Healthcare providers and their recipients are globally welcoming the increased adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), blockchain, and so on. The field of healthcare has always been at the forefront of technological innovation, with advancements constantly being made to improve patient outcomes and quality of care.
In recent years, there have been several significant breakthroughs that are set to revolutionize the healthcare industry in the near future. From AI and Machine Learning (ML) to telemedicine and genomics, the healthcare landscape is rapidly evolving, and the potential benefits are enormous.
This blog will explore some of the most promising upcoming technological advances in healthcare and discuss their potential impact on patients, healthcare providers, and the industry as a whole. We will delve into the latest developments in AI, metaverse, blockchain, and other cutting-edge technologies that are changing the way healthcare is delivered.
How Does HealthTech Create Value For Patients and Clinicians?
HealthTech creates value for patients and clinicians by improving access to healthcare services, increasing efficiency in healthcare delivery, and enabling more personalized and patient-centric care. For patients, HealthTech offers convenient access to medical consultations, remote monitoring of health conditions, and personalized treatment plans.
This can result in better health outcomes, improved patient satisfaction, and reduced healthcare costs. For clinicians, HealthTech offers tools for faster and more accurate diagnosis, real-time communication with patients, and better patient data management. This can result in improved clinical decision-making, reduced administrative workload, and increased job satisfaction.
HealthTech has the potential to transform healthcare by improving the quality, accessibility, and affordability of care. Here are some of the latest technologies in healthcare transforming the business landscape by improving the patient experience and the care delivery process.
1. AI Health Coach
AI health coaches are virtual assistants that use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to provide personalized health advice and support to individuals. These coaches are designed to help people achieve their health goals by offering guidance on nutrition, fitness, medication adherence, and other aspects of healthy living. AI health coaches use natural language processing (NLP) to interact with users through chatbots, voice assistants, or mobile applications.
Apple is reportedly working on an AI-powered health coach that assists users in improving their exercise, sleep, and eating habits. The service, when deployed to users, will gather data about user behavior and run it through a series of algorithms to produce actionable insights. In addition, Apple is also working on integrating a feature that lets users monitor their blood glucose through a non-invasive process, i.e., you would not be required to draw blood.
AI health coaches are changing the world of healthcare in several ways. They provide a cost-effective solution to the increasing demand for personalized healthcare services, especially for people living in remote or underserved areas. They can also help reduce the workload of healthcare professionals by handling routine tasks, such as answering basic health-related questions or reminding patients to take their medication.
Moreover, AI health coaches can collect and analyze vast amounts of health-related data, such as patient biometrics, medical records, and lifestyle habits, to offer customized advice and support. They can also detect early warning signs of chronic conditions and alert patients to seek medical attention. This proactive approach to healthcare can lead to better health outcomes and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.
The term "metaverse", coined by the social media platform formerly known as Facebook and now Meta, offers health practitioners and patients a slew of possibilities in advanced care delivery. Physicians and various other medical practitioners can test out the viability of new surgical methods and pharmaceutical drugs through AI-powered simulations in Virtual Reality (VR) scenarios.
Healthcare professionals will also be enabled to access VR avatars built after an extensive 3D analysis of patients and examine these avatars virtually. The metaverse also opens up prospects for medical personnel to knowledge-share and collaborate irrespective of the limitations of industry and geography. Surgeries in Augmented Reality (AR) settings and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)-driven surgeries are already transforming the HealthTech landscape.
Image: Artist's rendition of VR-based diagnostics
According to a report by UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, VR integration into the medical workflow led to an overall surgical performance improvement of 230%. Through the advantageous approach of repeated simulations and AR visualizations, the occurrence of diagnostic and surgical errors goes down by a large degree.
Additionally, VR can be an immensely impactful tool by helping patients get through physical rehabilitation programs following surgeries. It works by mimicking physical movements and driving movement in patients through haptic sensors that trigger electric stimulation in their muscles and eventually kickstart their nervous system.
