Is it possible for technology to enhance the human element in healthcare?

The concept of innovation in healthcare has faced many obstacles. Issues such as cost, compliance, regulation, reimbursement, and cultural barriers have made it difficult for healthcare systems to adopt new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). However, the pandemic has propelled the concept of connected health, which combines digital and legacy care, as a way to improve patient care and outcomes. Many healthcare leaders are evaluating its effectiveness in making healthcare more human.

The physician-patient relationship has evolved significantly in the past few decades, with patients taking greater responsibility for their health and working with doctors to understand emerging medical trends. Technology has enabled patients to access medical resources and information easily, and almost half of all consumers (46%) are open to using technology to manage their health. Telemedicine technology has also shown benefits, as virtual appointments are shorter but more productive than in-person visits.

Clinical trials, which have traditionally faced barriers such as patient recruitment and retention, are now powered by technology. Virtual appointments and telemedicine have allowed researchers to scale sample sizes across geographies, leading to faster completion of clinical trials and faster time to market for medicines.

However, some professionals believe that the healthcare ecosystem is profit-driven and lacks empathy. The U.S. healthcare system, in particular, is designed to drive urgent emergency care, resulting in increased profits for hospitals. The idea that technology may not drive revenue goals raises questions about what human medicine truly is.

Access to personal data is also a contentious issue in healthcare. While many healthcare organizations want to keep patient data in-house, experts argue that giving patients ownership of their medical portfolios would further humanize healthcare. However, the high value of medical data and security risks have hindered adoption of this technology.

In conclusion, technology offers an opportunity to explore more human technologies in healthcare. The humanization of medicine is a work in progress, but progress nonetheless. Sheetal Chawla and Abhishek Kandelwal of Capgemini provide leadership on digital transformation in the life sciences industry.

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