In healthcare, being personal matters. But what happens to the human touch when technology, remote surgeons, and chatbots take over?
While digital transformation is welcome, the breakneck speed at which healthcare is changing remains at odds with the attitudes of the people involved. Suddenly, patients are concerned their needs won’t be met as the world shoves them toward telemedicine, mobile apps, and confusing new technology.
SaaS companies face an uphill battle to drive adoption rates and engagement. It will take more than talk of industry trends or fancy features to convince people to embrace eHealth technologies—you must prioritize the human element.
This article will discuss how five leading eHealth technologies keep the healthcare experience personal. As we explore 15 real-world examples, you’ll get ideas and inspiration to help your SaaS company win the hearts and minds of your market.
15 Personalized Experiences with eHealth Technologies
The healthcare system is becoming increasingly patient-centric. When facing audiences with notoriously resistant attitudes and slow adoption rates, keeping the user experience in mind is vital.
Let’s take a closer look at how SaaS companies are using eHealth technologies to deliver a more personalized experience in healthcare.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Many patients harbor doubts about pulling on a VR headset to tackle their real-world problems, but the evidence for its impact is virtually undeniable (see what we did there?).
Here are three use cases where virtual reality improves the patient experience:
- Anxiety: VR is proven to help treat a myriad of anxiety-related conditions, including PTSD and phobias. The VR simulation enables patients to confront situations that normally trigger fear and anxiety and learn to cope in a safe, controlled environment. OxfordVR ran a simulation to help people tackle their fear of heights and reported a reduction of the issue by an average of 68% after just two hours.
- Chronic pain: Traditional rehabilitation treatment is often boring. Some people find it inconvenient to travel to the clinic for rehab, while others get stressed over the physical or mental demands of the activities. As VR provides a gamification aspect, it’s a more enjoyable, positive experience. Karuna Labs uses the technology to treat chronic pain. The company can tailor the treatment to each patient's individual needs and provide it at a local clinic or the patient’s home.
- Stroke recovery: In a similar way to chronic pain treatment, occupational therapy for stroke patients can be monotonous, and sometimes the slow progress is demoralizing. Helen Morse from UEA’s School of Psychology was involved with an experiment of using VR for rehabilitation with stroke patients. She explained that “the participants particularly liked the competition elements and performance feedback like cheers and clapping in the games, and we hope that this will help increase engagement with rehabilitation.”
Augmented Reality (AR)
The global AR healthcare market will be worth $4.2 billion by 2026. We can assure you that this growth won’t come from doctors taking selfies with bunny ear filters on Snapchat (at least not all of it).
For many people, the notion of using augmented reality in healthcare straddles a line between a gimmick and an experimental treatment—neither of which instills confidence in patients. But there is much to love about this eHealth technology.
Here are three use cases where augmented reality improves the patient experience:
- Assisted breastfeeding: Australian company, Small World, ran a trial of Google Glass with the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Telephone counselors observing through the mother’s AR glasses could “see through the eyes of the mothers” during breastfeeding. This unique perspective helped counselors provide more accurate assistance, and the mothers didn’t need to put the baby down at any point.
- Accurate symptom description: Many patients struggle to describe their symptoms, which can lead to doctors making the wrong diagnosis. Augmented reality helps doctors get a better view of the condition or even offer medical education to guide patients in self-diagnosis. EyeDecide simulates the impact of different eye conditions on the patient’s vision. As patients understand their symptoms and the potential long-term implications of a condition, they are more likely to make positive lifestyle changes.
- Memory aids: Dorothy is an AR assistant that helps people with memory problems, including Alzheimer’s patients. The app reminds users about daily tasks, like taking medication or attending an appointment. It also has a navigation feature to guide people around the house using augmented reality mapping and also keeps users connected with their caregivers around the clock.
Big Data and Analytics
In 2015, an IBM study revealed that the average person would generate over one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime—enough to fill 300 million books! As we push deeper into the 2020s, the world’s healthcare data stores are growing exponentially.
Here are three use cases where big data improves the patient experience:
- Reducing tests (and associated costs): Electronic health records (EHRs) are the most significant healthcare application of big data. Tracking, updating, and sharing patient data between providers help reduce office visits and lab tests. Not only does this save money, but it also improves the patient experience by removing unnecessary touchpoints in their healthcare journey. Medicalchain uses blockchain to put patients in control of their records, helping them collaborate with providers and minimize costs.