3. Blockchain Opportunities
A recent blockchain ideation challenge sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC for HealthIT) saw a barrage of leading tech conglomerates vying for the top spot. Several white papers were submitted by these organizations detailing the possibilities for the application of blockchain, primarily towards making Health Information Exchange (HIE) more secure and efficient.
HIE powered by blockchain has the potential to unlock practical benefits for driving enhanced interoperability among data siloes and independent systems. Blockchain can enable patients to have control over their medical records and grant access to healthcare providers as needed while maintaining data privacy and security.
This technology has the ability to streamline the clinical trial process by securely storing and sharing data among researchers, patients, and regulators. Blockchain can be used to track the supply chain of pharmaceutical products, from manufacturer to distributor to patient, ensuring product safety and reducing the risk of counterfeit drugs.
Health insurance claims fraud can also be alleviated and the accuracy of reimbursement processes can be improved. Moreover, blockchain can facilitate secure and transparent telemedicine transactions, improving patient privacy and reducing the risk of data breaches.
4. Healthcare-Specific Cloud Services
A few years ago Microsoft announced the launch of a cloud service tailored specifically for the improvement of the workflow of healthcare organizations. Termed the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the service provides a transparent set of enhancements that help improve the entire healthcare experience. Additionally, an outcomes-focused AI enhancement called Nuance further helps innovate in improving the clinical workflow.
One of the main benefits of healthcare-specific cloud services is the ability to securely store and manage vast amounts of patient data, including medical records, lab results, and imaging studies, which can be accessed by authorized healthcare providers from anywhere at any time.
Image: Google's Healthcare Cloud data flow
Source: Google Blog
Cloud services can also facilitate the sharing of data among different healthcare providers and organizations, which can improve the continuity of care, reduce errors, and enhance patient outcomes. Furthermore, cloud services can enable the development of innovative healthcare applications and services, such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and personalized medicine, which can increase access to care, improve patient engagement, and enhance clinical decision-making.
Another potential application is the use of ML algorithms to analyze and extract insights from large datasets, which can support clinical research, disease prevention, and population health management.
Overall, a cloud service specifically dedicated to healthcare has the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered, managed, and optimized, leading to improved patient outcomes, reduced costs, and enhanced overall quality of care.
5. Tools Enabling Clinician Wellness
Since the start of the pandemic and throughout the multiple Covid-19 waves, clinicians, nurses, radiology, and imaging professionals have experienced severe burnout worsened by frequent staff shortages. Despite the integration of effective solutions such as staff augmentation and managed services, there were aspects of the medical professionals' daily functions that needed refinement and support.
- Clinical Automation:
More direct ways to improve these workflows were called for, and the healthcare industry pitched various possibilities for taking off the burden of documentation. Clinical automation can improve clinician wellness by reducing the administrative burden associated with clinical documentation, medication management, and other routine tasks, freeing up time and cognitive resources for more meaningful patient interactions. This can enhance job satisfaction, reduce burnout, and improve work-life balance, ultimately improving clinician wellness.
- Clinician Wellness Apps:
Clinician wellness apps are designed to improve the mental and physical health of healthcare providers. These apps typically provide resources such as meditation exercises, stress-management techniques, and self-care tips to help clinicians manage their workload and improve their overall well-being. By using these apps, clinicians can gain greater awareness of their own emotional state, reduce their stress levels, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. With enough time spent on these apps and following instructions to the tee, it can lead to improved job satisfaction, better patient care, and reduced burnout among healthcare professionals.
Constant Innovation Optimizes Care Delivery and Clinician Wellness
The future of healthcare is looking brighter than ever thanks to these upcoming technological advancements. From simulated surgeries in the metaverse to AI-powered diagnosis and treatment, healthcare is set to become more accessible, affordable, and accurate than ever before. While there are still challenges to be faced and questions to be answered, it's clear that these innovations have the potential to transform healthcare in countless ways. If you are looking to avail yourself of the benefits of healthcare innovation for your organization, you can book a free consultation with us today.