December 3, 2018
Over the years, technology has been gradually transforming the healthcare industry. As the basic elements such as health records are being digitized, digital transformation for healthcare seems to have picked up the pace lately.
Industry convergence is at an all-time high today. The lines for customer expectations for industries such as retail, IT, and healthcare are continuing to blur and are creating the need for implementation of more cutting-edge technologies to enable better experiences.
Technological advances in the fields of computing, machine learning, nanotechnology and electronics are all playing a role in helping reshape the industry too.
In this blog, we will explore a few cutting-edge technologies that hold the potential to change the face of healthcare in the upcoming years starting from 2019. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are two of these few technologies, followed by IoMT (Internet of Medial Things).
These technologies put together are enhancing the quality of healthcare while delivering a significant cost reduction and improved efficiencies.
For the coming year, we can safely predict advancements and improvements in the current trends. These could be further developed chatbots, wider deployment of predictive analytics and many more. Many innovations in the field of healthcare is awaiting the year 2019.
In this smartphone lead era of innovations, we are familiar with the concept of AI, majorly through the introduction of virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google.
In the medical segment, artificial intelligence contributes in object recognition, image classification and deep learning, especially to spot cancer with accuracy in MRI scans. In the year 2019, AI seems promising enough to become indispensable to the doctors, allowing them to reach the right diagnosis quicker and with a greater accuracy.
Some of the applications presently in development that may emerge in the coming year are:
2019 is more than likely to see new blockchain use cases. The technology is going to go beyond the predicted rise and will see some significant usage across enterprises and increase revenues by improving efficiencies and enabling other technologies as it provides the secure passage. 5-10% of healthcare-focused enterprise blockchain applications will move from pilot stage to partial/limited commercial availability, showing a promising future.
Companies such as Change Healthcare, Hashed Health, and Guardtime that are already exploiting blockchain will expand their commercial use and deploy it to offer greater health benefits to the patients.
Driven by the Internet of Things, IoMT is an emerging concept where an extensive usage of smart and medical wearables is proving to be significant and will continue to grow in 2019, progressing healthcare with better monitoring and more data.
This would include ECG monitors and other IoMT devices that are expected to grow in numbers and reach a considerable count of 20-30 billion by the end of next year. This is going to help the healthcare segment remarkably when it comes to monitoring various conditions remotely and keep a track of treatments.
HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications will become more prevalent in healthcare. Today, healthcare is using targeted voice technologies offered by specialized players such as Nuance, Orbita and other leading tech giants namely Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.
All these companies are aggressively competing on voice solutions for healthcare. The current sophistication of voice-enabled technology is not competent enough for transcribing lengthier information.
This will change as we see the dawn of voice technology in the vetted clinical use in the coming year. Elderly care, chronic condition management, physician’s assistant and some more areas of medical supervision will provide the grounds to voice technology for growth and innovation.
The application of AR and VR is not new anymore. These technologies are already being used to strengthen marketing efforts.
However, we can look forward to their increased adoption in the healthcare industry. AR is proving to be a great education tool for medical students by placing them into real-life simulating environments and reach the diagnosis. It can help identify patient’s veins and place a digital map over the vein-spread to identify the spot for injection easily.
Further, AR and VR technologies are going to be crucial in the year 2019, especially in the field of psychology. Psychologists can simulate situations for patients which can help them unlock memories and identify pain points.
Robots made way in medicine a long time ago. We all know about the Da Vinci surgical robot. Continuing the trend, various other robotic applications will make way in the coming year. If we consider the simplest telepresence robots offered by InTouch Health that allow physicians and surgeons to move around and examine patients at remote locations while being stationary on their computer, they are not too far from reach. Robots will also be playing a role in pediatric therapy for autism disorders and phobias. Some examples are — Phobot, PARO, NAO and Milo.
In healthcare, several 3D printing applications are already available in segments like orthopedic devices and implants.
Another 3D printing application in consideration is the 3D printed medicines, which will allow alteration of daily dosage and facilitate personalized medicine and customized formulations of drugs.
We may see 3D bioprinting in the upcoming year too, which is the possibility of printing skin tissues for burn patients and organs for organ replacement surgeries. The tissue printed under 3D technology will also be used in drug development and other research frameworks.
The application of digital health will go beyond the traditional usage as it further empowers individuals to manage their own health. Healthtech catering to post-hospital care will witness a significant growth of 30% crossing a $25 billion market globally.
The issue of increasing cost of chronic conditions will drive the growth of digital health solutions in the overall self-healthcare segment. RPM devices, telehealth platforms, PERS and mHealth applications will be extensively in use for bringing relief to the ailing and ageing population.
More of these major trends are going to emerge in the year ahead. We can hope to witness many cutting-edge technologies. We will have access to more advanced and personalized healthcare with significant improvements in patient experience.
The organizations operating in the healthcare industry must observe the effect of these latest technologies on healthcare at large. These technologies do look promising and investing in them is likely to help the businesses grow and make better profits.