Advancements in information technology have prompted rapid changes in many areas of our lives. Strangely, stepping into the typical doctor’s office isn’t a whole lot different today than it was several years ago. That’s finally beginning to change, and the healthcare industry is starting to embrace IT in a variety of ways. In addition to being used behind the scenes to enhance accuracy and efficiency, IT is increasingly being used to make healthcare more accessible for consumers. Three trends in particular are leaving their mark on healthcare:
- Programs that remotely track employees’ health
- Telehealth services
- The pharmacy industry’s increasing reliance on mobile technology
Employers Seek to Reduce Healthcare Costs with Special Monitoring Devices
While companies can’t require employees to wear health-monitoring devices, many are offering incentives to those who do. This move is primarily being made to encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles, which should then lead to reduced healthcare costs. Devices like the FitBit are compatible with programs that remotely track people’s progress in categories like blood pressure and other vital signs. Employers are then able to reward employees who reach certain goals. Whether the reward comes in the form of a bonus or a few extra vacation days, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Telehealth Services Increase Efficiency and Lower Costs
A doctor doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same room as a patient to issue a diagnosis. Thanks to monitoring devices and excellent teleconferencing programs, telehealth is a more reasonable and effective option than ever. Some insurance companies are promoting telehealth programs as a way to keep people’s premiums low. Programs like Ringadoc are slowly but surely growing in popularity. Many savvy, forward-thinking doctors are also using digital communication as much as possible to ward off overcrowded waiting rooms and other issues that negatively affect the patient experience.
Pharmacy Companies Get into the Mobile Technology Act
Generic drugs are more popular than ever, so the major drug companies are searching for ways to remain relevant to consumers. They’ve enjoyed a great deal of success with mobile technology. For example, apps are now available for popular, widely prescribed drugs like Lipitor. These apps allow drug companies to keep consumers informed about outcomes, drug trials and other important topics. More importantly, at least in the drug companies’ eyes, they increase the odds that people will stick with their brand drugs and won’t switch to generic alternatives. You can expect to see more apps like these in the months and years to come.