Today, the emerging field of connected or digital healthcare is a reality. Connected healthcare is revolutionizing the industry by making diagnosis, treatment, and prevention widely accessible at a low cost. This will soon shift from fee-based to value-based care. With advancements in wireless technology, digital healthcare has set the stage for significant industry disruption. Digital health promises affordable, highly efficient, and easily accessible patient solutions.
(2) Digital transformation in healthcare Sector – key highlights from the World Quality Report
Before we begin to discuss application of digital technologies in the healthcare sector, it is worth discussing excerpts from the World Quality Report 2016, as applicable to the sector
- Considering “Appointment of Chief Digital Officer (or the same in progress)” as key indicator of digital maturity, healthcare sector is considered a laggard in 2016
- Healthcare organizations have been the largest users of private cloud, apart from the public sector.
In terms of state of maturity in digital transformation, as per findings of WQR 2016, the healthcare sector is not in the forefront of digital transformation; however, it has enormous scope. In this blog, I would discuss applications of digital healthcare, digital healthcare ecosystem, key challenges in digital eHealthcare, need for robust QA, and customer journey validations required.
(3) Applications of Digital Healthcare
Key applications of Digital Healthcare include -
- Remote patient monitoring (RPM)
We are witnessing the confluence of emerging technologies with healthcare and an increased awareness of our own bodies.
Wearable pedometers and heart monitors have been around for years, letting people keep a track of how far they walk on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, further letting them track the amount of calories they are burning when they exercise. These devices also let people monitor their heart rates, as most doctors advise raising your heart rate for at least 30 minutes every time you exercise. The newly released Apple Watch, has given wearers the ability to track an array of different types of health statistics. Such devices generate huge amounts of data that can potentially be used in conjunction with medical records, doctors, and hospitals to provide a better, more personalized level of service.
And let us not forget new applications for the remote monitoring of chronic illnesses, and applications for remote diagnostics.
If your phone is helping you to predict and prevent medical problems and providing a more intimate, personal level of service than your doctor ever could, your need for basic medical services and consultation will likely decrease.
We will soon witness the next wave of personal technology tailored to our individual medical needs. Imagine you have just undergone a major surgery; you have been released from the hospital and are recovering at home. You would need constant personal monitoring, visits from relatives and nurses, trips to and from the doctor, and a host of inconvenient tests. What if your smartwatch could track your vitals and transmit the data in real time to your surgeon, your primary care physician, and the hospital where your surgery was performed?
The transmitted data would be analyzed by custom software that could identify any extant or pending problems. If something serious were likely to happen, you would automatically be scheduled for an appointment and be sent a text letting you know when and where to come in for a check-up. Apart from being cost-effective for patients, it would be extremely convenient. The same idea can be applied to people with chronic or other serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
- Behavior modification
Governments, insurers, employers, and most importantly, patients and their physicians recognize that digital technology is the key to meeting the challenges of healthcare provision in the 21st Century.
Cloud software, smartphone applications, online marketplaces, and data analytics are established technologies that the healthcare sector is embracing now. Digital technology is the key as healthcare seeks to become more efficient and patient-centric, paying for remote treatment and outcomes delivered with much care.
More and more, patients across the world are taking charge of their own healthcare. Hospitals, pharmacies, insurance companies, and medical professionals, are finding themselves forced to adapt to this new wave of digital disruption or face losing patients and falling behind their competitors.
Digital disruptive technology transformation and adoption for any healthcare organization needs a detailed assessment. Digital QA plays an important role as healthcare organizations are becoming more patient-centric.
(4) Digital Healthcare Ecosystem
Let us first consider the healthcare ecosystem. Key entities such as providers, pharmacies, payers, banks, insurance companies, and clearing houses, etc. are depicted in the figure below:
It is worth noting that four typical digital applications in eHealthcare are in the areas of (i) health Information systems (ii) Digital pharmaceutical and life sciences (iii) Providers and (iv) Payers. A Digital blueprint for ehealthcare is visualized below -
(5) Typical Challenges in Digital eHealthcare
The key challenges faced in this ecosystem include:
- High frequency of changes and releases
- Validation of multiple channels for offering consistent user experience
- Ever-increasing regulatory compliance
- Data security and privacy concerns
- Concern relating to reliability and security of wearable devices
(6) Need for Robust Digital Quality Assurance
The above challenges need to be addressed through a robust digital eHealthcareQA framework. Capgemini has developed a robust Digital QA offering to cater to the eHealthcare ecosystem. The offering includes required QA and Testing services to be performed for digital healthcare assurance.
Digital eHealthcare Quality Assurance solution should offer
- A consistent and homogenous customer and user experience
- Agile testing for a faster time to market
- High performance through cloud based solutions, and
- Secure application deployment.
(7) Digital eHealthcare Customer Journey Validation - An Illustration (Patient with Wearable devices)
The illustration below offers customer journey validation steps for a patient with wearable devices.
Digital eHealthcare landscape is evolving and includes applications in Health Information System, Pharma & Life Sciences, Provider, Payer space. eHealthcare ecosystem has its own challenges and validation needs to address those challenges. A robust validation service incorporating functional, usability, performance, compliance, migration, devices, compatibility, accessibility, security and other aspects would ensure successful deployment of Digital eHealthcare applications. A customer journey validation approach ensures that all key touchpoints in the customer journey are validated.
For an in-depth look at the key trends in Testing and QA, download the World Quality Report 2016 http://ow.ly/BEOh304rWx0
Renu Rajani, Vice President, Capgemini - Testing Global Service Line; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranganath Gomatham; Senior Manager, Capgemini - Testing Global Service Line; email@example.com