The healthcare industry is one sector that can never grow stagnant. It’s constantly being inundated with new technologies that invite the accelerated digitization and evolution of healthcare into the present moment. Innovation is a necessary attribute of life-saving care, which is why the healthcare sector, above all others, relies on the emergence of new technologies.
Many believe we are currently staring the next healthcare revolution right in its face. Technology has always led the industry forward, but other factors also influence its rapid disruption — none more notable than the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector must always promptly respond to uncertainties, but the pandemic forced healthcare leaders to reevaluate and reform their facilities faster than ever before. All without sacrificing their care and operations.
While this proved to be a huge adjustment at first, the acceleration of digital adoption that stemmed from these changes has ushered in a new revolution where data-driven decisions, more efficient processes, and an emphasis on value-based care are at the forefront of the industry. Below are some of the brightest technological advancements currently shaping the healthcare landscape.
Virtual services aren’t an entirely new facet of healthcare, but the industry never leaned heavily on telehealth until recently. Now, executives, healthcare staff, and patients realize how integral telehealth is to the digital revolution of healthcare. It’s become a non-negotiable part of care because of its far-reaching benefits across the sector.
Telehealth is a way for executives to gain an advantage over their competition while expanding their market outreach. Physicians and nurses can utilize telehealth to create a more flexible and convenient working environment that better suits their needs. And perhaps most prominently, patients hold telehealth in high regard because it makes healthcare more accessible while reducing the anxiety and stress that traditionally stemmed from long wait times and more sporadic communication.
The telehealth market grew from $41.63 billion in 2019 to $79.79 billion in 2020. Those numbers will only continue to climb, with the market expected to reach $396.76 billion by 2027. While telehealth stepped in for in-person doctor visits during the pandemic, it wasn’t intended to keep this pace moving forward, especially for emergency care needs. Instead, patients view it as a complement to in-person care. The accessibility, freedom, and convenience afforded by telehealth are what cement it as a cutting-edge technology that’s here to stay.
I can’t talk about technologies that help make the industry more convenient without also talking about another disruptive technology revolutionizing healthcare: artificial intelligence. AI has become the solution to healthcare’s ever-growing list of needs.
Administrative tasks are a time-consuming and burdensome addition to the workload of healthcare workers. AI’s solution: by streamlining processes and enhancing workflow productivity, workers have more time to spend with patients and focus on the more complex attributes of their care. Patients are demanding more cost-effective treatment options. AI’s solution: by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data and automating processes, it significantly brings down costs, which makes services more affordable for patients. Patients also want to see more personalization in healthcare. AI’s solution: by leveraging sophisticated data to inform decision-making and treatment options, healthcare becomes more personalized and produces better patient outcomes.
As artificial intelligence evolves, it will aid in the development of even more intricate applications to promote an even stronger healthcare ecosystem.
When you hear blockchain, you probably immediately think about its application in the finance industry. But blockchain is becoming more prevalent in the healthcare sector as well. Its main purpose is to protect sensitive patient data.
Every industry is vulnerable to cyberattacks, but the healthcare sector has a huge target on it because of the nature of its data. Last year, the industry averaged around 60 breaches every month — and those were just the reported attacks. Blockchain will become a staple in healthcare in the coming years because of its impact on data security, patient identification, and supply chain management capabilities.
As technology becomes more advanced, you will hear talk about how robots will inevitably take over most industries. Most of this talk is fueled by fear and uncertainty when in reality it’s an exciting innovation! Robots aren’t coming to replace humans, but you’ll see more of this technology in the healthcare industry.
Employing robots in healthcare helps to increase productivity among healthcare workers and reduce medical errors in treatment. These robots will eventually be able to help healthcare workers carry out bedside tasks and handle the more monotonous aspects of the job. Over time, these robots will also become a crucial part of medical procedures. This may be a chilling thought since many of us aren’t used to these interventions, but it seems a significant number of patients are very open to this. One study found that 73 percent of people would be willing to have minor surgery done by a robot, and 45 percent would consider opting to undergo surgery by a robot for major surgery.
These technological advancements are some of the innovations that are helping to create a more accessible, efficient, affordable, and patient-centric healthcare ecosystem. And it’s exciting being able to watch the digital evolution of the industry happen right in front of us.
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