Technologies applied to health encompass all devices, medications, vaccines, procedures and systems designed to expedite health care operations, reduce costs and improve the quality of care.
In general, a trend is considered as a process of changes in human groups that give rise to new needs, forms of behavior, and new products and services. If we apply the term to technology, this implies the way in how, when, and where these products and services are consumed, as well as the devices used to obtain them.
According to the innovation expert and consultant Erlin Salgado, knowing the trends, analyzing them and creating strategies in balance with our resources, values and culture of the company, “can mean the advantage we need to demarcate from the competition. It is important to project into the future, but above all, forge paths with a foundation to take advantage of the present. ”
Arium Health, an information technology services company for raising the quality standards of the health sector, organizes the first Latin American Digital Health Congress in Santo Domingo.
Fedor Vidal, CEO and managing partner of Arium Health USA and world expert in health technology and business, who served as head of information technology (CIO) for Johns Hopkins Medicine International, ensures that the needs of patients and their families they demand a use of technology that meets their expectations and that adapts to the dynamics of a connected and agile life, in line with market trends.
- 1 Medical technology trends 2021
- 2 New Technology to Innovate in Medical Sector
Medical technology trends 2021
Health technologies cover all devices, medications, vaccines, procedures and systems designed to expedite health care operations, reduce costs and improve the quality of care.
Artificial intelligence, blockchain, voice search, and virtual reality are among the most promising medical technology trends in 2021.
The market of health technologies is expected to be 390.7 billion dollars by 2024.
Learn about seven of the main trends in technologies applied to health.
7. Internet of medical things (IoMT)
The IoMT consists of a network of interconnected medical devices that are capable of maintaining a machine-to-machine conversation through a network to form a smart device connection.
Also known as medical care IoT, the internet of medical things is basically the extension of the classic internet of things (IoT) to the health sector.
The computer devices integrated in the medical devices allow them to send and receive data through a shared network, such as wi-fi.
IoMT device classification
The interconnected medical devices that constitute the IoMT are generally divided into seven categories:
- Portable fitness devices
- Portable clinical grade devices
- Remote patient monitoring devices
- Smart pills
- Attention point devices and kiosks
- Clinical monitors
- Hospital devices
Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, these devices can capture and transmit vital data, thereby improving the efficiency of providing medical care and resulting in better patient outcomes.
6. Mobile applications
For this trend we will use the case of Amadita Clinical Laboratory, an entity established in the Dominican Republic.
In the health sector of the Caribbean country, waiting to complete administrative procedures, prior to receiving a service, is one of the greatest investments of time patients have, and includes complications in transit.
With the update of its app, Amadita offers its patients the opportunity to advance processes such as quoting their analytics, billing, making online payments and requesting electronic shifts before arriving at any of the branches, and thus reducing waiting times.
The Amadita App allows you to quote, see the branches of your convenience and the average waiting time, receive and share results. They can also bill their clinical analytics, pay online and take a virtual shift before arriving at the branch.
This confirms that health organizations can create useful digital tools that are perfect for the modern patient.
Mobile applications also relieve some of the pressure on medical staff, waiting times and reception tasks, resulting in a significant reduction in operating costs.
5. Big data
Big data of medical care refers to the collection, analysis and use of data from consumers, patients, physicists and clinicians who are too vast or complex to be understood by traditional means of data processing.
Instead, Big Data is often processed by machine learning algorithms and data scientists.
The increase in large health data occurs in response to the digitalization of information and the increase in value-based care, which has encouraged the industry to use data analysis to make strategic business decisions.
Faced with the challenges of data such as volume, speed, variety and truthfulness, health systems must adopt a technology capable of collecting, storing and analyzing this information to produce actionable information.
Big data analysis tools and repositories generate reliable and calculating information on these volumes of data in a very short time.
Among the benefits of Big Data are:
- Creates a holistic 360 degree view of consumers, patients and doctors.
- Improves personalization and efficiency of care with comprehensive patient profiles.
- Identify geographic markets with high growth potential.
- Provides a direct identification of patterns in health outcomes, patient satisfaction and hospital growth.
- Optimizes hospital growth by improving efficiency, effectiveness and personalization of care.
The merging of these data sets from various sources, including hospitals, pharmacies, insurance and even people, and their subsequent analysis to obtain significant results would result in better health care results at a reduced cost.
4. Virtual reality
Virtual reality is expected to become a 4 billion dollar business by 2020.
Whether taking advantage of virtual reality to provide an immersive experience for patients to virtually tour a health center or using virtual reality to help patients cope with pain, there is much to be interested in.
Few technologies generate both commitment and virtual reality and being smart with this technology is beneficial for any health organization
Among the benefits of virtual reality we have:
- Training of doctors for surgeries
- Improved visualization and body mapping
- Stress reduction and better hospital experience for patients with chronic diseases
- Physical therapy and “phantom limb” pain management
- Mass medical learning
From the education of medical students to diagnosis, treatment planning and patient management, this technology has become an integral part of medical care and still has great potential.
3. Electronic health records (EHR)
The electronic medical records (EHR) market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year between 2018-2022.
Health service providers and organizations continue to house fragmented technologies that create barriers to collaboration and data exchange opportunities.
This is further aggravated if a patient extends to both sides of health care: public and private.
EHR systems are designed to store data accurately and capture the status of a patient over time.
One of its benefits is that it eliminates the need to track previous medical records on a patient’s paper and helps ensure that the data is accurate and legible.
Also, it reduces the risk of data replication since there is only one editable file, which means that the file is more likely to be updated and decreases the risk of loss of documentation.
Basic components of an EHR:
- Patient management component.
Name, insurance data, demographic.
