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10 Emerging Trends in Healthcare Technology for 2019 and Beyond

SyberScribe AUTHOR: SyberScribe, April 26th, 2019

Digital and mobile technologies are bringing huge benefits to the healthcare sector. By embracing these new technologies, healthcare organisations can improve patient health outcomes, be cost-effective, and provide timely care. Patients will also be able to better manage and control their health and medical information. This shows that technology can help ensure a brighter, healthier future for everyone.

So what are the latest trends in healthcare technology you should watch out for this year? Read on.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI) speed up the processing of healthcare data much faster than a human can and they do it more efficiently too. AI and ML algorithms are also used to identify and diagnose health problems like gut disorders and blindness or vision impairment and to interpret test results. Additionally, AI is used to analyse information from a patient’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) in order to more accurately diagnose their health problem and come up with various ways to treat it. What’s more, AI and ML can be applied in pathology and radiology to detect irregularities in MRI scans and X-rays.

2. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an infrastructure consisting of connected medical devices, sensors, software applications, and healthcare IT systems that focus on medical testing, monitoring, and diagnostics.

IoT-enabled medical devices include sticking plasters that monitor your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, and wearable devices like smartwatches and smartphones with health-related apps that track whether you’re sleeping, healthy or taking your pills, and sends alerts to your doctor when there are problems. Portable biosensors are used to analyse patient data for diagnosing health problems, while ingested or implanted sensors can discreetly measure temperature and transmit this data to your doctor. IoMT can contribute to better health outcomes.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented Reality (AR) doesn’t lose touch with our realness. When you combine AR and AI together, healthcare apps can be extremely beneficial to both doctors and patients. You can turn your smartphone camera on your body and check the location of your digestive organs, skeleton, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and so on.

In medical practice, AR can be used to help improve safety, administer injections, and assist in the performance of major operations. AR can also be used to make certain tasks more efficient, such as superimposing patient records and vital signs in real time while a doctor is assessing a patient.

Like AR, Virtual Reality (VR) can also help with training clinicians through simulation, educating patients, and aiding with treatment. For instance, Cool! VR Pain Relief uses a virtual world of landscapes and changing seasons to distract a patient from their pain and offer relief.

4. Electronic Health Records (EHR)

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) allows the patient and their doctor to have permanent access to patient data, eg diagnostics, chronic diseases, cardiac waveforms, and previous prescriptions. This can help improve the interaction between the doctor and patient for more productive delivery of care. An EHR can also reduce the number of papers you have to bring with you when visiting your doctor. Moreover, various healthcare providers can now access a patient’s medical information through a shared EHR, which is supported by a mobile app.

5. Blockchain and data security

The huge volume of health data generated from wearables and sensors has led to a rise in new challenges like interoperability, data integrity, security, and privacy. Blockchain can help solve these challenges by placing the patient in the middle of the healthcare ecosystem and, in turn, this will help the patient to gain more control over their health data. When it comes to EHR’s, blockchain can help prevent patient data from being changed or stolen by using a singular secure protocol.

6. Health-tracking apps

Health-tracking apps can track blood pressure, heart rate, sleep period, distance covered, and number of steps taken with accuracy. They can also let you see the data in a readable form, save the data, do a statistical analysis of the data, compare your results with standard results, and provide advice for improving your health results.

7. Therapeutic apps

Therapeutic apps, also known as digiceuticals, help to improve health and wellness. They’ve been tested for efficacy by regulatory bodies like the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Therapeutic apps are prescribed by medical practitioners together with normal methods of treatment and are clinically validated for their purpose. They can be used to help people with chronic pain, asthma, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

8. Telehealth

Telehealth puts the online doctor in your pocket. With a smartphone and app, you can search for doctors online and compare their stats, skills, qualifications, and patient reviews before you choose a doctor to consult with. Once you’ve found the right doctor, you can consult with them using chat or video call. Telehealth is all about virtual care and it can be very useful for rural and remote patients who can’t partake in a face-to-face consultation with a doctor or specialist.

9. Smart hospitals

A smart hospital relies on a connected infrastructure of smart medical devices for the purpose of improving existing patient care procedures and introducing new processes. The aim of a smart hospital is to transform patient data into insight and then act on that insight. For example, it’ll collect data, use AI and ML to analyse the data, and then make these insights available to clinicians and other stakeholders through several devices like desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

10. Robotics

Robotics are used in hospitals and aged care facilities to perform a number of tasks, such as:

  • Helping with surgeries.
  • Monitoring patient vital signs and alerting medical staff when there are issues.
  • Disinfecting patient rooms and operating environments.
  • Delivering bulk laboratory samples and specimens, pharmacy samples, surgical equipment, and medical records.

Robotics also has the potential to help in other areas of healthcare and to diagnose various health conditions.

Revolutionising healthcare with technology

As you can see, these technology trends are set to revolutionise healthcare this year and beyond. You can expect superior, safer, and quality healthcare services to be provided to patients, and a patient’s own health and wellbeing will be more closely accessible to them. You may even see autonomous vehicles like drones delivering medication or self-driving ambulances bringing patients to a hospital in the near future. Whatever developments are made, technology certainly has the power to transform medicine and health for the better.

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