Digitalizing healthcare step by step

August 21, 2017 -

In a world that is becoming more digital each day, the healthcare environment is facing complex challenges. It’s clear that healthcare companies will need to embrace open systems that allow for sophisticated analysis of multiple data streams and the development of customer-centric services. So how far are we in the digitalization of healthcare? Together with Filip Heitbrink (CEO of QbD Software), we take a look at the current state of affairs.

No more paper in 2 or 3 years

In most professional contexts, paper is becoming extinct. The world of healthcare is no exception to that. However, not all minds are prepared for this change. “In the pharmaceutical sector, whatever remains of paper procedures will completely disappear in the coming two or three years”, Filip Heitbrink predicts, “But there are still some environments – like smaller labs or hospitals – that hesitate to make the full switch.”

Paperless procedures offer countless advantages that lead to efficient cooperation and faster results: something the patient will benefit from in the end. Think only of the digital signature, which saves everyone lots of time and is even more reliable than a paper one.

So why the hesitation? Does the implementation of a digital platform demand lots of time and budget? Implementing what you truly need is the answer.

Filip Heitbrink: “At QbD Software, we don’t want to sell technologies, but we want to solve the client’s real problems. That’s why we closely look at the pain points of the organization and how we can offer genuine return on investment.” The CentralKick™ Portal is a good example of this approach: it enables everyone involved to follow the studies’ progress, obtain reports, and post questions in a clear and consistent way. It’s the perfect remedy against inefficiency and time loss, and will in the end lower costs drastically.

The Cloud is floating by

Another trend we’ve been seeing the past years is the emergence of the Cloud as the ultimate tool for storing and sharing data. But the Cloud is currently floating by the pharmaceutical world, which is still rather reluctant to make full use of this solution. The confidentiality surrounding patient data is at the basis of this hesitation.

What you do see, is that a growing number of healthcare institutions are making use of a hybrid solution: some data are stored in the Cloud, while other data don’t leave the physical premise. It’s a first step, which makes clear that the pharmaceutical sector will be more open to Cloud solutions in the coming years.

“The challenge will be to offer the latest Cloud solutions, while keeping them validated at the same time,” Filip Heitbrink explains, ”Because software needs to evolve, but the validation should keep pace with the upgrades that are pushed continuously. QbD Software is now developing some solutions to tackle this.”

Healthcare isn’t truly mobile yet

With more and more health apps being sold every day, one would think that mobile healthcare is happening as we speak. Well, not entirely. Yes, health apps mean booming business, but some issues still prevent them from being accepted as a real alternative for what doctors and researchers can do. Take the example of patient identification: how can it be verified that the data are really coming from the patient?

Filip Heitbrink: “Today’s apps are more about consumer health, instead of acknowledged science. Technology should evolve a bit more to make healthcare truly mobile. We’re getting close, but we don’t have the hardware yet to identify patients, which is needed to make smartphone data reliable and trustworthy.”

The digital generation is also emerging in healthcare

Technologies are evolving rapidly, but we still have a long way to go before we can make full use of today’s possibilities in the world of healthcare. “Mindsets still need to change and legislation should keep up – to name but two challenges,” Filip Heitbrink concludes, “However, with the rise of the digital generations, it’s clear that openness towards technological solutions will increase faster than we might think, also in healthcare.”

At the same time, the technologies themselves will always be ahead of their time. Think only of learning algorithms that will increasingly be able to interpret data – and probably one day establish diagnoses themselves. We’re still far from that point, but who knows: we might be blogging on that evolution faster than expected.

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