- Clinical component.
Patient’s medical history, operative, advisory notes, medication prescription data, vital signs.
- Laboratory component.
The laboratory component has been divided into two subcomponents: the capture of laboratory machine results and the integration with billing, orders and laboratory machines.
- Radiology information system.
The radiology information system, together with the image filing and communication system, is useful for managing the patient’s workflow, ordering procedures, images and results.
All charges generated during patient care can be captured using the hospital billing system. Claims are generated from charges and sent to insurance companies.
By partnering with hospital and clinic providers, EHR technology allows patients to view their medical records from multiple providers on a single platform.
Globally renowned institutions such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and even the Cleveland Clinic have implemented this technology.
The blockchain is generally defined as a decentralized system in which transactional or historical records are captured, stored and maintained through a point-to-point network of personal computers called nodes.
In other words, it is an immutable public digital book that is very similar to a database.
Decision makers in the health system should seriously think about blockchain in the era of data insecurity. Since the health industry suffers from security breaches almost daily, it is obvious to incorporate a technology that promises to close any gap.
For this reason, the blockchain is a technology that is already receiving massive attention in medical care.
In fact, 40 percent of health executives in the United States see the blockchain within their top five priorities.
In addition, global blockchain health market spending is expected to reach 5.61 billion by 2025, according to a report by BIS Research.
The adoption of blockchain technology could save the healthcare industry up to 100- $ 150 billion per year by 2025 in costs related to data breach, information technology costs, operational costs, support function costs and personnel costs, and through a reduction of fraud and counterfeit products.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is daily news; from cars to smart assistants, and even homes. Artificial intelligence is already part of health.
This technology is reaching hospitals, care centers and medical offices around the world, and healthcare providers and patients are already reaping the benefits.
Thanks to these powerful tools, health centers are seeing optimized processes and reduced costs, and patients receive more personalized attention and attention on demand.
Artificial intelligence engines can reduce and mitigate the risk of preventable medical scenarios in three ways:
- Automatic reminders. Ideal to help patients take medications within a specific period of time.
- Identify people at high risk. Discover people who need medical intervention and activate medical staff alerts to create personalized care plans. IBM Watson currently tests this with opioid addiction problems.
- Offers personalized dosage recommendations based on each patient’s unique body chemistry and associated environmental factors.
The use of artificial intelligence within the health industry is expected to grow rapidly at an annual rate of 40% until 2021, to 6.6 billion dollars, of approximately 600 million in 2014.
New Technology to Innovate in Medical Sector
The incorporation of new technologies in the health sector is becoming highly relevant in developing countries. Therefore, the greatest challenge today is the accessibility and adoption of these technologies to improve the experience of both patients and medical staff.
Innovations in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, information technologies, device development, medical equipment, augmented reality applications, holograms, to name just a few, have made important contributions to improve health services in the world.
The transformation of the health sector has included everything from ‘small’ inventions, such as adhesive bandages and orthopedic devices, to more complex technologies or systems such as MRI (three-dimensional imaging technology) machines, artificial organs and robotic prostheses. Technology has profoundly impacted the medical field and this is only the beginning of the transformation process that will be experienced in the coming years.
The Costs in The Health Sector
Given the above, the question arises:
Could technology help lower costs in the health sector and thereby democratize access to better quality medical services?
The answer to this question is not so simple and requires a deeper reflection of all the actors involved.
For technology to become a true watershed, the challenge lies in having the necessary investment and resources so that these innovations are adopted and applied in the hospital and clinic system, both public and private, and that the universities that form the Medical personnel also have access to these technologies and cutting-edge devices.
The long-term objective should be to reduce the cost and create greater insight into these tools and technologies to provide a better experience for the patient and medical staff.
The world population is expected to increase from 6,500 million to 8,000 million by 2025, due in part to the increase in longevity. The inhabitants of 60 years and over who represented 10.3% of the global population in 2005, will constitute 15% of the total population by 2025.
Can the use of new technologies, such as augmented reality and hologram, improve medical care and diagnostic capacity?
These tools provide greater efficiency and better training of doctors and nurses. Augmented reality is just one example of technologies that can open an immense panorama of possibilities for improvement in the health sector.
Another example is the use of 3D Printing which is used in the manufacture of prostheses at a lower cost. This tool can print human tissue that is not only biocompatible, but resembles real tissue.
Some examples of what this technology can do:
- Dental pieces
- Tracheal splints
Contribution of Technology In Reducing Errors
It is important to mention that the implementation of new technologies in early stages of doctors’ development will contribute directly to:
- Hone your skills
- Improve your diagnostic ability
- It will increase your experience
Likewise, tools such as Oculus Rift (virtual reality helmets) will help the training and development of non-technical skills in health professionals.
Imagining the Future in Health Sector
Robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual, augmented, diminished and mixed realities are trends and will continue to be for years to come. However, two tools will be those that will play an important role in this regard:
- Wearable devices and IoT (Internet of Things), will allow greater integration with the human body and monitor vital signs.
- Big Data (Business Intelligence), will allow the analysis of a large amount of data, which will drive initiatives in favor of patient health.
We cannot fail to emphasize that in countries such as Mexico, the basic needs of the health sector must first be met. These include:
- Accessibility to health institutions
- Have the necessary instruments for any intervention
- Trained staff
This challenge remains latent and impacts mainly the most vulnerable layers of our society.
The biggest challenge is not only to promote innovation and development in the field of health, but also to guarantee the accessibility of quality medical services at all socioeconomic levels.
Although the adoption cycles of these new technologies are shortening, social awareness in this regard will be essential to fulfill the most important objective: to benefit the whole society.
Healthcare Business & Techology