Tom is feeling under the weather and decides to make an appointment with his doctor because it feels more severe than the common cold. In fact, the shortness of breath and frequent headaches he’s experiencing make him wonder if he’s somehow contracted COVID-19. Here is his remarkable (and seemingly futuristic) digital healthcare experience.
Tom logs into his PCP’s website and schedules a telehealth appointment, including documenting the symptoms he’s experiencing. When it’s time for his virtual visit, he finds out his doctor is actually conducting the appointment remotely as well, but has already looked at all the information Tom provided because he’s able to access Tom’s EHR through a secure network connection.
The doctor runs through a series of additional questions and determines that, fortunately, Tom likely does not have the coronavirus. But, he is concerned there may potentially be a more serious condition that could become life threatening if not treated. So, Tom schedules another appointment for additional testing at a local lab.
Before he goes for the tests, Tom completes a COVID-19 screen on his smartphone before receiving clearance to enter the facility. To expedite the on-site process, he is also able to sign necessary consent forms digitally, which are uploaded to his digital record. Once complete, he is ready for his diagnostic scans. As the door to the scanning room is opened, it triggers motion sensors that automatically turn on the lights. Immediately after the scan the data is uploaded into his record.
Tom’s doctor is instantly notified about his results. His data and health record are analyzed and compared with a global health database. The AI engine uses pattern recognition to analyze the image and determine that Tom likely does suffer from a potentially serious, but treatable condition. Tom’s doctor wants to verify the result and brings a specialist into the conversation through the telehealth platform, where he is able to share the scans and other data in real time. Fortunately, it’s a common procedure, but it requires an overnight stay at the medical center.
In the days before his procedure, Tom virtually interacts with his doctor and the surgeon who prepare him and ensure he understands the pre- and post-procedure processes. Upon arrival, a kiosk conducts a multi-sensor check-in process that scans his temperature, heart rate, and respiration. Tom also uses the wayfinding application in the lobby that helps him navigate to the department where his procedure will take place. In the mean time a nurse prepares his room, including making sure the appropriate equipment is in place to transport Tom and monitor his vitals post-procedure – all of which she is able to track down through a digital asset management application on a tablet connected to the health center’s Wi-Fi network.
During the procedure, Tom’s surgeon brings in two remote medical students to follow the process in real-time via the telehealth platform – it’s a great educational experience. He also includes one of his colleagues to provide support should any complications arise. Fortunately, the process goes smoothly and Tom is quickly resting in his recovery room, connected to a series of sensors that monitor his vitals and report back to a central nursing station.
When Tom wakes, he is able to turn on his in-room entertainment system to watch his favorite season of The Office, submit his order for lunch, and call the nurse for some pain medication. He is also able to connect to the guest Wi-Fi to video chat his family and friends and let them know he is doing well and will be home later that day – and to post on social media what a great experience he had thanks to the innovative technology that made what could have been a long and frustrating experience smooth and seamless.
Because there is still some risk for a few weeks, Tom is equipped with a medical-grade wearable monitor to record his vitals and automatically transmit them into his EHR. Individualized thresholds are set by the doctor to alert the medical staff of any abnormalities as he recovers. He also has a mobile app he will use twice daily to report his pain level and any other symptoms. The same app reminds him when to take his medication, which the doctor prescribed easily through the telehealth platform for pick-up at Tom’s local pharmacy on the way home.
A few days later, Tom’s doctor checks in with him through the telehealth app to make sure he is feeling better and not exhibiting any of the previous symptoms. The digital interaction uses a speech recognition engine to transcribe the conversation and append it to Tom’s EHR.
At the end of the recovery period, there are no complications and Tom is feeling much better. When he thinks back on it, the entire process was simple, and every interaction and every data point was recorded in his digital record for future access.
Tom’s experience is a model for healthcare providers everywhere, driven by digital tools, automated systems, and efficient processes. Digital healthcare solutions like that are being implemented in healthcare systems across the world to drive better care and outcomes. They represent a major shift in healthcare culture that is being driven by three technology trends.
The result is a smart healthcare ecosystem that harnesses the power of the modern network to connect devices, data centers, AI engines, doctors, and patients to deliver information to who, when, and where it’s needed. As a result, healthcare systems can meet their goal of creating a consistent and available flow of information to power healthcare decisions and create seamless experiences for patients, while enabling providers to treat more patients with better outcomes. Furthermore, the efficiencies gained through automation, digital tools, and smart hospital systems also help reduce the burden on doctors and staff, who have suffered from burnout for years.
None of it is possible without a modern and secure network infrastructure to enable the end-to-end digital healthcare experience patients and doctors need and expect.