Technologies drive the healthcare industry predetermining its trends for the next decades. In many fields what we used to call the “future of health” is already a reality, and it is only a matter of time before emerging healthcare technology will be adopted to change the healthcare system drastically.
Emerging Technology in Healthcare
Innovations in healthcare technology have been constantly made. In 1998 the first operation assisted by robots was performed on a pig heart. In 2001 surgeons in New York carried out a telesurgical operation on a patient located in France, guiding a robot to remove his gallbladder. Now robots are used in hospitals across the world to assist medical staff in routine tasks, such as transportation of required equipment, scans, and even pre-diagnosis.
In 2016 a Nobel Prize was granted to a group of scientists who developed nanomachines, molecules that can be controlled remotely. With these machines operations will become extremely accurate, as we will be able, for example, to search and remove cancer cells leaving other cells untouched.
AI has been used for diagnostic and treatment recommendations since the 1970s when the MYCIN system was introduced. Using a small device named Kardia Mobile, patients can receive their EKG reading in less than a minute. AI-based software (so-called chatbots) allows patients to analyze their symptoms and get a possible cause, which is far more precise than Google search.
Healthcare Technology Advances
Most of the conditions threats humans after having entered the chronic phase, especially when the first symptoms remain unnoticed and a diagnosis is being determined too late. Technology advances in healthcare aim to deal with the disease at the earliest stages, sometimes far beyond the point, when it even turns into the disease. AI and IoT technologies enable us to measure the key parameters of the body and predict possible conditions based on the obtained data. Numerous devices such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and others that measure the heart rate, temperature (and some of them even blood pressure) are already largely popularized. Soon we will be able to collect all the data about our conditions from the devices at home rather than in a hospital. And that is where we can see another benefit. Technology advancements in healthcare will allow not only gather and analyze the information but also store and use it effectively so that every physician can easily access all patient data in seconds.
Disruptive Technology in Healthcare
Based on how healthcare and technology evolve now, it is obvious that all current and future transformations are enabled by AI, IoT, and platforms, on which the data can be securely stored and easily accessed. Merging all data streams from all possible relevant sources will contribute to highly personalized treatment for every patient.
The prominent example here is Solve.Care which not only uses blockchain technology proved to improve data security and make interactions within the healthcare ecosystem more efficient and easier, but also empowers consumers to obtain data from all medical devices by adopting IoT.
“We have always believed in empowering the patient and provider to interact with each other and coordinate care much more effectively. We are working hard to improve this relationship. Our partnership with CPChain [a company that builds new infrastructure for next-generation IoT] will see us adding the ability to incorporate consumer, wearable, and other medical device data into our platform. The opportunities are enormous,” said Pradeep Goel, CEO & Founder of Solve.Care.
How Can Technology Reduce Healthcare Costs
The modern healthcare system has never been designed to cope with the enormous chronic disease growth which we see now. 80 percent of all medical management spending covers chronic diseases. Technology changes in healthcare will enable us to detect and eliminate possible causes of disease before a symptom turns into a condition that needs to be treated. It will significantly reduce expenses.
New healthcare technology related to data storage and access, as well as data availability for all parties, such as patients, insurers, physicians, and drug providers, will reduce costs by implementing complex risk models and enabling effective intervention.
Barriers to Technology Adoption in Healthcare
Technology innovations in healthcare will require existing institutions and businesses to adapt. The main barriers to technology adoption are time, legality, cost, complexity, and fear. There is a common fear among consumers to be diagnosed by a machine. People tend to trust people rather than machines, and the matter of trust and reputation in healthcare will be important as never before. Implementation will certainly require institutions some time and money, not to mention efforts to educate the staff on how to use new devices and systems. However, in the long run, the outcome is worth the effort, and only those companies who remain flexible and open to changes and innovation will be able to maintain their positions.