Healthcare systems worldwide are still reeling from the effects of the global pandemic. Most countries bulked at the demands of the emerging, rapidly evolving health crisis. The healthcare industry became a major frontline in the efforts to curb it. It is a stark contrast to how slow healthcare technology trends have been adopted in healthcare historically.
But now, technology innovations will have to be hastened to meet the demands of keeping the world safer and healthier. As the National Center for Biotechnology Information puts it on the “Impact of a Global Pandemic on Health Technology Assessment,” the crisis precipitates change.
From on-demand diagnoses through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to mobile medical technology like wearable devices, we will see new emerging technologies rise to the occasion this 2020.
See the latest healthcare technology trends that are emerging and evolving to meet the demands of keeping the world safe in this “new normal” we are heading to.
Healthcare Technology Trends this 2020
1. Telemedicine in Healthcare
The recent pandemic has stretched healthcare systems to its maximum. Hospitals had to treat a ballooning number of Covid-19 patients, but at the same time, make sure that other patients with other diseases get medical treatment as well.
To preserve human touch, telemedicine, even more, went to the forefront of healthcare trends this year. In fact, telemedicine is currently one of the most significant sources of rapid change in the healthcare system.
Telemedicine bridges the gap between patients and providers. is the use of electronic communications and software to monitor and treat patients remotely. Telehealth, which covers telemedicine, has grown steadily as a billion-dollar industry throughout the years. IBIS World records that its revenues in the US alone have increased by 34.7% annually from 2014 to 2019. The market size in 2019 is $45 billion, projected to grow to more than $175 billion by 2026.
But before the pandemic, telehealth services were not as widely used as expected. Recently, there is an upsurge of telemedicine companies worldwide. Here are some of them:
Teladoc is one of the first telehealth providers in the United States. They offer different medical services. These include paediatric services, non-emergency medical issues, dermatological conditions, dermatological conditions, mental health consultations, and sexual health consultations. Another benefit of Teladoc users is that students can access their doctor’s prescription and lab results sent to them digitally. However, Teladoc is only available in the United States.
The moment you create an account with MeMD, you can talk to a nurse practitioner or doctor right away through video conferencing. MeMD does not have lab tests, but patients can consult with experts as well regarding results. Prescriptions can also be sent digitally.
iCliniq has more than 3500 doctors from more than 80 telemedicine experts to serve users from 196 countries as of date. It is best for medical second opinion or advice for any health concern. It keeps the patient’s data private and secured through SSL and data-at-rest encryption.
It makes use of chatbots for on-demand connection with their users. You can get in touch with a doctor anytime, anywhere, without having to take a queue for appointments. Travelers also need not worry about doctor’s appointments or emergency consultations even while there are traveling.
Doctor on Demand
Doctor on Demand promises users that their doctors are always in, 24/7. It ensures that they can give support to your health wherever you may be. Their doctors are US-based, board-certified physicians, licensed psychiatrists, and psychologists available on schedule.
It also allows users to add doctors to their “favorites” list so that you can rebook them easily in the future. It is particularly helpful for people who are more comfortable working with the same doctor as much as possible.
They also offer support to new mothers through their lactation consultants. Other services they offer are urgent care, behavioral health or emotional health support, preventive health, and chronic care.
Telemedicine is revolutionizing diagnosing and treatment in leaps and bounds. Not only do you have access to specialists with little to no waiting time, but the acceptance rate of patients also increased. The availability of digital records also made it easier for records to go back and forth between patient and doctor.
It is extremely helpful in rural and remote areas where the presence of a specialist is not always guaranteed. And even if there is a specialist available, it is difficult to get specialists in all areas of medical care. Telemedicine bridges that gap.
Even if you may be in a remote location, you can still have an expert’s opinion on your case through telemedicine. Telemedicine also works excellent for medical practitioners in these areas. A specialist can now guide procedures, even surgeries, through telemedicine.
Real-time monitoring of patients through telemedicine has also reduced the readmission rates. Wearable devices make it possible for doctors to monitor their patients’ condition remotely. It will not be long before remote monitoring becomes a staple in post-discharge healthcare for patients.
Here is a feature on Telemedicine as the future of healthcare:
2. Wearables Will Bring Deep Data Insights and Challenges in Healthcare
Fitbits and smartwatches have become mainstream. What started as a way for users to monitor their health now jumped to another level of remote patient monitoring.
Due to the pandemic, the use of wearables will become more prevalent to assist doctors in monitoring their patients post-check-up or post-medical procedures like surgery.
