The Future of Smart Healthcare: Building Connected Smart Healthcare Ecosystem

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare dynamics and the way we approach health services, which has brought smart healthcare to the fore. With adoption of smart technology increasing dramatically over the past few years, smart healthcare enables improved quality, efficiency, access and patient experience of care delivery. As the world is moving toward digitalization and  sustainability, governments globally even take the lead in transforming healthcare landscape with smart technology.

Smart Healthcare is Taking the Stage

So what is smart healthcare exactly? Smart healthcare refers to embedding digital technology and data analytics into the healthcare system, allowing more accessible, connected and optimized healthcare services with data-driven insights. Wearables using IoT and sensors to track health data, telehealth platforms using remote devices to offer contactless patient monitoring, and smart electronic health record (EHR) using cloud and AI to provide patient-centric care, to name a few, are all innovative practices of smart healthcare. Studies have shown that the smart healthcare market is projected to experience remarkable growth of USD 460 billion in the next five years. Healthcare will surely continue to evolve, but what’s next for smart healthcare?

How Healthcare can Learn from Other Industries’ Transformation

Just like the financial sector is embracing a connected financial services ecosystem to enable mutually beneficial partnerships, building a strong smart healthcare ecosystem is the future for the healthcare industry to improve the patient journey. Players such as medical institutions, pharma companies, insurers and more constitute an ecosystem to ensure more patient-centric and sustainable healthcare experiences. Healthcare can take a page from the emergence of Open Banking; banks collaborate with third-party service providers to innovate services for customers, and this requires the sharing of data. The smart healthcare ecosystem is also data-driven; with data shared through electronic medical records, upstream and downstream healthcare providers are able to provide seamless and personalized patient care. The data can not only provide insights for clinical analytics and wellbeing tracking, but also be shared with insurers to determine insurance coverage. What's more, patients are expecting easier access to manage their medical history for health-related decisions and health insurance.

The Key to Connecting and Building a Smart Healthcare Ecosystem

As connectivity is the key to a holistic smart healthcare ecosystem, APIs are the enablers of data communication and exchange between fragmented healthcare systems to maximize the value of data. With secure transmission of information across different systems through APIs, a patient’s medical data can be transferred to different healthcare service providers or stakeholders as well as be integrated with various applications to extend EHR’s core functionality for more diversified health services. To bridge the gap between legacy and new health systems and modernize the data exchange, API management with robust security is imperative, as health records consist of sensitive patient information. In addition, regulatory compliance should also be taken into account. This is where a reliable middle platform featuring comprehensive API management, authentication and security comes into play. 86% of healthcare organizations have suffered from ransomware attacks in 2022, according to a recent cybersecurity report. With the growing use of EHR, data breach mitigation should be healthcare providers’ top priority. A sound middle platform can restrict access to private health data to authorized healthcare providers only and ensure HIPAA-compliant data protection.

Technologies are shaping the future of smart healthcare, with a focus on data sharing to foster innovation and unleash the potential of data, as data is the key driver of building connectivity of the ecosystem. With the help of smart healthcare ecosystems, patients can enjoy enhanced medical care, and healthcare providers can benefit from the capabilities of the ecosystem and offer more efficient services. There’s still a long road ahead of building a connected smart healthcare ecosystem, but we can expect more possibilities and better patient experiences are yet to come.

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