Digital trends in healthcare
The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the healthcare industry. According to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report, 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years.
Digitization of healthcare has been talked about for many years. Its goal is to achieve an effective way to improve the quality of treatment and patient care. It can be done in various ways. The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the healthcare industry. According to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report, 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. Bernard Marr – an internationally best-selling author, futurist, and a strategic business and technology advisor to governments and companies, in an article recently published in Forbs, predicts the five biggest trends that will impact the healthcare industry over the next 12 months:
Remote healthcare and telemedicine
During the first months of the pandemic, the percentage of healthcare consultations that were carried out remotely shot up from 0.1% to 43.5%. Analysts at Deloitte say that most of us are happy with this and will continue to use virtual visits.The reasons for this increase are obvious – but even when we take communicable diseases out of the equation, there are plenty of good reasons to develop capabilities to examine, diagnose and treat patients remotely.
Extended reality for clinical training and treatment
Extended reality (XR) is a catch-all term covering virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). All of these involve lenses or headsets that alter our perception of the world – either placing us in entirely virtual environments (VR) or overlaying virtual elements on real-time images of the world around us (AR/MR). They all have potentially transformative applications in the healthcare sector.
Making sense of medical data with AI and machine learning
The high-level use case for AI in healthcare, as in other sectors, is in helping to make sense of the huge amount of messy, unstructured data that is available for capture and analysis. In the medical field, current trends around the use of AI often involve the augmentation and upskilling of human workers.
Digital Twins and Simulations
Digital twins are quickly becoming popular in many industries, in a trend that involves creating models informed by real-world data that can be used to simulate any system or process. In healthcare, this trend encompasses the idea of the “virtual patient” – digital simulations of people that are used to test drugs and treatments, with the aim of reducing the time it takes to get new medicines from the design stage into general use. Current research suggests this is still some way from being a realistic possibility, but during 2022 we will continue to see progress towards this goal.
Personalized medicine and genomics
Traditionally, medicines and treatments have been created on a “one-size-fits-all” basis, with trials designed to optimize drugs for efficacy with the highest number of patients and the lowest number of adverse side effects. Modern technology, including genomics, AI, and digital twins, allows a far more personalized approach to be taken, resulting in treatments that can be tailored right down to the individual level.