The healthcare industry is in a period of change. These exciting times are seeing a mass adoption of technology and a changing environment for patients. As well as being exciting, change also brings challenges. When we can’t predict what might happen in a few years then we can’t always prepare for it. But laying the groundwork now can help lessen the shocks. Here are some of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry.
Data breaches, ransomware and other cybersecurity issues are coming to the fore in many industries. We’re regulated for our data protection (more on regulation later) to the point where we can face huge fines and loss of reputation if we don’t handle the data of our patients safely. Hackers don’t just hack data for money – sometimes they just do it for the sake of it. This makes the whole process of protecting data both more important and more difficult.
Here at iatro, we are both ISO 27001 Accredited and GDPR Compliant to help you look after that vital patient data.
Shifting Patient Expectations
Seeing new health tech on our TV screens, computer screens and smartphones has already changed the expectations from patients as to what can be done. COVID also changed the way that people look at their health. People want to be healthier. And they expect their healthcare often to be delivered remotely. Contact points, particularly in the healthcare system, are seen as places where infection can be potentially picked up. This makes your GP website even more important. If your patients can order repeat prescriptions and see test results on your website, among other things, then they feel safer – they feel like you are looking after them more.
And what follows with this will be greater regulations. New technologies will need a whole new set of regulations, governing the way we collect and process data as well as a whole host of regulations that concern specific new technologies.
As an industry, we’re run by our ethics. These are the guiding principles with the care and safety of the patient at the core of them. But looking after the practice, your employees and patients all at the same time will be controlled by a more complex set of rules as time goes by.
Any GP practice has a set of goals that they are looking to achieve. But these goals need money. Budget constraints are there for all to see – we have increasing demand for healthcare but a budget that doesn’t increase at anything like the same rate, if at all.
This is why we work alongside GP’s to ensure that as many parts of their practice are migrated to online, easy to use, easy to access systems for patients. Streamlining where we can, this saves time and money. And this frees up cash for other aspects of the business.
A Skilled Workforce
Brexit has undoubtedly made this situation more complex than it would have already been. Healthcare has been affected more by the loss of EU workers than many industries. We’ve always struggled to train the number of staff we need.
There are a couple of issues that we have to deal with here –
- We need more healthcare professionals.
- With new tech, we don’t for certain know what skills these professionals will need.
And this causes problems of its own. If we lean heavily in technology then we need more programmers, possibly fewer face to face people. The industry will look very different in a decade. Again, these are exciting times but challenging times too.
Knowing Which Tech To Adopt
Technology in healthcare is being developed at rates that we have never seen before. As GP practices, we have challenging decisions to make in terms of which technology to adopt and which to pass on. The NHS makes many decisions in this area already, but as more options become available, more decisions will be referred to a local level. Each new piece of tech costs money, takes time to embed and requires staff training too. So, the decision becomes an economic one as well as being about patient care. A wrong decision could cost tens of thousands of pounds. Do your research and tread carefully.
If you have any questions about how you can navigate your way through this minefield, then please get in touch. We have experience on how to help GP’s and other healthcare professionals make the most of their online presence for their patients and their practice.