Healthcare: 5 Digital Trends for 2019 and Beyond
Nov 23, 2018 · 7 min read

1. Artificial Intelligence

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine and healthcare is gaining momentum. In one of our previous articles, we have already told how AI robotics is already being used in caregiving. But the iron nurse is not the only implementation of AI-based medical technologies. Ability to process big amounts of data provided by AI together with constantly improving image recognition function have given rise to various innovative health technologies. Here are several directions in which medical AI is going to be used in 2019 and beyond:

  • Medical product development. The process of research and development of new drugs is very slow and expensive. Pharmacists need to take into account hundreds of variables starting from financial appropriateness and finishing with legal and ethical issues. Today, AI is used to safely explore chemical and biological interactions in the drug discovery process based on early-stage clinical data. Among the most prominent examples here are IBM Watson and GNS Healthcare AI system used in the search of cancer treatment.
  • Workflow optimization. AI helps to automate such repetitive tasks as routine paperwork, scheduling, and time-sheet entry. These are the task which medical staff often consider to be the most tiresome and frustrating because of their monotony.

2. Big Data & Analytics

Technological advances of the recent years have led to the dramatic growth in the amount of medical and health data gathered about individuals. It creates new opportunities for health organizations in terms of extracting insights from these massive figures. New integrated solutions can gather, process, interconnect, store, and analyze data for any particular purposes. Healthcare professionals use this big data to make the diagnosis quicker and easier. Data analysis can also improve the efficiency within a healthcare organization. And insurance companies can use big data to offer tailored insurance products.

3. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices connected with each other via the Internet. This technology has seen a significant growth recently. In the healthcare, the IoT is used for remote monitoring of the patient’s or the client’s health through wearables (including ECG and EKG monitors), smart sensors, and mobile apps. By 2020, it is expected that up to 30 billion IoMT devices will be deployed worldwide.

4. Telemedicine

Telemedicine improves healthcare by making it easier for patients to get access to specialists. It is especially important in rural or remote areas. According to forecasts, the global telemedicine market is expected to be worth $113.1 billion by 2025. So far, the sector is dominated by video chat platforms. Patients have video calls the physician over the internet which allows them not only describe the symptoms but also show visible symptoms. But this is far from being the only use of telemedicine. The technology provides better conditions for treating and monitoring chronic conditions compared to regular visits to the doctors. It reduces stress for the patients and is more convenient and cost-effective.

5. VR / AR in the Healthcare

Virtual and augmented reality proposes significant advances to healthcare technologies from diagnosis to medical education and is already used in treatment for the wide range of illnesses. While with virtual reality, the person emerges in totally artificially created surroundings, augmented reality generates images that can be layered on the top of real-world objects. In both cases, the user can see the created imagery or text with the help of VR/AR glasses, while their hands stay free.

  • Prevention and diagnostics. VR/AR allows to model different conditions and manipulate the camera in order to compare the existing examination data with the examples from the database or replicate the effects of treatment.
  • Surgery. Here, VR’s most significant impact is in 3D reconstructions of organs in motion. The technology is especially useful when the surgeon needs to work in small spaces or under complicated conditions.
  • Education. VR/AR is a great tool which transforms medical education. Surgeons, for example, can rehearse the procedures and exercise precise steps which will allow them to accomplish operations quicker and with minimal damage to tissues in real situations. Microsoft HoloLens is a great example of using VR in medical education:

To Sum Up

We have discussed the most innovative digital trends which will shape the development of healthcare and medical industry in 2019 and beyond. Hope the information presented will get your creativity flowing and inspire you on creation of even more ambitious projects.

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