"The healthcare industry is undergoing a monumental shift, not just in how it is administered, or in the politics and logistics of the system – both of which are in constant flux – but in how providers and tech companies offer opportunities for people engage with and interact with their healthcare choices online.
The internet has already upended entire industries across the globe, changing how we buy cars, meet our future partners and consume media. But healthcare has been slower to change. Stubbornly paper-based for far longer than many other fields, healthcare administration has spent the last several years transitioning to a digital format.
This is evident in many ways – the way patients find new doctors, the process of researching and learning more about drug interactions or speaking with pharmacists, and how we access and engage with personal medical records are changing because of the internet.
Augmenting the Patient Research Experience
People have been able to use the internet to search for symptoms or treatments to every disease, or potential disease, under the sun for decades. The advent of massive databases of cross-checked data such as WebMD are ubiquitous, but not nearly as insightful (or accurate) as actual medical professionals.
Researching and Finding Care With Digital Tools
Another area in which healthcare has changed online is in the way patients can find the care they are looking for. New technological tools are making it possible for even small family practices to implement online appointment booking and share practitioner information to a wider audience.
New Standards of Responsibility
With new technological integrations come a great amount of responsibility. HIPAA continues to do a great job to ensure patient confidentiality and uphold the integrity of medical professionals and companies by regulating a standard of practice.
In terms of security, HIPAA mandates data security guidance via the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the federal agency responsible for developing information security guidelines, also defined as data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
The Future Of Healthcare In An Always-Connected World
For healthcare providers, practitioners, insurers and researchers, the internet offers an opportunity to engage with and provide value to patients like never before. As a result, those who are actively building platforms to alleviate common pain points, provide value to their patients and make the process of accessing information and making appointments easier are putting themselves on top."
Read the full article by Zach Binder, for Forbes.com