements from this technology are revolutionizing our ability to get things done and allowing us to push our resources further than ever before.
What is Healthcare 4.0?
The phenomenon isn’t isolated to manufacturing; healthcare technology is growing in tandem with industry. Dubbed “Healthcare 4.0,” this offshoot of development builds off Industry 4.0’s Big Data Analytics, Cloud/Fog Computing, and Internet of Things (IoT) foundation to forge emerging tech ranging from wearable health devices and virtual appointments to surgical robots.
We’ll realize the full potential of Healthcare 4.0 when these solutions connect all elements of the healthcare system through a cohesive smart network. Ultimately, the goal is to leverage information technology to allow computers to communicate and take action without human interaction, which will produce better patient outcomes with greater consistency.
What Are the Best Smart Healthcare Technologies?
The possibilities of such advancements are massive for a healthcare industry that faces major challenges, including high demand, skilled labor shortages, complex value chains, and intense competition.
Smart healthcare technologies address these obstacles by offering better care at lower costs and with increased flexibility and scalability. Cost reductions as low as 1-3% can produce savings in the millions when applied at scale. Industry-wide, the growth potential from Healthcare 4.0 is in the billions of dollars.
While some solutions remain in the infancy of development, early iterations of Healthcare 4.0 smart technology are already establishing themselves in the market. Before long, your practice won’t be able to pass on the cost-saving, efficiency-boosting benefits these Healthcare 4.0 technologies will bring.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote devices and wearables are becoming the new normal for healthcare. These instruments monitor patients in real time to collect and analyze relevant health data. Providers can use this data to create a holistic portrait of patient health, detect health issues early, reduce hospital visits, and make better decisions.
Mobile applications take what you love about your EHR, practice management, and billing software and make them available on the go. Need to refill a prescription, approve an appointment, or view lab results outside the office? Mobile apps let you get work done on a phone, tablet, or computer, both wherever and whenever.
Likewise, apps improve healthcare on the patients’ end too. With a patient app, patients can request appointments, prescriptions, and view test results for improved convenience and peace of mind once they’ve left the office.
Telemedicine is already a tried and tested technology that expands healthcare services' reach. With telemedicine, patients can see a doctor from their home without having to commute, park, and wait in reception for a 10-minute appointment.
Specific sectors, like mental health, have already seen massive shifts toward remote care. Soon enough, we are likely to see telemedicine explode across the rest of the healthcare industry following the adoption of virtual/augmented reality technologies that offer experiences comparable to in-person visits.
At its most basic form, artificial intelligence is shaking up healthcare through chatbots and virtual assistants that help patients perform basic tasks, like registering for an appointment. But AI is accomplishing so much more!
Already, advanced artificial intelligence is streamlining critical workflows at the Mayo Clinic by analyzing MRI and CT scans faster and more accurately than humans. The medical applications of AI are exciting, but the benefits don’t stop at traditional medicine. AI will also be able to review administrative processes—like medical billing—to detect errors, making the entire industry more efficient from front to back.
While robotics are a long way from human capabilities, functional robots are helping ease the growing skilled labor shortage across medicine.
Take remote surgery robots, which make operations easier by performing physical labor. Surgeons manipulate robotic arms through controllers on a computer interface to produce precise and stable movements. Besides reducing errors, this technology allows surgeons to switch in and out of complicated surgery while maintaining a high quality of care and extending career spans.
Robots are taking over clerical work as well. For example, DosePacker’s pharmacy robot sorts prescription medication autonomously and packages doses for consumption. Robotic solutions like this will empower pharmacies to get more done with less.
Although each of these technologies will not usher in the “4.0” era individually, together, they will create a smart healthcare technology network that unlocks a new age of efficiency, productivity, and excellence.
Start Your Healthcare 4.0 Journey With Meditab IMS
Meditab’s award-winning EHR solution, Intelligent Medical Software (IMS), has the latest Healthcare 4.0 features like Remote Patient Monitoring, Mobile Apps, and Telemedicine. Alongside 24/7 support, our advanced system offers your practice the tools you need to stay competitive and maximize results. Contact the Meditab team to see how you can achieve higher revenue and better patient outcomes today.