The outcomes of digitization of the healthcare system today
In 2017, medicine is confidently experiencing the digital age. As the last important pillar of our society, which was to take a decisive step, the world of healthcare and care is approaching this transition, as the processes of digitization and automation are growing exponentially everywhere. The author of the article, professor, chief medical director for e-health and telemedicine, describes the problems and possibilities of digitizing the health system. He is convinced that the convergence of digital and genomic revolutions allows for the development of more personalized, personalized, prognostic and preventive medicine.
It is in the field of healthcare that the mentality and regulatory tools are developing slowly, while in the medical care the dizzying pace of the digital world is needed. This presents us with serious challenges, opening up new opportunities for necessary changes in the health care system.
Digitalization of medical sphere. It should be noted that there is a lot of pressure on our healthcare system: demographic pressure and rising healthcare costs that check the solidarity of our healthcare financing system, consumer pressure from users who expect immediate services and, if possible, their mobile phone, and, finally, the pressure from the professional world, which is changing with the advent of the challenges of Industry 4.0.
Demographic pressure: aging and chronic diseases. The current pressure on health is associated with three related phenomena: an aging population, an increase in life expectancy, and the progression of chronic diseases. As a result of increased healthcare costs, our healthcare system reaches its limits in terms of funding opportunities and, above all, maintaining the necessary social solidarity for equitable access to quality care.
In addition to the economic aspects, it is necessary to reconsider more fundamentally our model of medical care production, moving from a hospital-oriented view of professionals to network logic organized around the patient and his family.
Pros and Cons of medicine digitalization. In the main article, the author refers to the Digital Health infographic. Studying this visualization online, I especially liked two things: on the one hand, we are living in a fantastic era when medicine is undergoing profound changes in terms of medical offers and aids, the relationship between the patient and the doctor, roles and contents of various professions of the healthcare system, etc. but, on the other hand, the time it took us to take a serious look at this (digital) innovative trend makes me think.
According to the table, only for the period from 2000 to 2010, the evolution was such that it should be taken seriously, and not just specialists. Looking into the next decade, we really must be careful not to go astray. The identification and adoption of new products is the first step to identify all the pros and cons of digitizing drugs.
The next step is not just endorsing and promoting change and development. A concrete example: our discussions about the content of continuing and postgraduate education do not yet sufficiently take into account the evolution described by the author. And there are many reasons for this.
Firstly, with small steps, if possible, in agreement with all partners involved, new opportunities are difficult to integrate into our processes. Innovation rarely finds its place in compromises.
Secondly, profound changes often cause anxiety and provoke defensive moods. Instead of meeting the news in a timely manner and with courage, we are looking for arguments that could explain why a change will never be considered in this form, in our country or in our discipline. And when changes happen “suddenly”, we are not ready for them, and then the best solution is a pale imitation of what we could achieve by actively anticipating the future.
In this context stands out as an analytical center whose role is: early identification of opportunities and active design of the future is to identify and accompany the early stage of development in medicine and in the healthcare system. In subsequent years, the opportunities offered by digitization, presented in the main article, will remain on the agenda, including in the Central Ethics Commission. Although new technologies are making advances in medicine, they also raise many ethical issues. One of the main tasks is to ensure in the innovative sphere of “e-health” that revolutionary solutions in our healthcare system always correspond to the principles of ethics.