The world of healthcare technology evolves rapidly, with new trends on the horizon. As technology becomes more innovative, healthcare professionals can expect these trends to enhance the patient experience, improve care, and deliver better workflows. Earlier this year, we looked at the Top Medical Technology Advances From the Last 100 Years. Now, as 2018 draws to a close, let’s examine the healthcare technology trends that will be most impactful in 2019.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is playing a critical role in patient care, from smart IVs to data captured from pacemakers. What you can expect in 2019 is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which will combine IoT devices, telemedicine, and telehealth technologies. This would include wearables for patients, such as monitors for ECG and EKG.
This trend will see substantial investment as the market for IoMT will increase to $30 billion. With such an expanding market, the possibilities for IoMT are virtually endless.
The advantage of the IoMT is that devices can communicate with one another and deliver data. However, this trend is not without its challenges. It will need a boost at the level of 5G. There are also security concerns. Standardizing protocols, and developing a plan to secure the data, should be on the top of healthcare tech professionals’ agendas now.
The fifth-generation wireless network will continue to improve in 2019, with full accessibility expected by 2020. 5G will make all healthcare technologies run faster, with more reliability and low-latency. Healthcare information technologies (HIT) such as electronic medical records, clinical decision support and the multitude of software and services that support other processes within healthcare organizations will benefit from better connectivity. In addition, this will be the network that will support the proliferation of IoT devices as well as the engine powering artificial intelligence and big data.
3D printing has been an emerging trend in healthcare for some time, mostly in creating medical device prototypes cheaper and faster. 3D printing of tissues, however, brings about a new world of possibilities. A revolution in transplants is possible with this innovation.
For medical research, especially pharma, these bio-printed objects can be the new “guinea pigs” offering new models and avenues for product testing.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is gaining even more traction in the healthcare field. With AI, medical technology has the ability to become much smarter by taking in large volumes of data to analyze it and create new insights. AI is poised to continue its importance in these areas:
Biometrics recording in healthcare is leveraged for both patient and employee identification. Consider even a seemingly simple task for a nurse to log-into the various healthcare information technologies needed to record a health history, input a prescription refill or coordinate care with another healthcare provider. Several passwords across many applications slows down the clinician.
Advances are now making the integration of biometric inputs a more appealing option at a lower cost. There are the traditional biometric modalities, like fingerprints, as well as face and voice recognition; these have been used for some time in a variety of industries. New modalities, like EKG, finger vain, or iris scanning, are a possibility for the future of healthcare biometrics.
There are challenges here, as providers try to integrate biometrics as a way of creating frictionless registration, smoother workflows, and authentication for patients.
Blockchain, as an incorruptible ledger, will improve the accessibility of data in peer-to-peer platforms. Multiple users can input information on the same ledger, which is key to digital transformation. Interoperability is constantly a challenge in healthcare technology. Can each system work with and talk to every other system? Blockchain ledgers could create better solutions to enable a more interoperable healthcare technology ecosystem.
With public-private key methods, users can create, modify, and disseminate data. Imagine a situation where a specialist is brought onto a case, the primary care physician’s office can grant the specialist access to the patient’s history, while the specialist can annotate or add to the patient’s data. Removing the friction of printing, faxing, or even emailing static patient records will ease administrative burdens and go a long way towards improving care coordination across healthcare providers
An example of the use of blockchain is an initiative by the Synaptic Health Alliance, which is helping them tackle what has been a $2 billion a year challenge related to data management. The blockchain for the group includes Quest, Humana, and MultiPlan.
Telemedicine has been growing in popularity because of the convenience factor for patients. It’s also been an improvement in the access to healthcare for patients who live in remote areas where specialty physicians may not be available. Electronic medical records have also made telemedicine more effective, as remote healthcare providers can have immediate access to a patient’s fuller medical history.
This trend is reflected in the projections from Research and Markets, which expects the CAGR of the industry to increase by 19% by 2022, with the market previously valued at $29.6 billion in 2017.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
With the use of augmented reality in healthcare, new doors are opening for care. These advances are making things like educating patients and preparing for procedures much easier. One unique way healthcare is using this technology, is as a comprehensive, tailored experience to help with recovery for those who have had a stroke, major operation or other intervention.
Augmented and virtual reality are also helping clinicians create real-world scenarios to train on certain procedures. Think of it as a virtual OR. The data collected during these augmented training sessions can assist clinicians when they are faced with actual emergencies.
2019 is set to be an exciting year in healthcare technology. As a supplier and partner to the industry, keep in mind that your audience of prospective buyers is likely thinking of one or more of these broader trends. Your buyers may be interested to understand how your product or service fits into this evolving environment. Consider how your solutions may benefit from or aid in the adoption of these technologies.
When planning for each of your sales meetings in 2019, keep Carevoyance in mind to ensure you are tailoring every pitch with your audience in mind. Our healthcare sales acceleration platform puts the power of data science and analytics in the hands of every Sales Rep and Marketing team member. Access the definitive source of data on every physician, ASC, hospital, and health system in the United States.
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Beth Osborne is a professional writer and content marketer with multiple years of experience in healthcare IT marketing. Learn more about her by visiting her website.