The healthcare industry is open to so many new opportunities using technology in 2019 that almost seem too good to be true.
Great innovation has hit the sector in the last eight months, and we are definitely here for it.
After all, we all know that the better the system gets, the more cost-effective it is, the smoother it runs, and the better chance we have of receiving outstanding care for both ourselves, our friends, and our families.
Here are 5 amazing technology trends that are redefining healthcare this year.
Big data is now being used to find the deepest insights into how everything works within the healthcare industry and what business problems are currently being faced.
This data is currently analyzed using artificial intelligence, which picks out trends and patterns within the sector. This is great for seeing exactly where healthcare is doing well, and where it could use a helping hand.
According to Digital Authority Partners, the industry is currently using this data to improve the clinical outcomes of patients and boost workforce productivity to ensure everything runs as efficiently as possible.
It is also hoped that the data will allow the United States to improve revenue streams for hospitals, practices, and other organizations.
Healthcare Weekly has reported that global big data in the healthcare market is actually expected to reach $34.27 billion by 2022, and is estimated to soar to more than $68.03 billion by 2024.
Big data may sound a little more complicated than it actually is. In truth, it all revolves around the three V’s: volume, velocity, and variety.
Volume is all based on how much data is generated, which increases as different technologies are hooked up. Smartphones now create more data than ever before which makes for some great analytics.
Velocity is how fast the data is collected – big data is actually really efficient when it comes to collecting and processing new information, making sure everything flows well.
And finally, variety is all about making sure data collected is a mix of both structured and unstructured. Examples of structured data include texts, pictures, videos, and tweets. Unstructured examples are hand-written text, voicemail, and audio recordings.
Big data is now being used in pretty much all business environments across the USA. It is hoped that this new technology will drive innovation within the country’s largest private employer the same as everywhere else it touches.
We live in a world that revolves around convenience. Everything needs to be available at the touch of a button, and if it can work around us more than that, even better.
In 2018, we saw the healthcare industry finally recognize this by introducing artificial intelligence apps and video call appointments with doctors.
Now, we’re seeing a boost in the amount of at-home testing kits available.
Not only are these much easier to do without having to visit a practice, but they can also come at a fraction of the price, too.
Home testing kits are now available for Hepatitis C, HIV, and even celiac disease.
Healthcare organization imaware™ offers quick, easy and affordable at-home tests to patients who are experiencing symptoms that they believe are related to celiac disease.
All the test takes is a quick prick of the finger. The sample can then be sent off to an advanced screening lab using the return label included with the pack.
The lab then produces an easy to understand, online report for the patient to view within days.
Not only is this amazing technology, but it is set to completely redefine the way the healthcare sector tests for some conditions and diseases.
It is set to not only take the pressure off overworked staff but make patients feel more at ease knowing that they are in control of their own health and wellbeing.
It is important to remember, however, that these kits are made for self-testing, not self-diagnosing. That should be left up to the professionals.
Although it is important to follow up your results with a trip to see a doctor, at least patients are going with the information in hand.
This stops patients from spending much more than they anticipated and joining long waiting lists that they do not have time for.
Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)
SaMD is described by Orthogonal as ‘standalone software that serves as a medical product in and of itself’ that is designed to carry out one or more medical functions.
This includes software or mobile apps intended to treat, diagnose, cure, mitigate, or prevent disease or other conditions.
SaMD has seen major growth in 2019 thanks to having no hardware involved and therefore fewer constraints than other medical device software such as Software in a Medical Device, software as an accessory to a medical device, and general software with no specific healthcare purpose.
The best SaMD technology is able to significantly improve on the delivery and administration of care, reduce costs but cutting out the middleman and expensive hardware, and improve overall healthcare outcomes for patients.
These devices use highly advanced algorithms to analyze patient data in search of anomalies.
Although it is not set to replace doctors any time soon, it can gain a great overall picture of a patient’s health impressively quickly and help patients to monitor their condition in much more detail than ever before.
It also builds on existing medicinal technology, rather than using new hardware that is expensive and often difficult to update and keep up with.
By saving money using SaMD, the healthcare industry can actually focus on doing what it does best: providing great customer care.
Blockchain offers a way to secure and protect patient data like never before in the USA.
It has provided a fantastic way to take out the middleman when it comes to data protection and has completely decentralized records.
Patient data is now encrypted in code held digitally which is hoped will not only make the transfer of patient records from organization to organization much easier, but it will also stop mistakes and save the industry money.
Healthcare stakeholders will be able to safely access a full record of patient’s data which includes every tiny fact from how often they visit the doctor to every operation they have undergone.
This is set to make patient diagnosis much quicker and care not only more effective but cheaper, too.
In fact, it is hoped that blockchain will save the healthcare industry between $100 and $150 billion each year by 2025.
Health insurance errors alone are said to cost the sector $17 billion annually, so just by removing third-party payment services and being able to recognize false details and payments, healthcare will see a huge boost in funds.
Although blockchain started to become more apparent in 2018 when the FDA trialled it, it is now in 2019 that we are due to see some real changes to how data is held.
By 2020, it is expected that at least 1 in every 5 healthcare organizations will have started to adapt towards blockchain.
It is thought that the technology will not only increase patient care, but it will also improve the supply chain of drugs and protect and enhance clinical trials, too.
Once again, the world of convenience strikes again. As of January 2019, 53 million Americans owned some sort of smart speaker, including devices such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod.
Voice search is set to completely change the way patients view health and wellbeing, and how they receive care.
Teams working on Amazon Alexa are currently working on a range of new technologies for caregivers, including giving them the ability to keep track of the glucose levels of their loved ones through their smart speakers.
Every healthcare organization will soon need to adapt to some sort of voice technology, whether that is through an AI app or Alexa Skill in order to keep up and stay ahead of the game.
After all, voice search gives patients the answers they need immediately.
It’s even faster than taking to Google to search symptoms, so there’s no surprise that it is becoming popular in the world of health and wellbeing.
Not only do organizations need to start implementing voice, but they also need to make sure it can understand complex questions, too.
When using voice search, patients expect it to be conversational. Gone are the robotic days of asking for ‘symptoms of IBS’.
Instead, people are found to be asking questions like- ‘I have suffered constant bloating and sickness for five days straight. Do I have IBS?’.
Technology moves fast
If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it is that technology moves fast and the healthcare industry not only needs to keep up but should want to in order to better patient care and save themselves some money.
By paying attention to technologies like blockchain, voice search, at-home testing, SaMD, and Big Data now, we can really change the future of patient diagnosis, treatment, and success rates.
This article was contributed by Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.