-The MetaOptima Team
Technology has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives. However, what may be welcomed as a valuable resource to some is seen as an overwhelming challenge for others. In a world where nearly everything is digitally-dependent, how has this impacted the healthcare sector’s ability to provide life-saving care?
Research shows that 31.8 million Americans are digitally illiterate, meaning that they are unable to utilize communication or information technologies to locate, analyze, create or communicate information through a digital medium.1 Perhaps relatively inconsequential for activities such as shopping or entertainment, this has had negative results in healthcare for both the patient and physician alike.
The Need For Patient Digital Literacy
Rapidly growing in both supply and demand, patient-oriented health tools are the latest craze to sweep the tech industry. Health apps, wearables, appointment booking, dermoscopy imaging tools, patient portals (via telemedicine) and accessible patient records are only the first items on a growing list of available resources designed to empower patients with the ability to monitor or take initiative with their own care.
Cited as being able to bridge the gap between physician and patient, these technologies increase patient engagement and education at every step of their health plan. Unsurprisingly, this can result in more comprehensive medical records and a higher rate of quality care. However, in order to be able to take advantage of any of these amazing technologies they must be digitally literate.
Increasingly, citizens are digitally enabled and empowered; raising expectations of capability and innovation, relating to their health and well-being aspirations.2
Digital Literacy In Healthcare Providers
As the healthcare system continues to evolve, medical professionals must be equipped with the latest digital health technologies, such as telemedicine, cloud-based EMRs, clinical decision support tools (powered by artificial intelligence), clinic analytics, and much more. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons this fails to be the case. From education, communication, information sharing, to diagnosis, medical professionals are saturated with obstacles:
Physicians fill an average of 20,000 forms per year 4
On average, it costs $20 in labor to file each physical document 4
Patient charts cannot be located on 30% of visits 4
Whether due to strained financial resources, fears over security, or lack of professional interest, healthcare institutions are failing to adopt the digital technologies necessary to provide their patients with advanced, potentially life-saving care.
Understandably, empowering medical professionals and healthcare professionals with the latest digital health tools for continued well-being, monitoring, education, and knowledge has become a high priority. However, with this revolution brings the need for both the care provider and recipient to be digitally literate in order to take full advantage of these revolutionary care resources. Therefore, the development and implementation of these digital technologies must be inclusive by recognizing both the benefits and challenges experienced by different demographics in order to provide a fully comprehensive solution for the healthcare sector.
-The MetaOptima Team