The 5 Technologies That Make Healthcare Easier for Patients

November 1, 2018

Here is a list of technologies that make patient engagement with healthcare organizations more insightful and interactive.

As patients continue to have seamless technology experiences with their financial and retail services, healthcare companies will have to continue to bring the same level of customer-focused, innovative services to its consumers.

Below is a list of technologies that make engaging with healthcare organizations more insightful and interactive.

1. Healthcare chatbots. Because consumers are already using chatbots on retail websites, adopting them for health plans and hospitals can help patients that need answers during unconventional hours. For example, Novo Nordisk announced a personified chatbot feature named “Sophia,” available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the organization’s Cornerstones4Care.com customer-facing website. Developers say that Sophia was created based on insights from real people living with diabetes who expressed that they were seeking information outside of normal business hours.

Like most chatbots, Sophia uses artificial intelligence technology, which allows her to become more intelligent and improve her responses over time. Sophia, with the help of her programming team, will “learn” from her conversations to understand what matters most to the patients she is speaking with and become better equipped to provide people with the information they need more efficiently.

Related: Five Disruptors Healthcare Executives Must Watch

2. Smart hospital rooms. Newer hospital rooms are being designed with patients and caregivers in mind. This means, that they are safer, more interactive and embedded with technology. The design firm, EIR Healthcare, announced a prefabricated, MedModular hospital rooms with 90% of the technology already attached to the furniture and fixtures. Designed to be plug-and-play, the rooms feature automatic sliding doors for showers, smart windows and solid surfaces to minimize touchpoints to limit falls and the spread of bacteria. Daybeds and more comfortable accommodations for caregivers are also featured in the design. Because of the modular design, EIR Healthcare says that the smart rooms can cut construction time and costs by nearly 40% for hospitals and patient care centers.

3. AI-sourced app for diabetes patients. The Sugar.IQ assistant from Medtronic and IBM Watson Health reveals patterns that may be hard to see so that someone with diabetes gains meaningful, personalized insights. These insights show how lifestyle choices, medications, food intake, and multiple daily injections impact diabetes management and the time spent with glucose in the target range. The app uses AI and advanced analytics to give users a full picture of their current levels and provides insights and individualized guidance in understanding and managing daily diabetes management decisions.

According to Medtronic, people who used the Sugar.IQ app spent 36 minutes more per day in healthy glucose range than they did before using the app. This represents more than nine additional days in a year that a person with diabetes is spending in a healthy range.

4. Digital patient whiteboards. Patients and caregivers in hospitals want accurate information about patient status without having a request a clinician at all times. Digital whiteboards in hospitals have become more popular, as the connect to a patient’s EHR record and can be updated remotely, versus a clinician erasing and adding new information every time there is an update. The New York-Presbyterian hospital system recently piloted the digital patient whiteboards that display accurate pain scores, fall risks, and scheduled tests. The 40-inch LED display boards show visual data, and also includes pictures of a patient’s entire care team in real time.

5. Self-paced, personalized care for patients in an app. Helping patients to adhere to treatment after a healthcare event can be difficult, especially when they are dealing with complex medical issues that can be overwhelming. The GetWell Go mobile app can be prescribed by a clinician, and includes personalized, multimedia information and care plans so that patients can transition into self-care and retain treatment information at their own pace. Automated tips, reminders and data-entry prompts promote accountability and a customizable framework builds on concepts to reinforce adherence and retention.

 

Donna Marbury is a writer in Columbus, Ohio.