Technology is rapidly changing the way health care is delivered in hospitals and medical practices across the country, especially after the pandemic. There are countless new health IT and patient care developments cropping up regularly, but certain strategies, systems, and trends are set to reach a tipping point of adoption and popularity in the coming year.
The pandemic has impacted many industries and how various business operations are processed. The healthcare industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation. It is also expected that healthcare providers will increase their technology budgets in 2021.
There have been some interesting technology trends in the healthcare system this year so far. We should be expecting more development for improving patient care, having adaptive treatment options, and better remote practice in the coming year. Here are some of the major health tech trends to keep an eye on in 2021, a year where everyone will be focusing on rebuilding and set new strategies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly growing its capabilities from management to diagnosis and treatment. It is expected that the use of AI in the healthcare industry will experience rapid growth, about 40%, in the year 2021. However, this growth will require significant investments.
Artificial Intelligence integrated tech can improve healthcare practice in three major ways:
- With improved automated reminders, patients will take medication on time within a specific timeframe.
- Based on the patient’s body chemistry and environmental factors, a better and more personalized dosage recommendation will be achieved.
- Patients at high risk will be identified, alerting the medical staff beforehand while being medically prepared for treatment.
Robotics and Machine Learning
While every industry is trying to optimize the processes in a way that involves minimum human contact. It will be something to look forward to regarding what the healthcare experts come up with towards new developments in robotics. As of now, robotics has been involved in surgical assistance. And Chatbots are helping physicians to provide patients with medical advice.
Computers are already helping doctors to diagnose diseases, a study by Harvard predicts that the technology will become prevalent in 90% of the hospitals, even with patients being skeptical about the use of technology in critical medical conditions. New advancements in robots and machine learning will be something to anticipate in 2021.
Better and More Secure Big Data
Wearable devices have gained popularity among the public and have certainly made patients more conscious and aware of the health metrics. The number increased three times in the last four years according to a finding.
But this data has been transferred into healthcare records as well, improving patient care alongside. Healthcare providers have more precise data and are working towards customized care provision. With this increased flow of data, the responsibility to keep the data is also becoming more challenging.
Healthcare data breaches are common and with increasing information flow, the chances of data breaches increase as well. Because of this, all the major industry regulations have prioritized data security, and in the coming year, it is expected to see major advancements in data security as an important component of quality patient care.
Virtual Reality (VR) Integrated Care
There have been some interesting advancements this year in the healthcare industry using virtual reality in practice. Virtual care, however, will be the preferred model for hospitals due to the pandemic. VR technology has gained popularity more so after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The physicians are preferring remote prescribing and looking into options for providing better remote patient care using VR devices. This not only reduces human contact and chances of spreading the epidemic but also cuts the operational costs of the medical practice.
We also expect that remote patient care will continue to grow in the coming year and we will be witnessing some interesting gadgets with VR integrated treatment and care.
The use of telehealth services has increased across the country. The reason for the growth is obvious and healthcare providers, like MTBC’s talkPHR, have been investing towards improving the patient experience in this regard. Not only within the country but the expansion of medical practice now is going global.
Healthcare systems across the U.S. are doing so to increase their patient volume. This is also providing more opportunities for cross-country doctor-doctor and doctor-patient growth opportunities. These joint ventures and collaborations will result in the provision of quality patient care across the globe as well as more revenue for the physicians.
We are hoping for some interesting updates in telehealth services, which will ensure that the reach is global and the patients can have access to care delivery anywhere from the world at the ease of being at home.
Customized Mobile Applications
It is known to everyone that mobile applications and wearable devices have aided towards the increased healthcare data. This has benefited the providers to a great extent. With a number of mobile applications being launched every month, 2021 will be a year to expect some applications that are customized and specifically designed for a certain medical condition.
More specific data will further improve patient care delivery. We will expect more customized treatment plans and patients to choose what suits them better. Everything will be on the tip of fingers eventually minimizing human contact.
Nanomedicine is injected into a patient’s body to study molecular structure. This is specifically helpful in biomedical research. Nanorobotics, injected in the bloodstream, help in releasing the drug to treat the disease while also monitoring the disease.
This is extremely important to integrate large and complex data sets into a nano-level, to implement nanoparticles into organisms causing the disease and provide smart drug delivery. Cancer patients are being treated through nanomedicine, which has shown some promising results by improving blood circulation and delivering more precise monitoring.
The research in this field, however, is ongoing, and advancements are expected in the coming year 2021.
Stem Cell Treatment for Spinal Injury Patients
Epidural implants and stem cell treatment have shown some promising results in patients with spinal injury. However, research continues in the field, and the healthcare system is trying to find treatment for the condition, which is more permanent in nature.
As of now, Lineage Cell Therapeutics has come up with a stem cell treatment for spinal injury patients. In this treatment, OPCs are obtained from pluripotent human step cells and are injected into the site of spinal injury. The treatment is still in its research phase and improvement in this regard is expected.
Ending the Next Pandemic Before It Starts
There are a number of reasons to be hopeful that the healthcare systems, instilled with advanced technology like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Nanorobotics, will make us equipped in a better way. We will deal with the next pandemic in a more effective way, mitigating its widespread and outcomes.
These on-going healthcare tech trends are something to keep an eye on. What technology trends are you most excited or concerned about for the coming year?