Healthcare Technology Trends for 2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One of the most essential components of healthcare technology is Information Technology  IT directs health information across computerized systems to be exchanged by consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors. However, as we have witnessed during 2020, technology as we know it is changing. The world as we know it is changing or has been changed. How we go about our daily lives and how we view our health and healthcare, will never be the same.  In this blog we will focus on healthcare technology trends for 2021 that we think will be impactful.

Coronavirus has shaken up society, but is the pandemic’s impact only temporary? A healthcare industrial revolution has been happening since 2011.

The Meaning of Industry 4.0

Throughout history, industrial revolutions have gone on to enhance work and human labor to some monumental degree. Under Industry 1.0, or the First Industrial Revolution, mechanization was the focus, which replaced animal and human labor with machines and tools. Under Industry 2.0, shipping was made easier via railways and telegraph lines. On top of that, assembly lines increased efficiency and productivity, further assisting the worker’s load Industry 1.0 began reducing. In other words, mass production was the main focus of the Second Industrial Revolution.

As a result of Industry 3.0, workers across every field began receiving autonomous assistance for the first time in history – via robots and PLCs. On top of that, electronics and IT began integrating themselves into manufacturing procedures. Around this time, healthcare IT was invented. Since its systems have assisted many on all sides of the healthcare system worldwide.

Today, data intelligence has been pinpointed as the primary driver for the future of our industry’s growth. By using real-time data and sensors, experts will be able to optimize manufacturing, increasing work efficiency, productivity, and quality for both employees and employers across all sectors.

In real-time, this can be exemplified with plants, warehouses, machines, and more who are using big data and machine learning to automate their systems. Smart machines that collect and investigate data are also great examples of outcomes presented by Industry 4.0.

Previously, industrial revolutions worked to invent artificial intelligence systems for robots and PLCs to operate under. Now, industrial revolutionists are working to integrate newly-optimized cyber-physical systems throughout the entire supply chain. As a result, many industries may see a fleet of new gadgets and resources available to their teams.

The Future of Health IT Following Industry 4.0

In the upcoming years, Healthcare Technology professionals will have access to increasingly autonomous ecosystems that will act as a catalyst for the future of their industry.

My fellow industry investigators have reason to believe artificial intelligence will completely redesign the healthcare industry. At current, artificial intelligence systems and algorithms can dictate medical records, design treatment plans, and even create drug formulas much faster than physical healthcare professionals can do.

A great example of this can be seen in Atomwise, which uses supercomputers to operate a database of molecular structures. In 2015, the system’s database helped store existing medications that could be used to treat the Ebola virus. Two of the drugs that were found to dramatically reduce Ebola infectivity were stored in the Atomwise database.

In more complex scenarios, healthcare IT professionals will be able to use virtual and augmented reality to help sort through their organizational efforts. More recently than ever, augmented reality has been named a primary fueler in the future of medicine. As a result, platforms such as XRHealth and Brainlab have been able to help both receivers and patients have access to their healthcare charts, data, and even develop therapeutic plans.

Furthermore, a 2018 report published on NCBI has found robotics to be a creative approach in healthcare information and communication technology (ICT). The most advanced concepts can be seen in the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable Internet gadgets, robot services, and decision-making gamification efforts.

Another resource Industry 4.0 may provide healthcare IT professionals are automated vehicles. There’s no doubt that self-driving vehicles have many benefits; however, their applicability to healthcare IT is quite the gray area.

Photo by Suzy Brooks on Unsplash

How Will Autonomous Driving Coincide With Health IT?

For the most part, self-driving cars will be to the benefit of patients directly communicating with health needs – not information technology services. For example, self-driving cars can pad patients with faster emergency responses. They can also increase vehicle and occupant safety, as well as provide mobility for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Patients will be able to complete their online forms in the car prior to arriving for their appointments allowing improved patient experience and access.

However, autonomous vehicles will directly coincide with the information technology sector of healthcare when it comes to passive health monitoring. Automated vehicles have the potential to improve human health by measuring our health parameters while in route through passive health monitoring systems, which will be processed by healthcare IT professionals.

Data is the most important facet of the upcoming industrial revolution and the most important facet of information technology. The market for big data and industrial IoT will grow to nearly $1.2 trillion by 2025.

How Will Autonomous Reality Coincide With Health IT?

According to the Medical Futurist, augmented reality will become a driving force in the future of medicine. In the years to come, medical professionals and students will be able to utilize augmented reality (AR) to better prepare for, and assist in, life operations and for surgeons to enhance their capabilities.

Platforms such as the Microsoft HoloLens and HoloAnatomy app have been able to help students at Case Western Reserve University study human anatomy without the presence of real bodies.

Not only will this be beneficial now, but if there is ever a scenario such as a coronavirus again. Knowledge is power, and AR technologies can play a significant role in keeping our brains going.

Here are a few more AR inventions that can push the future of Health IT.

  • Dentistry
    • Dentistry is an AR software that is built into smart glasses to provide real-time data to be transferred from dental scanners. As a result, dentists can build more precise crowns and caps.
  • Training nurses
    • Training nurses are AR-enabled, tabled-based simulations of various scenarios to provide nurses with enough data to better assist their patients. This can also help nurses combat social, technical, and team-oriented challenges.
  • Medical imaging
    • AR has even helped CT or MRI data by superimposing stereoscopic projections during a surgical procedure. With the help of Health IT, this information can help surgeons complete serious surgeries with greater accuracy.

The future of healthcare will rely on a system that smoothly intertwines patient data, real-time health, insurance, and fiscal visibility. This process begins with Health IT. Does your IT department use any of the tactics in the aforementioned?

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