The healthcare industry has, until relatively recently, been slow to adopt new technologies and ways of providing services to consumers. As the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses, schools, and public places, the need to quickly and decisively pivot to new means of providing care dramatically accelerated the digital transformation of the healthcare industry. Two Booz Allen Hamilton executives, Angela Jones, Program Manager in Digital Health Transformation, and Dr. Kevin Vigilante, Chief Medical Officer, recently shared their views on how the industry can “think bigger” as it envisions the future of care.
The confluence of technological advances such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, advanced wireless connectivity, and digital sensors offers the potential to transform healthcare into a highly connected, agile, and personalized system focused on a holistic view of patient health over an entire lifetime, rather than the traditional visit-based model that treats specific illnesses or injuries. According to Jones and Vigilante, the aspirational vision of healthcare’s future should be inclusive, ubiquitous, and proactive.
By leveraging 5G wireless connectivity and telemedicine, providers can offer a centralized point of contact for patients that provides the freedom to access a variety of integrated care options that fit their circumstances and lifestyles, without being limited to physical proximity to a clinic or office. Integrated solutions combined with robust architecture on the back end can leverage multiple data sources to enable providers to make “whole patient” decisions, free of information siloing between different providers.
Biometric sensors can provide a wider view of health trends versus what is observed in a single office visit, and team-based care models can be configured and personalized around the specific needs of individual patients, with support tools providing opportunities for early intervention. Analytics and automation could both reduce administrative overhead and maximize improvements to quality of care by providing a broad array of insights, diagnostic possibilities, and treatment options.
Ultimately, while technology can offer the potential to advance the state of medicine and unleash a variety of opportunities to reduce costs and improve outcomes, a mindful implementation is what makes digital transformation successful. A clear vision and implementation road map will ensure successful integration of new technologies into older systems, and a patient-forward focus when developing new solutions will ensure that new technologies bring providers and patients closer, instead of pushing them further apart.