Apothecary To Science, The Rise of Digital Medicine

Posted by Noteworth on Sep 21, 2020 7:45:00 AM

From historical dramas and documentaries to science fiction fantasy, we have been bombarded with the images of healthcare through the ages. Whether you are an administrator, clinician or patient you have at some point appreciated the advances of modern medical science over its historic atrocities (does anyone remember leaching?).  Edmund Burke is credited with saying “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” and no truer words can be said for the history of healthcare from apothecary to science to technology and the rise of digital medicine.

Healthcare Pre-Technology

There was a time before formalized medical education and national chain pharmacists like CVS and Walgreens existed that PennMedicine.org describes as:

“This was the time of apothecaries – those fascinating druggists who meticulously mixed herbs and minerals, adding a dash of animal fat here and a bit of earwax there, all with the intent of curing the ailments of their fellow man. Historically, the term “apothecary” referred to both the person who manufactured and dispensed medicines (lowercase “a” for our purposes), and the shop in which those medicines were sold (capitalized “A”). Though they remain staples of fantasy worlds like that of Harry Potter, and twee boutiques frequently adopt the title, apothecaries were not mystical, magical beings or peddlers of expensive (and often useless) oils, but highly valued and esteemed medical professionals.”

While apothecary still hasn’t completely disappeared from healthcare today, the conpets of science alla the likes of Louis Pasteurand Florence Nightingale and validated by MedicalNewsToday:

“Modern medicine, or medicine as we know it, started to emerge after the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. At this time, there was rapid growth in economic activity in Western Europe and the Americas.”

There are certainly too many notable people to reference here that delivered major advances in medical science before the advent of the computer but suffice it to observe that trial and error was the “course du rigor” most often at the expense of the patient.

Healthcare In The Technology Age

By most accounts formalized medical records emerged in the 1920’s and as you can image with the commercialization of computers in the 1960’s. Between the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the digitization of healthcare records began as did the appearance of the first solution vendors like Lockheed Eclipsys. Flash forward to today and we now have two distinct areas where technology has come to automate aspects of healthcare and bring about the rise of digital medicine. The two areas are:

  • Healthcare administration (back office): From ERP, CRM and Patient Scheduling solutions to Electronic Health Records, literally billions of dollars has been spent automating the administration of healthcare. As seen above, digitizing medical records was the first use case for technology and regulations like HIPAA continue to fuel the requirement for back office automation to protect patient privacy and security as well as clinicians to some degree from malpractice.
  • Patient care journey (front office): The advent of IoT Healthcare devices I snow dramatically changing digital healthcare yet again. BusinessInsider reported “The global internet of medical things (IoMT) is expected to swell to a $158 billion valuation in 2022, up from $41 billion in 2017.” Refer to our previous blog titled “The Promise and Reality Of Digital Healthcare” for a more in depth view of the ideal patient care journey automation.

The evolution of automation across any industry typically takes a three-step approach:

  1. A significant market requirement (read “pain point”) is automated first because of the potential for immediate return on investment.
  2. Silos of point solutions show up to solve various adjacencies. While these solve specific problems they usually do so in a vacuum and data/decision making abilities become siloed in turn.
  3. A holistic solution delivers on the promise of a fully digital process from back office to front office operations. All data is available for analysis, decision making and cooperative interaction between consumers and users.

We are now coming into stage 3 for digital medicine and solutions are available to bridge the silos.

Delivering On The Promise Of Digital MEDICINE

While healthcare can encompass everything from tracking exercise regimes to reminders to take vitamins and medication, digital medicine is more tightly focused on the care for ambulatory patients. Specifically, how to automate the patient care journey while involving the patient interactively along the path.

Noteworth modernizes digital medicine delivery operations. Our innovative cloud-based, HIPAA compliant, platform provides unprecedented healthcare data collection, assessment and proactive intervention for remote patient monitoring, condition management, home health, behavioral health, telemedicine and care coordination as well as patient engagement. Noteworth enriches the ambulatory patient experience and allows clinicians to practice at the top of their licenses by easily and effectively producing and managing the data that confirms superior clinical outcomes, reducing cost of care and improving patient safety and satisfaction.

Achieving true digital medicine will facilitate greater patient coverage while reducing resource requirements.  So, now is the time to see for yourself how you can provide unrivaled confirmation of superior clinical outcomes, reduce cost of care and improve patient safety and satisfaction by enriching the patient experience and allowing clinicians to practice at the top of their licenses or better yet, request a demo today.

Topics: digital medicine, healthcare delivery, EHR