The Top 10 Health Technology Trends That Will Define The New Normal
Everyone keeps talking about “the new normal” in reference to the world after COVID-19. At this point, we still don’t know exactly what that will look like, but we can make our predictions based on changes in the healthcare and tech industries.
How will technology shift in response to the pandemic? Here are the trends we can expect to continue growing in the next few years.
New Forms of Securing Patient Information
With electronic health records (EHRs) now standard in hospitals across the country, concerns over data privacy have increased. This is because data breaches have become almost inevitable for healthcare organizations: 93% have experienced at least one breach since the third quarter of 2016.
Obviously, healthcare data is sensitive and breaches cost patients their privacy and security and healthcare organizations billions. Cybercrime in healthcare has reached a crisis point, which is leading to new solutions for health IT security and the use of different technologies, like blockchain.
With hospitals understaffed and the risks of caring for COVID-19 patients, it’s not surprising that robots have become more common in medical facilities around the world. Robots can be used for many different applications, but in healthcare, they are mostly used for tasks like assisting in surgery, disinfecting patient rooms, and performing other routine tasks to free up time for healthcare professionals and to improve safety and efficiency.
Another way the healthcare industry is making up for staffing shortfalls and increasing efficiency is by introducing smart systems into hospitals. Smart hospitals operate using automation for tasks like pharmacy dispensing, laundry, meal delivery, and tracking equipment. They also use digital patient records and data analysis to reduce errors and improve the patient experience.
Smart hospitals rely on the Internet of Things (IoT), using different devices, sensors, and technology to keep hospital operations running smoothly. In the near future, smart hospitals should be able to cut down on waste and errors in the healthcare industry.
Wearable tech has been popular among fitness enthusiasts for years, but its uses have expanded significantly. In healthcare, these devices are helping to improve outcomes and quality of life for people with conditions that need regular monitoring. Wearables can continuously monitor a specific aspect of a patient’s health and report back to their doctors remotely, without an office visit or any manual input.
Health is extremely individualized, and there are so many factors affecting our health that it’s impossible to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy with any real success. Technology is enabling a more personalized approach to healthcare, thanks to EHRs, wearables, and data analysis, which allow doctors to assess risks and provide better care for each individual patient.
AI + Healthcare
We’ve seen artificial intelligence (AI) in action in a wide range of contexts. But AI and healthcare will be one of the most powerful combinations in our post-pandemic world. AI in healthcare will allow us to diagnose more effectively, create more personalized treatment plans, automate certain healthcare tasks, and help with equipment maintenance. There are hundreds of potential AI applications in healthcare, and we’ve only scratched the surface so far.
3D printing has come a long way since it first emerged. Today, it can be used for a huge number of different projects across many diverse industries. In healthcare, it is being used to create tools, prosthetics, and even organs for transplant!
A digital twin is simply a digital copy of a person or object that exists in the real world. In healthcare, it’s used to test theories and better understand a person’s health. As telehealth becomes more and more popular and essential, digital twins will help to ensure that people receive high-quality, personalized care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has surged. To prevent the spread of the virus, only essential procedures and appointments have been taking place in person during the pandemic. While more in-person appointments will take place as the virus recedes, we can expect the trend of telehealth to continue for those who can get the help they need without physically going to the doctor.
Healthcare organizations have massive amounts of data that they aren’t sharing with one another. While it’s important to ensure patient privacy, it’s also important to cut costs on data analysis and streamline data sources via interoperability. As we learn more about healthcare data, refine policy, and see more healthcare organizations upgrading their data infrastructure, we’re likely to see interoperability increase, benefiting researchers, healthcare providers, and patients.