Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Health IT Trends In 2020 And Beyond
There isn’t a sector in the world that isn’t affected by technology and its constant evolution. Why should healthcare be any exception? After all, human beings have been using technology to improve their health for thousands of years. That certainly isn’t going to change anytime soon.
There are lots of buzzwords that are often used when it comes to emerging technological trends. Many throw out phrases like “blockchain” or “The Internet of Things.” When it comes to healthcare IT, what are the trends that will truly define the future for the foreseeable future? Here are the top 5 trends in Health IT for 2019.
We are all used to doctor visits where we usually hop in a car and drive over to our doctor’s office, whether it’s for a standard check-up or something a bit more serious. However, the concept of virtual care will become more accepted in the coming years. Technology now allows for remote patient monitoring, which can help doctors keep up with their patients outside of the office.
It may not be the “norm” in any sense of the word, but we can expect there to be more virtual care apps for patients to use, which could possibly mean that dealing with a doctor is less expensive and more convenient than ever.
Patients want more access to healthcare, and they want that access outside of a clinical environment. You can expect the concept of virtual care to become more popular in 2019 and beyond. Electronical Medical Records (EMR) companies will also help to play an important role when it comes to managing patient data, as well.
A Focus On Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity will remain a top priority for hospitals and healthcare providers, and that’s partially because cybersecurity is more relevant than ever before in a general sense. Specifically, cybercrime is expected to cost companies all around the world an astonishing $6 trillion by 2021. Organizations in the healthcare sector will be expected to invest in cybersecurity as the threat increases.
There are not many records that are more private and sensitive than medical data, so this is a very real concern. It should also be noted that healthcare hacks are on the rise, indicating that cybercriminals might be targeting the health sector more directly in the future.
There are many people that think about artificial intelligence as a force that will take away jobs from humans. However, artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize healthcare due to the fact that it can analyze data exponentially more efficiently than humans can. While data might help other sectors target certain customers, or provide sales insights — AI might actually help save lives if enough organizations allow AI access to enough data.
This might involve analyzing trends of various sizes, that could help determine the best method of treatment, a more accurate survival rate, or risk assessment. This could help doctors improve the way that they treat patients, and it can also give patients a more accurate picture of their health condition. AI will also help healthcare companies improve productivity significantly. You can be sure that AI will play a significant role in the future of healthcare in 2020 and beyond.
We are all used to human doctors, but robotics will undoubtedly play a role in the future of healthcare. Of course, time will tell just how they culturally fit into the overall healthcare culture.
Regardless, robots already assist in various surgeries, and can help when it comes to issues of precision and control. This isn’t particularly new, considering that the da Vinci surgical robot was approved by the FDA in 2000. The device is installed in countries all over the world, and costs around $2 million each.
Of course, robotics technology is continually evolving. Vicarious Surgical recently announced that the FDA has approved their virtual reality-based robot-assisted device. A startup named NISI Limited is developing tiny robots to insert in openings in the body. The robots would be inserted through either the anus or vagina.
The company made history last year when it was announced that it was able to conduct gynecological operations on live pigs in 2018, thanks to tiny robots that were inserted rectally. The company is planning its first surgeries on humans by 2021.
There’s a good chance that you are familiar with wearable health devices, whether it’s a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. Over 100 million Fitbit devices have been sold to date, and it’s a great activity tracker to make sure that individuals are getting enough exercise.
There is little doubt that this technology will be incorporated more and more into health IT in the future. The fact that Google, one of the most powerful and influential tech companies in the world, paid $2.1 billion for Fitbit speaks to the technology and data gathered.
The trend has gained a tremendous amount of traction as of recent, as well. Specifically, Accenture estimates that US consumer use of wearable devices jumped from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
This isn’t just about Fitbit devices — wearable devices also includes wearable monitors, whether it involves blood pressure monitors or ECG monitors. Heartguide, launched recently, allows users to take their blood pressure anytime and anywhere, for example.
There are many healthcare IT trends to look out for, and it is impossible to predict which ones will define the future. However, it’s obvious that the above trends will be integral when it comes to the health IT sector. The truth is that users want more convenient and personalized experience when it comes to healthcare, whether it’s a wearable device, app, or virtual care.
The technological advances in robots and artificial intelligence will also play quite a role when it comes to health IT. The new data gathered will be essential to reducing costs, improving productivity, and creating a better patient experience. Of course, this also means that data will have to be protected more than ever before, which is why cybersecurity must remain top of mind.