Convergence of IT and Healthcare technologies is seeing advancements in the various medical fields including telemedicine, health data storage and exchange, data mining and security.
The healthcare industry is already making progress in these fields with some of the technology trends influencing them in the current year.
Following are top 5 tech trends that can impact Health-care industry in 2017:
- Machine Learning, Analytics & Artificial intelligence:Analytics tools and machine learning drive the next wave of health information. Machine learning is already the basis on which artificial intelligence can provide efficient and effective healthcare to consumers. It can reduce human workload while fostering personalized patient engagement.Artificial intelligence has potential application within telemedicine, eldercare, health records management, and improving patient access to providers. By harnessing the power of data, natural language processing, and predictive analytics, artificial intelligence is positioned to transform healthcare in various ways.
- Medical cyber theft will continue to rise:IDC Health Insights predicted that, by 2018, ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations will double, and these attacks will continue to increase as healthcare organizations make strong investments and strive for better cybersecurity technologies that work. Technology cybersecurity advancements will continue to protect against both known and unknown vulnerabilities in the healthcare.Connected devices that control, monitor, and intervene in real-time will pose security weaknesses and will be prone for security threats from hackers.
- Emerging technologies-(3-D printing, robots, drones) will take hold:Blockchain is predominantly used in financial industry for crypto currency transactions, but healthcare and life sciences providers are exploring the possibility of utilizing blockchain to improve health records maintenance, execute transactions and administrative work. It offers a distributed, secure system that enables a diverse network of healthcare providers, including patients, payers, providers, device makers, and acute care facilities to work together at the center of the healthcare centers.An Israeli company has already come up with ‘Cormorant’ (pilotless Drone-ambulance) that can revolutionize medical evacuation from places where man cannot reach easily.
Other technologies which are already in the trial stages are Genomic tools, digital imaging, robots, and 3-D printing that will play a new role in assisting providers in their patient treatment.
- Electronic Health Record improvement – focus on interoperability:Current healthcare providers are focused on hosting their electronic health record (EHR) systems on physical servers, with few opting for cloud based solutions. As cloud security improves, data access will increase among providers and patients as they go mobile via a secure hospital portal or website.This raises the issue of health information exchange (HIE) between the various health facilities including hospitals and labs. The seamless data/information sharing between the facilities requires improvement in the interoperability to provide patient care. Patients moving between multiple providers that share the same brand name will expect their data to be available regardless of its location. The biggest inhibitor for interoperability is lack of industry standards, misguided idea of information hoarding and financial constraints.
The effort will continue on information exchange initiatives and the development and use of FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources), an emerging exchange standard from Health Level Seven International (HL7). HL7 is the ANSI-accredited standard developing organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standard for the exchange, integration, sharing and retrieval of electronic health information.
- Telemedicine & Personalized (Precision) Medicine goes mainstream:Organizations are pushing for telemedicine that allows employees easy access to doctors via online video and high speed internet. This saves on time, money, and effort for both the employees and employers and the answer for shortage of doctors both in urban and rural areas.Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and machine learning are significantly changing the way health data is mined for information that can be utilized for personalized treatment plans especially in the field of cancer treatments. Other areas of medicine already using personalized therapies include endocrinology, rheumatology, cardiology hematology, infectious diseases, gastroenterology, and psychiatry.