Technology is never stagnant. They are highly impactful yet ephemeral. And they never cease to amaze us.
Medical industry is one among the top few industries to undergo massive changes under the influence of technology in recent times. We have seen mind-blowing innovations replacing simple, customary medical procedures. As we are well on our way into 2018 – a time where prophetic visions are turning into realisms – let’s take a look at some of the intuitive and ground-breaking technologies that are likely to shape up the future of the medical world.
The below listed technologies have been constantly popping up on the medical trends radar. Here they are, in no particular order.
The New Way of Patient Monitoring
It is a bit amusing to note that – as much as patients queuing up to clinics, a growing number of doctors and medical companies are knocking on the doors of technology solutions providers and mobile app development companies.
Situations at hospitals are chaotic. When the alarms go off it puts medicals experts on fast heels. According to a study, about 80% of hospital alarms were deemed uncritical. The rise of these scenarios have pushed medical experts to rope in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to help identify critical cases. These technologies can sift through millions of data in a few seconds and analyze, predict patterns and suggest only genuine emergencies.
Patients’ follow-up appointments and general communication with doctors are becoming challenging. There could be delays when either party has a busy schedule. With the new Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) technology into the fold, hospitals are discharging patients quickly, and follow-up appointments are done with ease. Thanks to mobile devices. Doctors can now monitoring patients through mobile devices and apps in real-time and offer solutions.
Patients need not have to wait for that weekly appointment, instead they can communicate and get suggestions on a much regular intervals by using their smartphones or tablets.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Internet of Things (IoT) is a common technology term, which means a ecosystem of connected physical devices through the internet. Now that medical industry has entered into this realm, it has made way for a new term into the lexicon – Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Such is the impact of technology in the medical industry.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) or Healthcare IoT, refers to a plethora of medical devices and software application communicating with other various healthcare technology systems.
Image source: referralmd
Since today’s most smartphones comes with built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, healthcare experts are leveraging these features to offer better medical solutions. IoMT offers a wide range of features to help both medical caregivers and consumers.
It can help healthcare providers to gain valuable insights from data to identify issues before they become critical. IMoT can help monitor, notify and offer suggestions to healthcare givers and reduce their burden.
Not to be confused with the process of External Beam Radiotherapy. In this context, Teletherapy means ‘providing therapy through telecommunication devices’.
Moving over smartphones and chatbots, a process of real-time interaction between a doctor and patient (through video conferencing) is quickly becoming popular.
Medical experts who use teletherapy claim that it is same as the traditional therapy. The only difference is that instead of communicating ‘in person’ a telecommunication device is used. This comes as a big advantage in the instances where doctors and patients live miles apart. This technology helps in reducing cost and time of both, doctors and patients.
Big data analytics is creating tremendous impact on industries, and it certainly looks like healthcare industry in next in the line. The democratization of medical data is setting research and pharmaceutical startup companies into motion to disrupt the drug development industry.
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are giving their share of efficacies, Big data analytics is helping medical experts enormously. Through big data, healthcare providers and experts are able to:
- Predict patient risk more accurately
- Identity risk factors
- Quickly identify patient needs
- Retrieve a specific medical reports
- Help in preventing medication errors
- Help prevent security breach and fraud
- Save hospital cost and wait-time
- Widespread adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Over the years several healthcare companies have adopted Artificial Intelligence into their businesses and delivered successful outcomes.
Kore.ai uses smart bots, backed by Artificial Intelligence, to deliver better patient care. This AI-powered bots connects patients to the right doctors, make appointments, provide billings, does follow-ups with patients days after treatment, and more. Learn more about the Kore smart bots here.
Cerebro, a healthcare labor management and software solutions agency, uses an AI-powered program to link clinicians to hospitals. The program enables to quicker, highly responsive healthcare labor marketplace. It connects verified clinicians to right healthcare facilities, completely eliminating the need for mediary agencies. It offers nursing staff with the relevant and actionable data. Through its online platform Marketplace, clinicians can get notifications on new assignments, schedule shifts, book appointments and perform many more actions. Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in cerebro’s online platform.
Blockchain continues to hold its position among the top trends that are impacting the healthcare industry.
With the increasing number of patients, hospitals are now facing the challenge of managing large number of data on a regular basis. Customary methods are proving to be too slow for their kind of growth. Humongous amount of health related-data is being generated everyday, such as:
- Data collected by monitoring/IoT devices
- Electronic health records
- Patient Health Information (PHI)
- Medical insurance data (claims etc.)
And managing all these data is a challenge and as most of these records are confidential, securing them has become even more challenging. Also, since Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires secure mode of communication between two parties who deal with PHI stored in electronic form, data encryption, privacy and security is given prime importance in securing medical data.
That’s where Blockchain comes into the picture. One of the biggest advantages of blockchain is its data integrity, where it allows to securely record and share information by anchoring the data to the public blockchain. This method involves generating a data integrity proof, and using this proof users can verify the data timestamp without the need of third-parties.
Blockchain technology offers the following advantage.
- Offers more data security than ordinary encryption
- Allows you to verify PHI integrity
- Allows you to carry out unchangeable medical audits
- Data transparency
- Drug traceability
- Patient data management
Though healthcare is keen in testing Blockchain, the technology has to pass through several kinds of approvals like, Technical Proof of Concept, Privacy proof, Regulatory approval, security proof etc. However, since Blockchain is gaining traction it will not be surprising to see it being used in the healthcare industry soon.
Healthcare is one of the most complex industries in the world, and over the years several technologies have rapidly made its way into the industry, revolutionizing it, and making it ripe to adopt upcoming cutting-edge technologies. However, the end goal remains the same – to make the lives of medical practitioners easy, and ultimately, to save human lives. And we hope that emerging technologies help healthcare accomplish that goal.