Current IT trends in the healthcare industry are technology-agnostic – from IoT, AI, and Blockchain to Robotics and Analytics – healthcare is evolving into the melting pot of every new kid in the technology space. 2018 is bound to be a haven for new prototypes as well as widespread adoption of established technologies. By 2020, digital healthcare services will account for 6% of expenditure on a world scale.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 predictions of things to come in the digital health domain.
With the value of Bitcoin rising by the hour, success of the distributed database behind this cryptocurrency is irrefutable. Yes, Blockchain is all set to make waves in healthcare IT too. Having a distributed communication module will make the ubiquitously connected devices more secure and reliable. Blockchain will make every patient ID secure and make operations management a cakewalk for the healthcare organizations. By 2020, the number of healthcare agencies to shift to blockchain for operations management and patient identity will be 20%.
Wearable technology like an activity tracker or a pulse rate monitor has already spun off IoT in the healthcare sector. IoT mobile apps are further enhancing their functionality. 2018 will have mHealth IoT apps with GPS tracking and location based services. IoT enabled inventory tracking will increase operational efficiency by leaps and bounds. IoT imaging devices; for instance MRI and Eco Doppler, will gain a strong foothold in the healthcare industry in 2018.
Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning
With the large data haul from IoT connected devices, analytics will play a huge role in maintaining EHRs. Workflows are already getting streamlined with aggregated data. And, with all the statistics at hand, the medical devices are inevitably getting smarter with machine learning.
2018 will witness an exponential rise in the use of mobile platforms for remote healthcare monitoring and clinical trials – 50 % to be precise. An updated doctor’s prescription is going to be just a tap away, in a few months. With many healthcare mobile applications already making a foray into the market, this was something that had been a long time coming.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Medical devices coupled with cognitive AI technology will add to the value chain by increasing productivity by a substantial 40% in life science organizations. In 2017, wearable technology, AI chatbots for patients, Virtual Assistants, Emotional Status indicators, medical paperwork medication, etc. became quite popular and were in the news. Come 2018, this is only set to get better.
Robot-assisted Medical Aid
Deployment of robotics for assisting medical procedures and enhancing patient safety in large hospitals is the need of the hour. 2018 will see this getting materialized on ground zero. The results will include elimination of human errors, reduction in clocked man hours, and improved efficiency in longer medical operations.
Data sharing by Patients
With healthcare systems becoming more interactive and patient-centric, systems and technology for collecting data shared by patients will become more readily-available. By 2020, the prediction is that such systems will rise to 25%. This will cut down the time and efforts of recording the health data of each and every patient, by encouraging patients to share their own health data themselves.
By next year, almost half of the healthcare organizations will have resources that enable faster recording, sharing, accessing, and analyzing healthcare data. This data will be useful for various operations across these organizations, and managing patients across different companies or doctors will become easier.
BPaaS Back Office Operations
Owing to an increase in the requirement for data management, commercial payer back office operations are estimated to shift under the services of Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) vendors. This is slated to impact processes like patient outreach, clinical data integration, customer service, etc.
Virtual healthcare services like telehealth are slated to take a leap in 2018. Consulting patients or providing care via video conferencing enables seniors or patients to receive care from the comfort of their homes, whilst caregivers can also save time travelling to the patient’s location, thereby being able to help more people.
What are the Pros and Cons of this Digital Revolution?
Glaring benefits of incorporating information and communication technology include quicker diagnosis, cheaper healthcare, and better resource management.
On the other hand, technologies like IoT are not exactly foolproof. They are prone to cyberattacks like a Man-in-the-middle or fake device attack. They also have interoperability issues due to lack of fixed standards. This can prove to be fatal for patients using a connected network. Medical device manufacturers will therefore be required to be absolutely careful and avoid any kind of negligence the implementation of these technologies.
2018 is ready to take a curtain call for all things nouveau in the healthcare IT domain.