Emerging innovations and shifts in how we can interact with the world during a global pandemic are inciting some swift changes within the healthcare industry. Digital healthcare is changing the way we look at medicine, and a field that seemed more like a slow or distant inevitability was recently pushed to the forefront of people’s minds in the wake of the quarantines and shelter-at-home orders of COVID-19. People who may have otherwise resisted changes or lagged behind in adopting new tech were forced to jump into the world of digital healthcare, by way of virtual appointments, prescription delivery apps, or COVID-19 tracking applications. Below are three of the biggest trends in current healthcare tech.
Healthcare Internet of Things (IoT). IoT can be summed up as the combination of interrelated mechanical and digital devices that connect to transfer data without requiring human intervention. These devices maximize connectivity between providers and patients while minimizing office visits. Heart monitors, blood sugar trackers, even smartphone apps that measure steps and heartrate can help doctors monitor their patients remotely, enabling them to make informed decisions surrounding their treatment even when they cannot be seen in-office.
Artificial Intelligence (AI). Machine Learning and AI tech have the power to eliminate many of the inefficiencies that plague the healthcare industry. From an administrative standpoint, automated work can reduce the risk of human error and waste of resources. From a cost-cutting view, AI can help eliminate added expenses and even detect fraud. AI devices are also used to quickly analyze the data found in medical imaging, allowing for a quicker triage process and more accurate diagnostics.
Cybersecurity. This is an inevitability, as more and more processes undergo a virtual shift. HIPAA ordinances and protocols need to be adhered to whether a patient is seen in an office or over Zoom or WhatsApp. Investments in cybersecurity are necessary for medical institutions to keep patients’ medical and personal information safe from cyberattacks. One estimate puts the investments into cybersecurity up over $65 billion by next year.
Healthcare is undergoing a massive digital shift, prompted in part by the new virtual world of COVID-19, and reinforced by an upcoming younger, tech-savvy workforce. Digitization is increasing across all industries, but healthcare’s slow crawl in that direction has finally picked up speed in 2020.