In the world of healthcare, slow yet steady advances in technology are the best way to predict what has staying power: what makes a splash in consumer technology may never meet the necessary precautions built into the fabric of this sector, not to mention overcome the burden of proof needed to divert funds from other life-saving investments in such a complex, high-stakes environment. For these reasons, 2020 healthcare tech trends are in many ways a continuation of a preceding decade of emerging technology. What’s “new” are the very ways in which existing trends make incremental headway, whether through increased adoption, greater accuracy, or new applications. Let’s delve into the three biggest topics that are creating sustained opportunities for healthcare innovation as we enter a new decade — and era of care.
Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
Artificial intelligence is shaping many facets of the healthcare sector, from patient experience to decision support and even innovation to expand value-based care adoption. In 2019, the FDA approved its first AI-based diagnostic device, creating a vision for what’s possible as regulatory bodies provide greater clearance for innovation to become mainstream. As more medical devices are equipped with AI and more records and research become accessible to machine learning, integrated systems will provide the boon that AI needs to be more accurate and illuminate more options for niche treatment outside the realm of feasibility for doctors to review and assess on their own.
IoT in Healthcare
This market, expected to grow at 19.01% CAGR until 2026 to reach $566.01 billion, is just now skimming the surface of what’s possible for connected care. Providing integration between various devices that track and input patient data is just one part of the equation; the emerging Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will expand as telemedicine makes possible more efficiency of care that is also convenient for those either opting to adopt more preventive, proactive measures for their wellness or who are sick and unable to leave the comfort of their home. No matter the reason, IoT will allow healthcare providers and payers alike to be more attuned to the needs of patients in an era where greater consumer empowerment demands more options and new solutions for gaps in quality of care. And since nearly 60 percent of healthcare operations had adopted IoT / IoMT by 2017 (Frost and Sullivan), the proliferation of use makes the impact more palpable in the near-term future. Connectivity will play a major role in the effectiveness of these devices, allowing information to be exchanged and applied between systems and devices without disruption.
Blockchain in Healthcare
A shared digital ledger will have drastic implications on the world of healthcare as we know it, as cross-industry standards are set through consortia and as healthcare systems move to be more interoperable. Though security and HIPPA compliance continue to plague innovation when it comes to information sharing on a wide scale, the supply chain benefits of blockchain alone make trial and adoption much more appealing from a business perspective: in fact, being late to the blockchain game can mean consequences when it comes to drug quality control and, as a result, patient care and even facility management. Blockchain at its most basic level paves a better way for the encrypted exchange of patient records: the EMR of the future awaits.
There are ample ways to get more out of your healthcare technology investments, and to anticipate how current trends will affect future planning, management and oversight for data and IT infrastructure alike. If you’re applying any of these innovations to your practice, let’s talk.