Healthcare technology refers to the IT tools or any software designed with the intent to strengthen hospital and administrative productivity and to improve the quality of care provided. Health tech has the capacity to reduce the burden on traditional healthcare institutions. Tech-infused healthcare can curb issues like unbearably long patient wait times, skyrocketing medical costs, inefficiencies in the development of drugs and difficult access to health insurance. 

The World Health Organisation defines health technology as an “application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve health problems and improve quality of lives.”

While the healthcare industry has been slow in adapting technology, there are significant changes to see in the near future. By 2020 the healthcare market is expected to reach $206 billion. For being aware of the ongoing changes and trends in the healthcare industry, these trends are essential to be noticed. 

  1. TeleMedicine

Telemedicine is the process of treating patients and taking care of them with the help of telecommunication technologies. Urban and remote areas are often prone to a lack of proper medical facilities. Thanks to the digitalisation and the technological advancement which created telemedicine, things are improving.

Advantages of Telemedicine

  • Allows medical experts to come together and share knowledge about diagnosis.
  • Patients can have multiple consultations with various doctors across the globe.
  • Easy access to connect with specialists regarding diagnosis and treatment.
  • Easy sending of e-reports to specialists or doctors
  1. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Medical Things is the combination of IoT development and telemedicine including telehealth technologies. Various devices and applications were developed to play an important role in tracking and preventing chronic diseases for many patients and doctors. From these emerged the Internet of Medical Things. It is not that different from IoT. The difference is the addition of wearing medical healthcare IT devices in place of regular wearables. 

IoMT features are-

  • Includes ECG, EKG monitors.
  • Monitors skin temperature, blood pressure, glucose rate, heart rate and many more.
  • Tracks real-time locations with the help of censored wheelchairs, nebulizers, scales, monitoring equipment etc.

IoMT has benefits that make healthcare more efficient and fast. According to Frost and Sullivan, by 2017 mostly 60% of the healthcare industry has adopted IoMT equipment. Allied Market Research predicted that by 2021, the market of IoT in healthcare will reach $136 billion.

  1. Augmented Reality

AR in the healthcare industry increases the speed of decision making and accurate diagnosis. Augmented Reality analytics identify areas of development and aid practitioners to start working on treatments earlier. Augmented Reality also facilitates personified automation and improved healthcare using big data analysis. 

Technological advancements which were predicted decades ago are being brought to life with the arrival of AR and VR in healthcare.The future of AR looks bright as it has enabled faster diagnosis, illness prediction and provided better insights into the patient’s conditions already.

  1. Cloud Strategy

There are various public, private and hybrid cloud sharing groups of large files. But the healthcare businesses are trying to address the need to build, run and maintain the infrastructure for record keeping. For this purpose Cloud Strategy is best suitable for digital technology in healthcare. 

Cloud Strategy acts as a tool for educating patients. It enhances patients’ participation and engagement in decisions related to their own health. It also makes the collected data easily accessible to every patient, thus giving complete control over their own health. In a cloud environment, it’s important to monitor every step sensibly.  While dealing with cloud hosting providers, organisations should be clear about what they want or require.

  1. Artificial intelligence

AI is one of the emerging trends of healthcare technologies. Its arrival led to many significant changes. Its function of providing decision making data similar to what humans do has led to new innovations in healthcare technology. Machine learning is utilised to explore chemical and biological interactions in the process of drugs development and bringing new drugs into the market.

Recently, the FDA has approved the first AI-based diagnosis system, which checks patients for eye disease by examining their retina. Microsoft is also developing new projects such as InnerEye; an AI tool for radiotherapy,and Project Hanover, an AI-based system planned to catalog biomedical research papers from PubMed to produce Cancer diagnosis and to decide which drug suits which patient accurately.

  1. Chatbots

Integrating chatbots with healthcare will increase the healthcare provider’s potential to provide answers about simple healthcare concerns; this in turn helps physicians to focus on patients that require their complete attention. 

Chatbots play an important role in serving as a communication tool between the patients and the healthcare provider and are even beneficial while dealing with elderly patients. It warns healthcare providers about potential drug interactions with the help of other technologies like AI and analytics.

Chatbots which have already become revolutionary in the world are now making their way into the healthcare industry. They are expected to become a big part of digital transformation in healthcare.

  1. Data Science

Data Science helps in storing data of the patients, their concerns and even their ancestral health issues. Improvements in data science and predictive analytics have made experts get the access to deeper insights. While working with patients with chronic illnesses especially, these insights can optimize the treatment plans prepared by physicians.

Data collected may be scanned and analysed to make the treatment more efficient. For instance, a doctor can inquire about patients’ family health issues or ancestral health problems or even analyse the environment around them to diagnose the patient well. Information collected from the studies of patients’ condition or problem help derive the patients status, for instance their recovery time. 

  1. Blockchain

Blockchain can help healthcare facilities with securing patient records so that they do not get lost or compromised. This technology also improves interoperability in that it leverages public-private key methods, allowing healthcare data to be generated, revised and distributed without compromising integrity. Both healthcare providers and patients can benefit from the decentralized nature of Blockchain as it allows records to be transferred and shared securely and at a faster pace.

While blockchain technology offers numerous benefits to the healthcare industry, it has not been fully developed. There are many organizational and technical concerns that need to be addressed before blockchain technology is integrated with the existing healthcare technology.

In conclusion, these technologies have the potential to revolutionize how healthcare is administered. Healthcare technologies can efficiently bridge the gap between the demand for healthcare and the supply, making healthcare accessible to billions of people while reducing the pressure on healthcare providers in real-time.