Wearable technology can provide significant benefits to healthcare practitioners and providers. Medical professionals get a greater insight into the health concerns of their patients are going. This data can be utilized further by monitoring patient data over a long period of time; medical professionals give a more accurate diagnosis based on the data collected.
Wearable technology, or simply called wearables, are electronic devices that users wear as accessories, designed to gather data of the user’s exercise and other personal health details.
Wearables can record and monitor fitness levels, track GPS location, and check messages more quickly. Wearables are connected to your smartphones via an app. Data can be transmitted to a doctor via cloud storage, so the doctor remains aware of the patient’s wellness even remotely.
Wearables encourage users to be proactive about their health. They are encouraged to do self-care to a higher level. Emergencies can also be recognised as soon as they happen.
3. Internet of Medical Things in Healthcare
Wearables use the IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) technology, a result of combining IoT development with telemedicine. ECG and EKG heart monitor This trend led to developments in inpatient experience and increasing revenues for the telehealth industry.
By 2021, the market for IoT devices in healthcare is anticipated to reach $136 billion, according to Allied Market Research reported. The most significant increase in the market will be around the Asia-Pacific region, led by healthcare providers – hospitals and doctors.
AI and Machine Learning improves the accuracy of diagnosis and strengthens security in Healthcare.
On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will increasingly enhance diagnosis and prognosis, as well as security, in the healthcare industry.
AI can monitor unusual behaviors on a network, detect fraud, and anticipate malware infections based on previously identified characteristics, among other security measures.
Artificial Intelligence, along with Machine Learning, will improve significantly how health practitioners and providers identify and diagnose conditions, develop treatment procedures, and crowdsource for other medical expert’s opinions. Practitioners can also track health epidemics, make medical research and clinical trials more efficient, and make operations able to handle the growing demands on the healthcare system. By 2020, medical data will double every 73 days.
That is why both technologies have substantially transformed the healthcare system.
However, attacks on the healthcare system have also increased rapidly. Since hackers target networks to access sensitive data such as patient details, banking details, and the like, it is crucial to keep your systems secure from hackers.
AI technology also helps in preventing malware and data breaches from protecting the integrity of healthcare providers and the industry itself.
5. Cloud Computing in Healthcare Operations
The use of cloud computing technology in healthcare makes its operations cost-saving and highly efficient. Healthcare providers can share records with ease and without fear of data breach.
The use of cloud storage and backup solutions also makes the data all the more secure. It also automates backend operations and even aids in the creation of mobile medical apps.
6. Mobile Medical Applications (mHealth)
Mobile Health (mHealth) uses of mobile devices and apps to bring healthcare into the digital age. Medical providers are incorporating mHealth and mobile medical apps into their practices at a remarkable rate, hastened by the pandemic.
By 2022, 98% of hospital doctors and 97% of nurses will be using mobile medical apps and devices to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients. As of now, these mHealth apps are minimizing errors in administering medication to patients, assisting lab technicians in specimen labeling, and avoiding medical mistakes. Developers are working to include access to medical and drug databases, laboratory results, and electronic health records (EHRs).
7. Blockchain Technology in Healthcare Operations
Blockchain is beneficial across different industries. It is a democratized network with no central authority. Since it is decentralized, it is not owned by one entity. Data in the blockchain system is cryptographically stored. Whatever is stored in the blockchain is unalterable. It prevents anyone from tampering or manipulating information. Lastly, blockchain is transparent, openly accessible, and trackable.
Through blockchain technology, patients can assign access rules for their medical data for a fixed period. Patients can connect to other hospitals and automatically collect their medical data.
Through blockchain, medical fraud can be preventable as all transaction histories can be generated. Patients have access to their data, and the medical providers they have authorized.
Conclusion: Technological Trends in Healthcare Saves Lives
These technologies mentioned here provide better healthcare to billions of people, most of whom are under stay-at-home orders. They also aid the healthcare systems to cope with the overwhelming demands of the pandemic.
Telehealth will only widen its reach and scope of services. The benefits will only continue to be evident. People will continue to resort to technological innovations to preserve human touch without compromising the accuracy and quality of healthcare.
Access to the best medical providers, even in rural areas, will save lives as quality healthcare reaches remote areas through these technological innovations. Nobody needs to be deprived of healthcare services anymore. Emergencies can be addressed quickly too. It is a huge undertaking, but it is something we need to embark on because it is the future of healthcare.
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