The healthcare industry is changing and becoming increasingly dependent on technology to improve efficiency, results, treatment, diagnosis, and productivity. Technology in healthcare has reshaped aspects of patientcare, hospital management, discovering and innovation in drugs, and using data to predict the course of treatment.
Technology provides quick care management and in case of emergencies, reduces casualties by providing real-time access to patient history in the form of Internet of Medical Technology (IoMT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and deep learning and many other innovations. Technological advancement optimizes systems, eases physician’s work, and improves patient care while reducing human error, lowering costs, and ensuring a consistently seamless experience.
The healthcare IT industry now offers better treatments using big data, virtual reality, mobile technology, wearable medical devices, Telehealth, and more. Better data management and systems driven by AI have made it easier for doctors to streamline their workflow and focus primarily on offering the best patient care.
Some of the prime examples of use of technology in healthcare are:• Electronic healthcare records (EHRs) provide medical professionals with a fuller, more holistic picture of a patient’s health history and help them in more accurate diagnosis, treatment decisions, assessments, and escalations.
AI has the potential to redesign healthcare given the capability of AI algorithms to mine medical records, design treatment plans or create drugs way faster. AI will play an increasingly crucial role especially since the number of IoMT devices are expected to exceed 30 billion by 2022 and will need AI to process all that data. AI can intelligently sort through masses of data from IoMT devices and provide medical practitioners only with data that needs their attention.
AI supports improvements in patient care outcomes, access to healthcare services, and better patient experience. AI-controlled robots provide a three-dimensional magnification for articulation, while performing with better precision and miniaturization. Some examples:• Surgeons at the Maastricht University Medical Center, Netherlands, suture very narrow blood vessels of .03 to .08 mm with AI-assisted robotics.
With large data sets, machine learning provides results much faster to augment chemical experiments and medical drug research, in areas such as molecule modeling and simulation of chemical reactions under multi-factor environments. This approach allows scientists to minimize costly onsite experiments with reagents and hi-tech lab equipment because many experiments can be conducted virtually. ML can detect patterns of certain diseases within patient electronic healthcare records and inform clinicians of any anomalies. There are many examples of ML, such as:• Apple's ResearchKit applies ML-based facial recognition to treat Asperger's and Parkinson's disease using an app.
We can expect more projects like this in the future.
Multiple data breaches and attacks in healthcare have brought the focus on the need to invest in cybersecurity. The continuous push towards a more digital healthcare industry implies the need for a strong security infrastructure to protect it. Data breaches and security incidents related to healthcare infrastructure affect thousands of patients globally.
Though there have been tech upgrades, precautions and awareness among healthcare providers, data breach statistics have only increased over the past ten years, reaching a peak in 2020/2021. The COVID-19 vaccine was targeted repeatedly by hackers with Pfizer, BioNTech, and the European Medicines Agency facing attacks aimed at vaccine data.
SOTI 2022 healthcare report indicates that 70% of organizations have experienced a data breach since 2020 of which:• 33% are accidental data leaks by employees
The healthcare sector has to become far more conscious about its cybersecurity infrastructure. Without MFA (multifactor authentication), SSO (single sign on), or encryption or any advanced and modern security protections, data is likely to be compromised. In addition, healthcare systems are especially prone to creating silos and orphan systems.
Replacing humans with machines would help medical facilities that already experience an acute deficit in nurses and clinicians. It has been found that a robot costs typically one-fifth of a full-time healthcare staff member. With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), healthcare providers can actualize a cost-effective workforce and significantly reduce operating costs.
Some of the other benefits are:• Allows healthcare staff to focus on delivering care rather than on repetitive tasks such entering data
Some of the specific examples in this space are:• T-impact offers a healthcare RPA solution for assisting doctors during surgeries with key instructions, recommendations, and common warnings to improve surgery outcomes
The healthcare industry has accumulated data from sources such as patient records, DICOM files, and medical IoT solutions and the number of data sources have only increased in recent times. Medical service providers have chosen modern platforms, including data fabrics, to combine and manage huge volumes of structured and distributed data.
Building secure multi-cloud solutions to integrate siloed data with the healthcare systems and moving considerable volumes of data to manage, store and mine it for useful insights are a major priority for the industry, bringing the focus on Big Data and analytics solutions. The case studies in this area indicate the range, depth, and the expected results of implementing these solutions. A few here:• Kaiser Permanente has implemented a system called HealthConnect that shares data across all their facilities and makes it easier to use EHRs
IoMT technology enables any medical device to collect, analyze, and send data across the Internet with digital devices, such as heart monitors and non-digital items like hospital beds and pills. IoMT lets medical equipment and healthcare products share data in real time. IoMT finds use in hospitals and clinics to improve healthcare quality while reducing cost in applications such as patient monitoring, MRIs, X-ray machines, CT scanners, and other equipment that can be remotely monitored.
IoMT extends healthcare services beyond hospitals with medical connectivity technology, also called telemedicine, in areas such as Remote Patient Monitoring (RTM) that helps heart patients and diabetics, in particular, with portable RTM devices. Advances in biosensor technology enable wearable smart devices to monitor the user’s health while weather embedded in apparel, attached to the skin, or implanted, on-the-body IoMT sensors track health conditions.
Some of the specific examples of IoMT are:• A smart belt from Active Protective that detects falls and activates hip protection for elderly users
Digital transformation in healthcare uses the latest technologies, methodologies, and processes to deliver sustainable value to patients, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations. Deloitte’s study indicates that about 92% of healthcare professionals and institutions achieved better performance with digital transformation.
Digital transformation provides the healthcare industry with significant benefits for patients, healthcare institutes/organizations, and the industry.• Better Personalized Services
Additionally healthcare institutes and organizations also benefit from digital transformation:• Reduced Costs
Some of the prominent examples include:• Brigham Health Hospital in Massachusetts has adopted a virtual visits solution that allows patients to schedule appointments online and use their smartphones to chat with doctors through video calls, among others
The use of technology in healthcare supplements the knowledge of doctors and health professionals regarding their diagnoses and treatments. The use of technological applications allows monitoring through different devices the conditions, pathologies and situation of patients leading to greater quantity and quality of information and healthcare in general.
The benefits of technology lie in boosting the hospital environment by alleviating growing costs, waiting time, failure in drug development, and reduced access to insurance and healthcare providers. There are multiple benefits of technology in the healthcare industry leading to a rapid shift in healthcare access and quality. The significant areas are:• Genome Sequencing
The importance of technology is that allows accurate detection and monitoring of various pathologies with high-tech devices while different systems and software help streamline logistics, workflow, and provide superlative care to patients. It is equally so in being able to reduce errors, prevent adverse drug reactions, protect patient privacy, and improve overall care while optimizing current systems, easing physician's work, providing a seamless experience, and improving patient care at lower costs. Technology has also instilled self-care in patients and responsibility in the application of treatments along with prevention and awareness, especially through mobile applications that encourage healthy lifestyle habits.
While it emerges that a healthcare organization needs to embrace technology, it is also important that they work with the right team of solution providers to implement solutions that are mapped to their needs and objectives.
Resolve Tech Solutions (RTS) is a global technology services company that is focused on modernizing and transforming critical industries by providing world-class IT services, consulting, and implementation solutions. The company serves both Fortune 500 enterprises and small and medium businesses across the diverse verticals of telecom, retail, government, aerospace, defense, healthcare, and real estate.
The range of technology solution areas mentioned above in the context of the healthcare industry are also reflected in the RTS solutions and services portfolio that includes:• ERP Modernizations
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