The world is going digital. Digital is touching every aspect of our lives and is truly the way forward. We all know it. According to this report on CNBC, venture investors poured $4.2 billion into health-technology startups in 2016 alone. And today, even the least techy patient is accepting that they can book appointments online and get reminders from GPs and hospitals by text. Whether it’s electronic booking or access to medical records, healthcare is finally embracing digital technology.
In the CNBC report, Mary Meeker outlines her predictions for the advancement of tech healthcare to be primarily in the areas of data gathering, patient information, data storage, clinical trials and even diagnosis. But what does this mean for healthcare professionals and patients?
Clinicians play a huge part in the development of clinical software tools but many find themselves lacking support when it comes to commissioning innovative solutions. When they voice their (sometimes considered) disruptive ideas, they’re met with an uphill challenge. They lack backing, often have challenges sharing their vision and ultimately struggle to get buy in at a level that gives them access to the budget they need. This is probably why people in this situation have a tendency to take the safe option – after all, nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.
At PhysioWizard® we find this a real shame. What it means is that clinicians are missing out on the opportunities that combining their well-researched and documented needs with a disruptive startup could create by means of solution. The great thing about startups is that they have the ability to flex and pivot, they have a nimble footedness that’s impossible for larger companies to achieve, especially when starting with a blank sheet of paper. And a blank sheet of paper is where most promising digital healthcare solutions start. Put all of this together, whilst digitised healthcare is still young and is filled with excitement and opportunity, it is difficult for anyone to take on the role of trail blazer.
The software systems used by healthcare providers and hospitals are on the whole very basic, so it’s vital that companies developing innovative products are aware of this. Developing digital healthcare tools requires both software robustness and clinical reliability. And this is a difficult combination to get right. Clinicians and software engineers speak very different languages. And then of course there are users who speak a completely different language again and have different goals. Tech teams and clinicians aren’t always celebrated for their communication skills and they both have a language of their own. Perhaps this is why so many users find digital health tools frustratingly difficult to understand?
And finally there are all the clinical trials to test safety and efficacy that must be completed with on tools which influence patient pathways and treatment. While testing and trialling is an essential part of quality patient care, it can be a frustrating process for developer and clinician.
There’s no getting away from the fact that blazing a trail in digital healthcare is a minefield made up of a whole range of different players, but we at PhysioWizard® see this minefield as an opportunity rather than a threat. Our journey to enabling self-assessment triage that rapidly matches patients suffering from muscle and joint problems with the recommended treatments was never going to be easy, but it’s one that’s well worth taking.
If you’re an Occupational Health professional, Private Health Care provider or are in the Public Health Sector and would like to find out more about how PhysioWizard® could make life easier for you and your patients, why not request a demo?