Digital Healthcare is hot. Venture capitalists, the Googles and Amazons of the world are investing heavily in this field. But it hasn’t reached a threshold yet. In fact, it is far from arriving at the threshold. There’s Artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, human computer interaction, blockchain, bio technology and so much more that is yet to be absorbed by the healthcare industry.
At present, healthcare is intermittent and reactive whereas it needs to become continuous and proactive. Doctors get paid to meet more number of patients rather than doing a better job with one patient. Even patients often forget data pertaining to their health conditions.
While people have already started using electronic medical records or online services mimicking electronic medical records, it is not even close to the zenith, to what it could be. There is a lot more technology can do – robots like Irona from Richie Rich, Rick and Morty inventions (minus the destruction of course), and so many more fantasies that can actually be realized!
We have compiled a list of digital trends in healthcare that are soon to become common in 2019 or near future.
Medical Diagnosis using Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence refers to machines that can mimic human behavior. While the term has been around since Turing published his papers, there’s still a lot to be accomplished in this field. At present, image recognition and other AI applications are accelerating medical diagnosis.
For example, a radiologist needs to sit and analyze all 300 slices generated through a MRI scan to identify a particular lung nodule. Once that is done, he needs to classify it as benign or malignant. It takes hours of human skilled labor to do so. However, an AI algorithm is now doing it much faster. This is just one instance of how AI is shaping our lives in medical diagnostics.
Big Data and Analytics
In the past decade, after the introduction of personal computers, x-ray machines, CT Scanners and other equipment, data generation has magnified by millions of words per day. EHR, or electronic healthcare records help keep a digital copy of a person’s medical history, demographics, age group and other relevant details. This not only saves the doctors plenty of arduous manual trouble, but also serves as a reliable source of data for statisticians.
But without big data, it would have been impossible to manage such huge amounts of information. Tons of gigabytes of data serve as means of report generation, predictions, and the like. And that is a huge development in the field of healthcare, thanks to technology.
The Internet of Medical Things
If you’ve got a fitbit, or the Apple Series 4 smartwatch, you’re wearing an IoMT device. Internet of Things refers to objects connected via internet. For example, Bluetooth enabled lights, TVs, Echo Dots, Amazon Fire Sticks, etc. Today, IoT is growing persistently in the field of medicine. Doctors use them to monitor their patients, especially when they’re moving away at critical points of their medical lives.
Nursing homes employ these to detect if a patient is breathing normally, taking his/her medicines on time, and such other patient medical particulars. Heartbeat sensors, EKG sensors, and pressure sensors are just a few of the many features these devices provide.
RFID tags are also increasing the efficiency of hospital operations. They can be used to track employees’ activities throughout the day, their incoming and outgoing time, etc. By 2020, IoMT usage is predicted to reach a total of 30 billion devices.
Predicted to reach a market value of $130 billion by 2025, telemedicine is a phenomenal introduction. Using this, patients can connect to doctors from remote locations and can not only be prescribed medicines, but can also show their physical symptoms to the doctors. This is specifically important for rural and remote locations of the world – places where qualified doctors are scarcely found.
This also benefits the corporate world. Companies indulging in enrolling their employees for telemedicine services have actually seen their health expenditures drop by over $200,000. Adecco is a shining example of the same.
AR/VR in Emergency Response
Augmented and Virtual Reality have changed the way we see the world. While in virtual reality, you are transported to an artificially created surrounding, in AR, you can create objects that can be layered on top of real world objects.
In both the cases, the viewer must wear AR/VR glasses which leave their hands free to work. Emergency responders find this very useful when providing first aid. They can even note down details of the patient by having one look and keep things ready even before they arrive at the hospital.
Machine Learning in Medical Product Development
Developing new drugs is a very difficult process. While putting in appropriate research, scientists need to take into account a number of factors. Finance, legality, ethical issues keep popping up here and there. No matter how big a team is, it is often difficult to keep track of all the factors.
Machine Learning and artificial intelligence have been guiding humans in these aspects. IBM Watson is one such tool to help accelerate research and development of medical products. Artificial intelligence and extended reality have been changing the face of healthcare for a while now, but there is so much more to come.
While one needs to understand AI does not mean terminator, it can definitely mean Irona. To conservationists who are scared of handing their lives into the hands of robots, you must not forget that those driving the robots are humans.
About Author: Sandeep is working as Content Marketing Executive at Aegis Health Tech, A Leading custom healthcare software development company India, Provides healthcare it services and healthcare application development Services.
Image Credit: cio.com