The pandemic has spurred digital transformation across various sectors. The ways we shop, work, socialize and even see a doctor have been enhanced by the technologies.
The healthcare industry is advancing day by day with the active use of modern digital technologies. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain and many other innovations power healthcare software development solutions that help navigate 2021 and beyond.
The global digital health market
Technologies in healthcare bring a handful of benefits, such as preventing chronic diseases, alleviating pain and stress symptoms, getting more accurate diagnoses, etc. With more consumers being comfortable with the remote treatment and digital health innovations, more healthcare providers adopt emerging tools to stay relevant in changing environment.
With many health tech options, it’s hard to define which can bring a much better experience for the patients and contribute to efficient business operations. Here are the top 6 technologies in the medical field necessary to consider.
- Internet of Medical Things
Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT, are connected devices, sensors, and systems that help collect and analyze patients’ data. One of the most famous examples of IoMT is wearables, including smartwatches, smart belts, in-hospital devices, smart pills, and others.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global IoMT market will expand and reach $142 billion by 2026. There are many use cases for IoMT devices. For instance, they were used to conduct thermal screening and trace contacts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
With the help of IoMT, doctors can remotely monitor patients. Once they detect any downturn in a patient’s health with chronic disease, they can manage treatment before the hospitalization. Remote observations also contribute to accurate diagnoses and better treatment since doctors have access to such health indicators as heart rate and blood pressure over the past weeks. Moreover, wearables and video monitoring devices enable clinicians to treat patients online at a suitable time.
- Electronic health records
Most of the information about patient’s health is paper-based. When people go to a hospital, they usually have to fill up the form with different questions about whether they suffer from allergies or other chronic diseases. The situation gets worse when the patient is unconscious and cannot respond. It takes a while to gather such information and may cause a delay in treatment.
To avoid such incidents, clinicians leverage the electronic health record (EHR) system. It allows creating a centralized database with patients’ data, such as medical records, medication lists, doctors visits, etc. Such a digital platform can be accessed from any Internet-connected physical location eliminating the issues posed by the paper-based approach.
- Blockchain technology
Blockchain disrupted many industries, and it undeniably opens many opportunities for medical industry players. The global healthcare blockchain market is set to reach $829.0 million by 2023. Electronic health records powered by blockchain is one of the top healthcare tech trends. Blockchain adoption has several key advantages:
- More secure information storage – blockchain offers a more secure and safe system to share EHRs. Blockchain’s peer-to-peer network minimizes the possibility of altering the data, making it valid and transparent.
- Preventing fraud – untampered nature of blockchain allows to trace claim submission and define its authenticity.
- Accelerating drug development time – the blockchain-driven platform can provide physicians, researchers, and pharmaceutical clients instant access to necessary information. It can also facilitate the process of patient/condition matching and speed up trial participants recruitment.
- Advanced data analytics
The healthcare industry generates more data than ever and needs to analyze it with an incredible speed. To do so, the healthcare sector needs to adopt new approaches by which the data is collected, stored, and processed.
Big data can be turned into growth opportunities for businesses. It allows to compare different treatment methods for patients with the same health condition and choose the most optimal one. Real-time access to researches, studies from around the globe and their results can speed up a drug or vaccine development process.
Moreover, consolidating and analyzing large data sets can greatly improve preventive medicine. Smart algorithms can be used to analyze real-world patient data and draw insights that can be later applied to decrease patients at risk.
Telemedicine has gained considerable momentum due to the social distancing measures. However, while restrictions are lifting, this trend is not going anywhere and, on the contrary, keeps growing. It is expected that the telehealth market will reach $396.76 billion by 2027.
Healthcare telecommunications such as video and audio tools can enable remote visits for patients in far-distanced locations or mobility issues. In some cases, physical visits are still needed, but telemedicine could become an option for follow-up visits or specialist consultations.
- Artificial intelligence
Algorithms that analyze massive amounts of data like medical records, images and others are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Thus, embedded in some technologies mentioned above, AI can vastly contribute to developing improved treatment plans, early cases prediction, bringing drugs and vaccines to market faster, etc. Here are some of the real-world use cases of AI applications for medical purposes:
- Department of Veterans Affairs and DeepMind developed a machine learning algorithm that, in 90% of cases, can predict acute kidney injury 48 hours sooner than with usual care.
- DeepMind has also launched an AI tool to detect breast cancer. Researchers used data sets with existing scans and mammograms to train the AI. As a result, AI-enhanced technology show as much accuracy as radiologists.
- Back in 2015, AI analysis was launched to screen compounds that acted on viruses similar to Ebola. This analysis of finding the most efficient component took a day rather than months or days that the traditional process of discovering drugs require.
The application of technologies in healthcare has already brought many benefits for industry stakeholders. Innovations that streamline workflows, predict patients’ health and help to give them high-quality treatment continue to evolve. Adopting the right technology have the potential to help the healthcare industry navigate the disruptions ahead.