The healthcare industry has seen a tremendous amount of change in a short space of time with healthcare automation leading the way. Technologically, the sector has transformed across the globe and automation has inspired progress and innovation for a more efficient future.
A big part of this involves digitalisation as IoT technologies allow companies to implement smart automation procedures. From the manufacturing floor to engineering workshops, dispatch and after-sales, healthcare automation technologies have the potential to improve cost, accessibility and patient care.
What Is Healthcare Automation?
A prime example of healthcare automation is digital support that can take several forms. It can either be an online training wizard for the staff or a recommendation engine that can help resolve technical issues much faster and without involving the IT department for minor problems.
Other examples of healthcare automation include things like Dynamic Case Management, Document Management (ECM) and Workflow Automation. Healthcare companies around the world want a unified system that can support electronic medical records, prescription information and revenue cycle management among many others.
Intelligent automation has been crucial in redefining healthcare as an industry by streamlining digitisation, enhancing processes and introducing certain efficiencies that were impossible before. This means staff can provide better patient care as healthcare automation can take care of the more clerical, mundane tasks.
Healthcare Automation And Medical Tech Trends
The healthcare sector is no stranger to innovation and technology as we’ve seen significant developments in recent years. Along with AI, AR, VR and 3d printing, 5G should also be on this list as it will provide unprecedented connectivity speed, quality and reliability to every industry.
If you consider the sheer amount of data healthcare workers contend with, AI and marketing automation is primed to make it easier for us to manage and understand. It’s becoming more important to quickly process this data and implement personalised patient care around it.
Looking at the intricacy of medical equipment and tools, technology has played a massive role in improving medical manufacturing and engineering capabilities. This includes 3D printing or additive manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
3D Printing In The Healthcare Sector
Without getting into too much technical detail, 3D printing is widely used in the healthcare sector. It helps in the development of new surgical cutting and drilling guides, prosthetics and more recently, replicas of bones, organs and blood vessels specific to the patient.
3D printing improvements have resulted in lighter, stronger and safer products across the healthcare sector. Not to mention significantly reducing lead times and production costs. Additive manufacturing has enabled better customisation and faster prototyping which is essential for healthcare manufacturing.
According to Academia.edu, “the global market for 3D printing is expected to reach $2.3 billion (£1.8 billion) by next year”. The technology has provided the sector with more patient-specific and personalised care which is only going to get better. 3D printing has made it possible to create intricate replicas of organs and body parts which were science-fiction a few short years ago.
Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality
VR and AR need no introduction as these technologies have already made a massive impact in the gaming industry. Now, it’s proving to be an indispensable tool serving an essential purpose within healthcare automation.
Virtual Reality has already helped patients with trauma, PTSD, depression, cancer and autism. They also use VR to give patients a virtual representation of their surgical plan in a step-by-step, patient-specific process. This involves a 360° reconstruction of a patient’s anatomy and pathology which helps them understand the procedure and treatment which results in enhanced patient satisfaction.
Augmented Reality is playing a more direct role, including the following:
- Helping surgeons during brain surgery and other complex procedures
- A device from start-up, AccuVein, that helps nurses find a patient’s veins
- Lab workers can monitor experiments
- Big pharma can use it to show patients how a drug works instead of a long-winded label
Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare
The power of AI is hugely beneficial in healthcare automation and, as we’ll discuss in the next section, marketing automation. However, it’s a more important tool in healthcare as it can greatly reduce and mitigate the risk of preventable medical scenarios.
For example, one of the best uses of AI in healthcare is doctors collecting information from pre-op medical records while obtaining the necessary insights. This enables healthcare professional to identify patients who are in need of specific and urgent medical intervention. It can also generate alerts for medical staff to initiate custom care plans.
In a different application, AI-enabled cognitive surgical robots can act as a healthcare practitioner to diagnose and triage minor medical issues. This means human physicians and other healthcare professionals can focus on more serious cases whilst providing that personal touch.
Recommended: ‘Incredible Examples Of AI In Healthcare’
Marketing Automation In Healthcare
When implemented correctly, marketing automation can improve long-term customer experience through effective patient engagement and personalisation. Using the right data, marketers will have a more strategic approach when creating targeted campaigns to connect with patients. It helps eliminate repetitive tasks and minimise the risk of spamming people with generic and non-personalised messages.
Marketing automation is highly effective but it should always be backed by a comprehensive marketing strategy. Healthcare professionals and marketing teams must collaborate as it requires the successful implementation of SEO to build their brand, inform patients of their services and spread their message.
One of the most critical aspects of digital marketing is establishing a presence or reputation on Google and other search engines. While marketing automation can help, it all comes down to the efforts of marketers themselves which will drive better patient outcomes and experience.
Related: ‘A Beginner’s Guide To SEO’
From improving the patient experience to enhancing medical procedures, healthcare automation and emerging technologies are driving the sector forward. Besides improving productivity and accessibility, it will help reduce costs and could even have a bigger positive impact on people’s overall quality of life.
With VR and AR reaching $5.1 billion (£3.9 billion) in the next 5 years, these technologies are becoming essential for training and surgical simulations. At the same time, experts predict that AI in healthcare could grow to a $6.6 billion (£5.1 billion) industry by 2021. It has real potential to help reduce the spread of disease and ensure populations stay healthier.
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