The medical industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last century. New medicines, surgical techniques, cancer cures, and even organ transplants have been successfully implemented and continue to make our lives longer and healthier.
Today, the healthcare industry is one of the fast-growing high-tech industries in the world, largely due to the rate of innovation. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how vital it is for organisations to invest in new tools and innovative diagnostics and treatments to improve health for all.
With innovations like personalised medicine and devices like smart pills, this industry is changing faster than ever before. The next decade will show even more changes as new technology continues to shape what healthcare looks like.
Let’s look at the fastest growing technology trends in the medical industry and the impact they will have in the future.
Telemedicine is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of technology used in the healthcare sector. It allows medical professionals and clinicians the ease and ability to provide healthcare to patients without having to be in the same room or clinical setting.
Telemedicine is encompassed by a wide variety of different technologies – from remote monitoring to wearable devices, mobile apps, and online databases. Medical professionals can diagnose and treat less urgent medical cases, removing the demand on emergency services dealing with non-urgent care. Healthcare workers can also offer better follow-up care and handle more patients, with an enhanced patient experience.
The burden on clinicians and organisations is reduced. It’s especially important in remote or regional areas that don’t have enough specialist healthcare services. This allows for a quicker diagnosis and a wider range of treatment options.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
While not a new tool, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is continuing to grow as more technology innovations emerge. IoMT combines medical devices, applications, and healthcare IT systems to form an interconnected network that has enormous potential for diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Patients are increasingly relying on IoT devices to monitor their health, such as smart apps connected to wearable devices to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, temperature changes, and so on.
In the near future, it’s expected IoT will be able to monitor a patient’s vitals and allow for early detection of numerous conditions and deliver treatment. The real time data collected from these connected devices can be analysed at a staggering rate. This technology will continue to revolutionise the way chronic diseases are addressed in the future as it will give medical professionals access to patient data they may not have otherwise had.
With new technologies on the way, the healthcare industry will have even more information-based tools to work with.
Cybersecurity and data protection in the health sector are one of the biggest concerns of the future. With the increased adoption of cloud computing, it’s even more imperative the protection of patient medical records, research data, and emerging scientific technologies are protected.
Cybersecurity technologies are the heart of any organisation and keeping attackers from exploiting any vulnerabilities is key to preventing data breaches and shutting down parts of the healthcare sector. Cybersecurity automation is a big part of the future of data protection, to deal with the rise of cyberattacks. Healthcare-related information breaches are no longer isolated incidents, with hackers changing their approach during the pandemic and taking down IT systems in hospitals. In the first half of 2021, most data breaches reported in Australia were in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare data breaches cause major disruptions in the facilities connected to the breach, such as having IT systems taken offline, as well as sensitive data and patient information being accessed. Cybersecurity also enables medical scientists to collaborate across the globe on new and important research, securely sharing sensitive data without disruptions or concerns about hacking.
Interoperability in healthcare is the ability of two or more digital health systems to work together. It means that different parts of the systems can easily share data with each other, which can range from hospital data to patient records held at clinics.
Healthcare data being so readily available can have huge benefits for all sorts of healthcare professionals. Communication between professionals is made much easier, meaning patients are quicker to be diagnosed, and there’s better teamwork when it comes to their care.
Quick access to patient health records in the emergency room means clinicians are able to diagnose and recommend treatment that can be lifesaving if done much faster. Past health issues, medication details, and therapies, and so on are all available in seconds.
The goal of healthcare interoperability is to improve health outcomes for both individuals and populations, reduce healthcare costs, and help avoid clinician burnout. The way healthcare systems exchange information needs to take into consideration the security of data, which can be a challenge, but medtech developers are continuously working towards improving the safety and accessibility of health records.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has many applications in the medical industry, from saving time and money with day-to-day management in hospitals, to diagnosing and treating complex medical issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of how AI-driven analytics can help population health. Analytics teams have been able to work around the clock, at a fraction of the cost, to find and track outbreaks of the coronavirus. This data is crucial for understanding and countering future outbreaks of the virus and revolutionising pandemic responses in the future.
It is predicted the use of this technology will be vital in predicting and preparing for future health crises and reducing the impact on populations and health care systems. For example, AI-powered algorithms can monitor data streams to identify disease patterns before they develop into epidemics.
AI can be used in a number of ways in the healthcare industry. It is being used to help speed up the process of treatment and come up with new treatments quickly. Traditionally, data modelling to produce medical research was an intensive process that took months – now it’s done in just minutes.
AI can also give doctors instantaneous feedback on their diagnostic accuracy or suggest treatments based on risk factors. The increased accuracy of algorithms taught with thousands of hours of training data is transforming the way doctors diagnose, treat, and follow up on their patients.
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are exciting new technology trends in the healthcare industry. For example, virtual reality has been utilised for quickly educating new staff on infection control as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
VR technology is being used in patient education, taking them through planned surgeries to allow them to understand what will happen and is expected, enhancing their treatment and recovery.
VR is also used in therapy for mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Along with that, VR can be used with dementia patients to find memories faster, which in turn improves their quality of life emotionally.
Virtual reality therapy is a new and exciting frontier for stroke patients, as it allows for their physiotherapy to be tailored to their needs. VR therapy has shown to be just as good as real-world physiotherapy in some cases, and can make recovery much more effective and get patients back on their feet quicker.
Augmented reality is also being used in the medical field. AR can help educate patients about planned surgeries or health treatments, by showing digital information over real world situations so they can see what’s happening more clearly.
For surgeons, AR allows them to plan complex surgeries more effectively and offer greater precision during operations.
Video data from AR headsets during surgery can allow machine learning to provide suggestions for surgeons during a procedure, such as how well they’re doing, coordinate surgery teams, and make sure surgical information is easy to find.
Nanotechnology has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1970s. This field has enabled researchers to develop new materials, tools and techniques that have led to many exciting discoveries in medicine, including diagnostic tools and treatments.
Researchers are always looking to innovate and find new ways to use nanomedicine. One such example is using nanoparticles to target needed medication, and heat or light to target specific types of cells, such as cancer cells.
This technique would reduce the damage to healthy cells and potentially mean patients would have less side effects than traditional forms of therapy such as intravenous chemotherapy. Other ways nanotechnology could be used include drug and gene therapies, tissue regeneration, and early detection of disease.
The future technology trends in the medical industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased support from corporates, governments and populations to invest more in healthcare systems around the world. This demand for investment can only increase the rate in which technology trends in the medical industry become realities.
Technology has become so prevalent in today’s modern world. Stay ahead of the technology trends by partnering with the IT experts at Bespoke Technology.