The Digital Transformation of Healthcare is Helping Prevent Blindness, Heart Attacks, and Stroke

emr systems

The positive impact of digital transformation is evident by a mere glance at its definition: technology that drastically improves an organization’s reach or performance. 

And improve reach and performance it has, especially in the realm of medical care. But despite this, studies show that less than 10% of healthcare professionals have executed a full digital strategy.

Telehealth was a rapid transformation, and even newer developments in the healthcare system have a similar trajectory. Cloud computing power, 5G connectivity, and the predictive powers of big data and artificial intelligence are transforming our conceptions of what healthcare is and could be at a fundamental level, and doing it right before our eyes. The technology is out there – it is up to healthcare providers to find and adopt a system that best fits their practice and benefits their patients.

If you are looking to integrate new technology into your practice, below is a guide to some of the most advanced applications of digital technology in the realm of healthcare today. The right technology can improve patient experience exponentially, and help practices further contribute to preventing illnesses like diabetic retinopathy and more.


Wearable Medical Devices

It’s become relatively commonplace for health insurance agencies to give a FitBit to their clients for free, and doctors have more recently caught on to the trend, realizing the power of having a device constantly monitor their patients’ conditions. 

Studies show that preventative medicine like these wearables could save the US healthcare system $7 billion a year, as medical devices with live updates can help determine the likelihood of a major health event, saving lives as well as healthcare dollars.

The more common versions of wearable medical monitoring devices include heart rate trackers, exercise trackers, sweat meters, and oximeters. The first two indicate the overall health of patients and help doctors monitor heart conditions from afar. Sweat meters are used to monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetics, and oximeters measure the level of oxygen in the blood and are incredibly useful tools for those with respiratory illnesses.


Blockchain EMR Systems

EMR systems have expanded how doctors can record information about their patients and coordinate care with other doctors. EMR systems contain the health records for each patient at an office and offer things that make the process smoother like patient portals, e-prescribing, and decision support. 

EMR systems can expand how doctors can record information about their patients and coordinate care with other doctors, and adding a blockchain component to the back-end of these files prevents the important data in medical charts from being hacked and stolen.

While blockchain might initially put a bad taste in people’s mouths, as it is mostly associated with cryptocurrencies, the security technology is being tested as a possible technique for keeping EMR systems secure.

In isolation, a blockchain is a digital ledger that keeps track of transactions. Any activity within a blockchain system is tracked and cannot be changed, which makes sure that information is documented correctly and no missteps are taken. This is a new digital tool that could make EMR systems even more powerful in their ability to help healthcare systems keep their records correct and protected.


Big Data

Big data is another big contributor to digital advancement in the healthcare world, especially with the huge opportunities it provides. 

Over 30% of the world’s data is generated by healthcare. Therefore, managing and interpreting this data is and will continue to be a very powerful tool. It is one of the best ways healthcare providers can digitize in order to provide superior patient care.

Big data sounds like an unbreachable topic, but it really the concept is simple: it’s data sets that are too complicated to be parsed and interpreted through normal methods of data processing. These data come from places like social media, e-commerce, and financial transactiosn in order to identify patterns that can help businesses function more optimally. Specifically for healthcare, using big data can result in lower rates of medication errors, a more effective way to facilitate preventative care, and more accurate staffing to avoid shortages or overstaffing situations.

digital retinal imaging


IRIS Retinal Technology

Digitally transforming a medical practice can mean preventing blindness for many individuals. IRIS, or intelligent retinal imaging systems, uses proprietary image enhancement technology to automatically enhance fundus images of people’s eyes. With IRIS’s digital retinal imaging technology, medical offices around the nation have helped to predict diseases that cause preventable blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, with 95% accuracy.

The best part of this digital tool? The fact that any healthcare employee can perform digital retinal imaging after undergoing a simple training process. This single difference results in a huge jump in patients actually receiving preventative diabetic retinal screenings, which is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to preventing the blindness that can result from a late-stage diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.

Digital retinal imaging like IRIS is changing the lives of many individuals across the nation, with over 110,000 IRIS saves to date. 

And IRIS works in tandem with any of these other digitally transformative technologies as well. As diabetic retinopathy is a disease caused by diabetes, patients can benefit from the preventative measures of tracking their health efforts with a wearable heart rate monitor and receiving an annual diabetic retinal exam to ensure their retina is in healthy.

But the benefits of IRIS’s digital retinal imaging does not end there. IRIS also has the IRC, or the IRIS Reading Center; a host of board-certified physicians that interpret the fundus photos via a cloud-based platform.With cloud computing technology, the IRIS solution quickly returns a diagnosis to the ordering provider’s EMR platform.  

These diagnoses based on the digital retinal imaging capabilities are securely sent straight to EMR systems for easy access and increased organization.



There are a lot of ways healthcare is being digitally transformed. IRIS is at the forefront of all of it, working in tandem with many of the incredible technologies contributing to saving more people’s lives.

Interested in furthering your practice’s efforts to digitize, starting with ending preventable blindness? Reach out to us today to schedule a demo.


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