COVID-19 has had an enormous effect on our lives. Everything has changed. Our daily routines are no longer the same. We anticipated the rise of medical technology that could deal with situations like this.
We wanted to see new medical technology in work: chatbots to communicate with our doctor and mobile apps to provide us with all the necessary steps to defeat the disease. At the same time, we wanted any changes in healthcare to be legal, safe, and supported by the medical community.
When we follow IT trends in healthcare, we must be sure that the World Health Organization fully supports them.
During the 2020 Cleveland Clinic Innovations and the Medical Innovation Summit, Dr. Morris touted their rollout of digital medicine during the pandemic: “Our associate chief of staff and institute chair of obstetrics and gynecology and women's health is driving digital health because it meets patients where they are.”
“We are seeing positive unintended benefits of digital health. We're seeing a patient where they are in their environment at home, [and] understanding their living dynamics gives you a true view of that patient's ecosystem that you normally wouldn't be afforded in an office. I think, while distance and remote monitoring have changed the way we drive the human touch and the interaction, digital health has given us new lenses and new tools.”
— Dr. William Morris, Executive Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations
This article discusses why digitization is essential for healthcare, the top tendencies, and outlines healthcare technology trends in the next five years.
What is going on with healthcare: a brief outline of technologies
In the US, healthcare is developing rapidly. It is estimated that by 2025 the value of the national healthcare product will rise to almost $$6 trillion. Therefore, there is a significant possibility that the government plans to take current issues in medicine under its control.
Meanwhile, medical providers and organizations have already started to implement software development services. Currently, the highest priority software tools includes but is not limited to:
- Custom Software with New Medical Technology
- Healthcare Customer Relationship Management
- Medical Staff Management and HR Solutions
- Hospital Information Systems
- Online Medication Fulfilment and Prescription
- Pharmacy Inventory Management Software
- Laboratory Information Management System
- Medical Appointment Scheduling Software
- Mobile Patient Portals
- Telemedicine and Remote Health Monitoring Apps
- Internet of Medical Things
- Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine
Today, we can enjoy all the benefits of digitalization in clinics. Our health data is stored securely online so that any physician can check the patient’s history. We can consult our doctor online with no need to visit a clinic. Moreover, technologies can help with process organization and treatment itself!
Biggest changes in healthcare of the past 10 years
Although COVID-19 had the biggest impact upon our lives and the medical system in general, health care industry changes have been underway for some time already.
- Physicians have been already using smartphones, tablets, and PCs in their everyday routine to take electronic records
- Telemedicine is now available for everyone
- Remote monitoring helps us to consult our physicians anytime we may need
- Technologies help track specialists, beds, and equipment, thus helping to understand the clinic’s workload
- Online records simplify the lives of physicians and patients. Now, we have health information available online.
- Usage of 3D technologies in disease treatment
Each of these changes were introduced ten years ago, continue to develop, and have accelerated during the pandemic. For example, 3D technologies now help to create live human cells. We’re sure that, in time, 3D will be one of the most effective, in-demand technologies
Future technology trends in healthcare
Future trends in healthcare promise to be educational, informational, and organizational. And, of course, they will be personal—that’s the most important when we’re talking about the healthcare industry.
Healthcare trends can be divided into several categories:
- Trends for Diagnostics
Diagnostics is a basic step of any treatment. In many cases, it can be automated with the help of technology. Moreover, automation helps to reduce the number of mistakes and incorrect diagnoses.
- Trends for Treatment
Technologies can also be used when it comes to treatment. Depending on the diagnosis and contraindications, software can identify the proper treatment for a patient.
- Trends for Preventative Medicine
In early 2020, there was no vaccine against COVID-19. If we had proper software that could develop a vaccine formula, we could defeat the disease sooner.
- Trends for Studying and Education
Healthcare trends for studying are always in demand. Young specialists, students, and even experienced doctors always struggle to know more and get more practice.
In healthcare, the trends are always the same. They always are based on providing the best services for patients. However, the approaches and tools may differ. Currently, the most popular and demanding tools are AR and VR, as well as Artificial Intelligence.
AR and VR in healthcare
AR and VR in healthcare are the most influential and the most impactful health trends in the US. These technologies have already been used in various spheres, and now it’s time to implement them in healthcare.
So, where and how can we use Augmented and Virtual Reality?
- As a Tool for Medical Training
Medical students do need practice. Moreover, doctors and surgeons also need practice. And, of course, no one wants to perform manipulations or operations with risks. AR and VR help reduce all risks in treatment and surgeries and can be widely used in medical education.
- As a Part of Robotic Surgeries
Today, robotic devices perform various operations. VR and AR technologies can help them to be more precise with additional control by a human doctor.
- As a Part of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is required in many cases. AR and VR technologies can be applied anywhere and easily scale for larger numbers of patients.
- As Technology for Psychological Treatment
Post-traumatic stress, crises, and depression are all dangerous states. However, AR and VR can help deal with them, for example, with meditation and relaxation techniques
- As a Basic Instrument for Emergency Treatment
Sometimes, we may need emergency treatment. However, in many cases, this treatment does not even require visiting a medical center. With these technologies, it will be possible to treat yourself on your own under the oversight of a physician.
Of course, AR and VR will be more beneficial in the future. Even now, these technologies are developing so rapidly that it is almost impossible to predict what changes to expect in the year, not to mention the next five.
Artificial intelligence in healthcare
In healthcare, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more popular. AI helps to reduce the number of mistakes and save lives. Now, AI is used to diagnose COVID-19, lung diseases, cancer, neurological diseases, and many others.
According to research, AI for healthcare applications is projected to generate $6.16 billion in revenue by 2022.
AI can help with:
- more accurate cancer diagnosis (PathAI is one of the technologies used for that)
- symptoms check via automated chatbot (Buoy Health is one of the most popular symptom checkers and treatment providers)
- radiology assistance (Zebra Medical Vision is a leading software in this area)
- biopharmaceutical development (BioXCel Therapeutics has been named as one of the “Most Innovative Healthcare AI Developments of 2019”)
- neutral networks for clinical trials (currently, Atomwise is the leading one)
We expect the rise of Artificial Intelligence to improve both diagnostics and treatment.
The state of healthcare business today
There’s one thing we can be sure of today: the future of the healthcare industry is digital. Currently, the process has already started: devices, mobile apps, and software is being used widely. They all unite within the Internet of Medical Things: a combination of different medical devices and applications that connect to healthcare IT systems through an online computer network.
Obviously, the Internet of Medical Things will keep growing. However, it requires improvements from clinics and hospitals.
First of all, all clinics and hospitals should have software that helps them work with the clients and transmit information between other clinics and doctors. However, who will be responsible for the development of such software? From one point of view, the clinics can wait till the government develops a system that everyone will use. How much time will it take? No one knows. From another point of view, a clinic can develop the system on its own and start to implement technological changes now. Later on, they will be able to transmit all information to other platforms if necessary.
If you are planning to improve the performance of your clinic or hospital now, we at Proxet will gladly help you with the development of any kind of healthcare software. Contact us whenever you are ready to implement the newest technologies in your business.
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