February 10, 2022
The healthcare industry is eternally evolving, such as digitizing medicine to make it more accessible and efficient and revamping it to fight illnesses better. However, the last 2 years has taught us that the healthcare industry can be better. This has encouraged many tech and pharmaceutical companies to put more effort into overcoming past challenges. Healthcare and technology going hand in hand to overcome the global pandemic have led to several major changes in the sector. Whether you are a healthcare provider, a patient, or an insurance company, these healthcare technology trends will make your 2022 better.
Interoperability to the rescue!
The current global pandemic demanded social distancing between people. Interoperability promises to help make doing that easier. A system where various healthcare-related units such as pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, insurance agencies function as one digital unit will be a win-win for everyone. You will be able to access all your data on your device without having to visit any of these institutions unless it’s extremely inevitable. However, interoperability has faced many challenges in its execution. Several tech and healthcare companies are making efforts to overcome it. Experts are expecting it to take better shape in 2022, which will do wonders for all parties involved.
Telemedicine will take center-stage
Telemedicine has been in the works for a long time, and the pandemic created the urgent need for accessible healthcare. According to WHO, almost 50% of the world population is still deprived of it. A study by Forbes suggested that 43% of medical consultations during the first few months of the pandemic were remote, i.e. online. Apart from that, a lot of COVID patients were suggested, or pushed, to recover at home. Telemedicine can help them by creating a centralized communication system such that healthcare providers can offer virtual care in real-time. Apart from that, encouraging patients to wear health-tracking devices to detect heart rate, stress, and blood oxygen levels can also make it easier for professionals to monitor them. The only major hurdle that telemedicine currently faces is people’s adjustment to it, since many patients still prefer an in-person interaction over an online one.
Welcoming the AI
The data inflow and exchange in healthcare is tremendous. The burden that it put on healthcare providers during the pandemic could have easily been dealt with by an AI system. It can send out the entire database of medical updates in the world, such as information related to COVID, necessary precautions, symptoms, distribution of vaccines, and anything else that could be important, a lot more efficiently. Along with that, AI in healthcare can make a huge impact on interoperability, helping workers deal with CT scans, X-Ray, and MRI imaging. It could serve to help take the administrative load off of healthcare providers. Telemedicine could employ AI as a way of communicating with patients about their symptoms and relaying this data to the concerned doctors. This could help save patients and doctors a lot of time.
What if you knew where the next outbreak was going to happen or what the risk factors were for the health of the population of your area? Preventative medicine aims at predicting diseases before they are contracted. A well-developed and smart AI could help identify events such as the next outbreak, how healthcare institutions can prepare for it, health risk factors for various geographical populations, and so on. History shows that outbreaks are inevitable but AI could help humanity manage them better. Not just that, it could assess populations to predict lifestyle diseases and mental health conditions too provided the population provides accurate data. Healthcare professionals hope to make health management and illness prediction more efficient in 2022 helping change lives for the better.
A (robotic) helping hand
Plenty of eager startups worldwide are investing time and money into revolutionizing robotic systems. The goal is to enable robots to help understaffed hospitals overcome the challenge they face when offering care. Surgical robots have been around since the 1980s and this year expects them to get better at mitigating risks and expediting recovery time. Autonomous robots can further this by taking up cleaning, transportation, and disinfection tasks. A study said that they could also be utilized to help admitted patients take their medicines on time, and even communicate with them. The idea is to reduce the pressure on the human workforce by delegating it to a robot.
Finding that finesse through AR / VR
For those who might not know, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) involve lenses and headsets that help create an altered world. This can either be entirely virtual (VR) or an overlaying of virtual elements of the world in real-time (AR). This can be of tremendous help to both surgeons and patients alike. Surgeons would be able to train without fear of putting the lives of patients at risk or using cadavers. A lot of healthcare institutions are looking to make AR / VR a part of their systems. Moreover, AR / VR systems have also been known to help patients with mental conditions such as psychosis, autism, and phobias. They can help create a safe and comfortable environment for them to help them work through their fears with much more ease. AR / VR systems can help other professionals associated with the healthcare industry too. For instance, an AR-integrated device can help create a traffic-free path for an ambulance or provide patients with directions to the nearest clinics or hospitals.
With the help of AI and genomics (the study of genes), medicine will see a more tailored approach in its production. This means that prescription drugs will be modified to help people individually instead of aiming to treat a larger population. This can help mitigate allergies and cure other medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and so on. This year will also see an increased investment in Nutrigenomics, a field that will help design diet plans based on your genetic dispositions. Read our post on Remote Patient Monitoring.