It is expected that digitalization in healthcare will enhance the health system and the fact is that healthcare is experiencing a digital revolution. The covid-19 pandemic has opened up new frontiers in medicine with innovations, mobile devices and others. Tracking the spread of the virus became easy with the help of applications on smartphones and doctors were able to search for the signs of pneumonia the virus can cause in the lungs of people with artificial intelligence(AI). Digitalization in healthcare is not only useful during the pandemic but offers various benefits that can range from prevention of disease and the treatment to care. Apart from that it allows the effective usage of resources by the national health system and helps them to last long.
There has to be a change of concept in the health system for the effective usage of digital resolution. In the past, it was very expensive and difficult to make treatments according to the specification of a particular individual but that is not the case anymore with digitalization. A new approach to healthcare is now made possible as one can easily have access to the highly individualized drug. Work is ongoing to improve the usage of technology and data in healthcare according to the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan. They also believe that making treatment according to the specification of an individual will improve wellbeing and health. And is not something that will be achieved later in the future but this is what has already started.
The ability of precision medicine in saving and helping lives depends on good quality, how easy it is to have access to data like our lifestyle, DNA and environmental factors. This has been a challenge that has contributed to the death of millions of patients with rare diseases around the world because there is no common data portal and global governance for such data. The World Economic Forum plans to break that barrier to Health Data Governance as they create an initiative. The initiative focuses on growing and testing a framework that supports effective and responsible access to sensitive data across the border for easy treatment and diagnosis of rare diseases. The data is to be shared through a federated data system as the data will remain at the originated source and will let various institutions have access to each other's data
This type of health system would be all-around since it works based on nursing-care needs, individual disease profiles and lifestyle. The advancement in artificial intelligence, data and other technologies has made it possible to see the potential of data-driven and diversity-focused healthcare at low cost. It has also opened up lots of possibilities such as being able to design prevention and treatment plans that are very effective for each individual and dealing with personal preferences like medical interventions or risk. The entities that collaborated for this project are in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.
The information gap that exists within healthcare needs to be a bridge through the incorporation of digital technology. For instance, Taiwan was one of the countries that we're able to successfully contain covid-19. They were able to achieve this because Taiwanese authorities were able to take advantage of cashless payments, National Health Cards during the early period of the pandemic. Also, they make use of the universal health insurance system to get masks to those who need them and to easily provide medical supplies. Though the digital tools used were used excessively by the youth and only a few percent of the elderly were able to buy masks. Later on, the authorities provided additional information that is specific to the elderly by directing them to a particular pharmaceutical store at a specific time and that was when their percentage increased. This means it might take time for the elderly to embrace the use of digital tools and to get accustomed to them.
Here are some of the companies that are already using this approach according to the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.
SOMPO Holdings: this is an insurance group in Japan that took advantage of data to tackle the problem of staffing shortages and is presently working on more personalized service in nursing care.
Takeda Pharmaceutical: is the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan that monitored Parkinson's disease patients with the use of wearable devices and telemedicine during the implementation of one of their test cases. And this helps them to see the potential of lessening hospital visits and the burden of disease.
Salesforce: is a giant cloud-based software that helps to centralized digital data of patients and as a result, improve patient engagement and operational efficiency for healthcare workers.
One thing that is common among the three companies mentioned above is that they didn't replace the contact between patients and doctors or the elderly and caregivers but can use digital instruments to support that contact in the real world. The idea of this system is to use data and technology to enhance and strengthen traditional services. This kind of healthcare approach helps health care providers to meet the needs of individual and social challenges. This would have been impossible if not for the fact that digital means are combined with traditional services.
The possibilities of this can only be achieved through collaborations among governments, medical institutions and companies. The collaboration of multi-stakeholders in this kind of initiative is very important to achieve success. An innovation that is driven by leveraging on the strengths of every business, the perspective of individual industries, maximizing cooperation and rethinking traditional networks is bound to be successful and effective.