Policymakers who double Investments in health tech can expect three times the value in return, according to the OECD.
The “Health in the 21st century” report by the OECD from 2019 paints a glooming picture of digitization in the health sector. In summary, the report estimates the health sector to be two decades behind other sectors like banking and retail when it comes to leveraging new digital opportunities. Needless to say, vast amounts of resources could be saved by taking a more proactive approach
On average, the OECD health budgets allocate 5% to digitization. The report, however, predicts that by doubling this share, the return would be three times as much in time saved, cost reductions and most importantly, patient satisfaction.
Smart use of data, IoT, predictions through AI and cloud-based systems are some of the tools that could make patients more satisfied with the healthcare they are offered, and in addition, save taxpayer money and create a better resource allocation within healthcare – so that doctors and nurses get to spend more of their time on the most pressing duties, the patients they care for.
Although work remains to be done, some countries are already experiencing what the new technologies have to offer. Below are a couple of examples of how they’ve applied new tech to make society healthier.
In 2018, TietoEVRY conducted an experiment with the city of Espoo to predict future health needs of their 250 000 citizens. The experiment combined the social, healthcare and early education client relationship data of the entire population for the years 2002–2016.
By analyzing this data mass, new preventive methods were identified for targeting services to citizens, for example, to prevent social exclusion. With support from AI and data analytics, new service paths can be developed. Social and healthcare service professionals can also utilize AI in their daily work to support decision making. A sign of the bourgeoning use of AI to make health care more proactive.
Since 2014, the Norwegian town of Lillehammer has used automated medicine-dispensing robots as part of an effort to ensure home care residents receive the right medicine at the right time. Now, the robots have been integrated with the Norwegian Gerica medical records system delivered by TietoEVRY. The integration boosts automation and frees up the time of nurses to focus on important clinical tasks.
Technical alerts such as "medicine delivered" and "medicine not delivered" from the robots are automatically logged in the medical record system before being communicated to a home service application used by healthcare professionals.
Lillehammer has had 26 medication robots from in use during the project period. Now they are ready to grow that number. Between 80 and 100 users are mapped, and the aim is for 70 medication robots to be rolled out by mid-June 2020.
In the future, there will be fewer care providers delivering the elderly care, while at the same time, care providers will increase the treatment and care for patients in their own homes.
In 2020, TietoEVRY started a joint innovation project with two Swedish municipalities, Malmö City and Kristianstad, with the aim of investigating how to introduce digitalization into the homes of users of a home care service. This was done through the voice-activated assistant “Florence”.
The goal was to use technology to support staff and users with a focus on three key areas:
The first phase of the test period was completed in April 2020. So far Florence is only a prototype and we are excited about continuing the examination and development of the service together with our customers.