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How Changes in Medical Technology Affect Healthcare Costs

Learn about emerging technologies in the medical sector. Discover how changes in medical technology affect healthcare costs with Fixzy.

The digital transformation of healthcare systems all over the world has been the silver lining of the pandemic.

By embracing telehealth and innovative medtech, healthcare organisations stand to improve patient satisfaction and reduce spending, which is critical with budgets being tighter than ever.

In this article, we’ll discuss various emerging medical technologies and explain how changes in medical technology affect healthcare costs.

Key Aspects that Currently Affect Healthcare Costs

There are two major issues currently impacting healthcare spending:

Demographic Changes

In 50 years’ time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) projects there will be an extra 8.6 million people aged 65 years and older in the UK. However, longer life expectancy leads to an increase in the number of people with complex healthcare needs.

It’s well documented that hospital admissions rise sharply for over 65s, mainly because they’re likely to develop chronic illnesses that need constant monitoring, for example, diabetes and high blood pressure. This leads to a steep increase in hospitalisations and, consequently, healthcare costs.

Coronavirus

Costs related to the pandemic led to a £5.1bn deficit for the NHS in England in the first four months of the 2020 financial year. During the crisis, healthcare organisations needed to extend the workforce to meet healthcare demand, provide extra bed capacity, and cover higher prescription levels at the beginning of lockdown.

Emerging Medical Technologies

The healthcare sector is going through a significant period of digital transformation, with medical innovations helping to take the financial strain off overused and under-funded amenities:

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) blends reality with a computer-generated layer to make user experiences more meaningful through engaging interactions. AR enables healthcare professionals (HCPs) to be more illustrative when explaining new treatment to patients, how medical devices work, and it is often used in delivering remote healthcare.

AR also improves communication between specialists by connecting them digitally and instantly. For example, if a doctor is dealing with a particularly complex case, they can invite a specialist to the virtual consultation and interact digitally using annotations and sketches to reach a conclusive diagnosis.

Artificial Intelligence

The full potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare has not been fully realised. However, it’s becoming increasingly popular in hospitals. In fact, In 2019, NHSX committed to investing £250 million in AI healthcare technology to lead the way in data-driven treatment.

AI differs from other technologies in that algorithms can be designed so that the technology teaches itself. Instead of following predetermined directions from programmers, machine learning capabilities allow AI to develop its own responses based on existing data.

Remote Monitoring Devices and Wearables

Remote monitoring uses technology to monitor changes in patients’ health status outside of traditional clinical settings. With wearables and apps, remote monitoring is now widely available and is particularly helpful when it comes to managing chronic illnesses like diabetes.

The data collected from these wearables can be automatically uploaded onto the patients’ electronic health record to provide an in-depth medical history and support early diagnoses.

The data can also help prevent deterioration by alerting HCPs when necessary and reduce admission to A&E departments. Overall, remote monitoring is becoming increasingly important in ensuring cost-effective healthcare.

The Impact of Technology on Healthcare Costs and Quality

Healthcare expenditure represented 12.8% of GDP in 2020, up from 10.2% in 2019. To put that into perspective, the UK government spent over £219.4 billion on health in 2020/21.

With the coronavirus ravaging the world’s healthcare systems, it’s not surprising that expenses peaked in 2020. But, Deloitte suggests that healthcare spending will decelerate in the future thanks to emerging medical technologies, new business models and highly engaged consumers.

Discover how changes in medical technology affect healthcare costs:

Reducing Unnecessary Visits

Each GP appointment costs the NHS an average of £301, which translates into £810 million being spent each year on non-essential appointments. However, smart technology like remote patient monitoring and remote assistance software like Fixzy Assist can help keep healthcare costs in check.

With the AR-powered Fixzy Assist tool, doctors or technicians can provide real-time interactive guidance to patients who have difficulty using or setting up their personal health devices. By providing quick assistance, doctors’ productivity increases so they can see more patients throughout the day — an instant cost-saving for the health organisation.

Using Fixzy Assist also means that if a technician needs to visit a patient’s home to resolve the issue, they will already understand the problem, which increases first-time fix rates. The faster a problem is solved, the more money an organisation saves.

Quicker Diagnosis

Data-driven technology like AI could see HCPs diagnose illnesses earlier, which means less spending in the long run. In the future, the NHS will test and scale a range of AI-powered innovations that can rapidly and accurately analyse breast cancer screening scans and assess emergency stroke patients to help clinicians deliver the right treatment faster.

Although in the early stages of deploying AI technology, it could save the NHS precious money to help handle the effects of a growing population.

Lower Staffing Costs

Labour accounts for a huge portion of a healthcare organisation’s operating expenses, with staff often working overtime to combat unexpected patient volume.

However, smart scheduling applications can help curb rising labour costs by efficiently allocating human resources. The apps allow organisations to meet their needs without resorting to expensive alternatives like overtime or temporary hires.

By combining data from past shifts and current patient needs, these apps can predict labour demands based on the number of open beds, incoming patients and A&E capacity.

Benefit from Cost Savings with Fixzy Assist

Fixzy Assist uses advanced augmented reality, artificial intelligence, computer vision and deep learning to bridge the gap between patients and medical professionals. Experience the benefits of remote assistance today.

Get in touch to request a free demo.

Posted in Blog Articles on Oct 04, 2021