Technology in the healthcare industry has been evolving over the years. More transformations are expected as companies continue conducting research, and coming up with ways to improve the health services rendered. Today, there are more digital health technologies than you can count. New applications are emerging every day to offer solutions to various healthcare challenges. This article has assembled the top 5 digital health technologies in 2019.
1. Artificial intelligence(AI)
Usually, radiologists spend an extensive amount of time manually analyzing images that they barely get enough time to examine them in depth. As a result, errors and misdiagnosis happen every now and then. Given the rising number of patients that need radiology services and the ever-evolving technology, the number of images to analyze will not only increase but also become intensive.
Luckily, with the arrival of semi-automation, AI algorithms will be used to analyze these images. These will save time and increase the productivity of radiologists. The ability of AI to accelerate the process of analyzing images and guess the next step is what will make this achievable. AI can also automate tasks that were originally performed manually, thus reducing the radiologist’s workload. The accuracy of diagnosis and ability to detect diseases at early stages will improve. Heavyweight companies such as Google, Amazon, iCAD, and Heartflow have already showcased their machines to the Radiology Society of North America(RSNA) in 2018. According to Frost and Sullivan, AI has a lot of potential in the medical imaging space.
2. Augmented Reality(AR)
There has been a lot of improvement in medical imaging over the past 10 years. Some include streaming data in real time and technologies for processing it. These advancements have changed how doctors use images and scan for surgical procedures. However, the advancement has not managed to save time and effort spent in surgical procedures. As a result, patients are vulnerable to surgical errors since surgeons put their focus on checking images on 2D screens in the operating room(OR) instead of the patient.
However, AR is transforming the efficiency and costs of surgery procedures. With Augmented Reality, surgeons can count on improved error rates, reduced efforts, and reduced OR display systems costs. AR is capable of creating a 3D model of the anatomy of a patient, locate targets in a patient body, and increase precision in surgical navigations. Companies such as Novarad and Leica Systems already have FDA clearance to offer AR based surgical solutions. In 2019, more companies will line up their respective surgical planning solutions. With AR you can expect surgeries for parts such as the knee, hip, spine and other vital parts to have reduced surgical error rates.
3. Quantified self
Current health insurance policies don’t meet every person’s needs. The concept of quantified self is gaining momentum in 2019 health insurance policies to bridge that gap. Quantified self means using a person’s private information to improve their quality of life. Products, services, and data are becoming digitalized and thus, opening a room for healthcare consumerism in the current healthcare systems. The emerging connected health technology such as wearables, virtual reality, artificial intelligence are proof. They not only enhance lifestyle driven health insurance plans but also increase the popularity of health data. Policyholders can also enjoy personalized experiences and reduced costs of a potential claim. The quantified self is bringing a new era to health insurance.
At one point in life, you must have experienced the agony associated with visiting a hospital only to find that the doctor has no access to your medical history. When this happens, it can result in poor referral management, longer stays for in-patients, preventable readmissions, and regulatory non-compliance on the part of the doctor. Patients, on the other hand, can’t access their treatment record in case they forget the doctor’s instructions.
Blockchain has come to provide a solution to that menace. It is the cutting edge for EHR interoperability. It has made it possible for third parties to have access to data stored in other local health IT workflows. Patients records can now be stored securely and accessed by different hospitals. Blockchain has brought significant changes in Electronic Health Records(EHR). Intersystems is a health information system that has made this dream a reality for Healthcare Providers. More centralized digital command centers are expected to continue emerging to promote the interoperability of EHR.
5. Wearables and mHealth apps
Pharmaceutical industries are burdened with significant costs of recruiting and retaining patients during clinical trials. On-site monitoring of trial patients is also a cost burden due to growing complexities in clinical trials. As a result, 80% of pharmaceutical trials fail to meet the enrollment deadline, hence, resulting in massive losses. Patients also drop out due to lack of trial designs that are patient-centric.
Luckily, wearables devices and mHealth smartphone apps have come to the rescue with their virtual clinical trial concept. Patients can participate in clinical trials from the comfort of their homes or any other location of their choice. The concept has reduced costs for sponsors, and at the same time derived a real-world image of efficacy.
Given the dynamic nature of technology, there is a lot more to expect in 2019. As more challenges emerge in the healthcare sector, more digital technology solutions will be introduced.
The above are just a small proportion of the transformations digital technology has made to healthcare in 2019. If this pace continues, you can count on improved ROI, doctors’ efficiency, and patients safety.