- Asthma and diabetes: By tracking the symptoms and real-time trends, a data-driven healthtech app offers users a personalized care system. One such app, myAsthma, provides 24-hour self-management, education, and expert advice to asthma patients. In October 2021, GraphWear secured a $20.5 million investment to support its pursuit of needle-free approaches to glucose monitoring, taking health SaaS into new territory.
- Heart disease: In early 2021, Gartner projected an $81.5 billion global spend on wearables, indicating a promising uptick in adoption as more people become health-conscious. Wearable IoT devices like the Oura ring can track heart health and sleep habits—but SaaS companies can also offer personalized monitoring on smartphones without any wearable device needed. Happitech is the world’s first CE Certified heart rhythm SDK, which integrates with other teleHealth apps to help providers track patient status while they’re on the go.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many people worry about the growth of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Some people think chatbots will bring an end to bedside manner and personal care, and the human quotient will be replaced as everyone shifts toward technology and remote interactions through screens and apps.
But in spite of any concerns people have about robots killing off patients any sense of humanity in healthcare, the reality is that AI allows us to unlock the vast potential of data. In doing so, we can use AI to enhance personalization in healthcare.
SaaS companies can help medical providers deliver precision medicine solutions that are more targeted to the specific needs of every patient. In doing so, AI shifts medicine to offer preventive treatments and personalized service rather than traditional medicine's generic and often reactionary treatments.
Here are three use cases where artificial intelligence improves the patient experience:
- Interactive health management: Nobody wants to be treated like a number or wait around in long hospital queues. Thanks to prescriptive analytics, AI can analyze patient data and perform accurate real-time case prioritization and triage. Wellframe is a digital health management platform that relies on evidence-based care to provide personalized experiences for patients, which they can engage at home on their mobile devices.
- Personalized care plans: Patients who have regular check-ups and treatment expect access to uninterrupted services and a high level of care. GNS Healthcare uses machine learning to evaluate health data and match patients with the best treatment plans, helping reduce costs and provide more effective care.
- Save on medical expenses: As AI can rapidly analyze clinical data and generate deep insights, the technology allows medical providers to optimize resources and reduce the cost of care for patients. Zakipoint Health has an intuitive healthcare dashboard that makes it easy to understand risk and expense, keeping its users engaged in their healthcare journey.
Chatbots and Robotics That Put People First
Crunchbase reports that investors have raised over $800 million in health chatbots since 2019. While many people might think this is the death knell for personalized healthcare, they’d be wrong. Ironically, the rise of the robots is good news for keeping healthcare human.
Here are three use cases where robotics improve the patient experience:
- Mental health care: Youper uses psychological techniques and focused conversations to monitor people’s mood, emotional health and learn more about their needs. The app also includes personalized meditations, and the higher-tier plans offer weekly video sessions with a therapy coach and psychiatric provider.
- Patient attendance: A colonoscopy is a critical procedure in colorectal cancer diagnosis, but 40% of patients don’t show up at their appointment. Northwell Health launched a personalized chatbot app to keep patients engaged by addressing their concerns, providing information in a conversational way through text or email. This automation system engages users, encouraging them to keep up with their healthcare needs. It also helps providers track attendance, cancellations, and overall patient satisfaction.
- Loneliness: Research found that social isolation is a better predictor of early death than obesity, with related mortality risk factors including increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. A robot companion is not the same as a real person (unless you have some especially monotone friends), but social robots like SAM and Pepper are gaining popularity. These robots range from conversational companions for kids to care assistants capable of lifting elderly patients into wheelchairs. They also enable monitoring for providers and have automated alerts to remind users of treatment routines.
Ultimately It’s About Data
Data is the foundation on which many eHealth technologies thrive, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality. As more SaaS companies tap into the power of big data, they are able to deliver on the promise of precision medicine by focusing on specific health conditions, like diabetes, asthma, strokes, and heart disease.
Despite this undeniable connection between data and the evolution of the healthcare sector, many people still have reservations. One of the biggest objections people have about new e-health apps is data privacy—so it makes sense for SaaS companies to focus on how they manage data to deliver a healthcare experience that people want.
FROGED is HIPPA and GDPR-compliant, making us the perfect partner for SaaS companies that need to establish a trustworthy foundation for secure data management in healthcare.
Regardless of how good technology gets, we must remember that healthcare remains a very personal arena. Ultimately, the eHealth companies that focus on a more convenient and custom-made patient experience will have greater success in getting people on board.
Do you need help increasing engagement and adoption rates on your healthtech app? Get in touch with FROGED.