The healthcare industry has witnessed a constant evolution in recent times. It’s also believed to be on the cusp of a massive transformation. Healthcare is the favorite subject for experts to voice their predictions and technologists showcasing their futuristic ideas of medical care, instruments, healthcare trends, etc.
In the past year alone, healthcare industry made headways in implementing technologies like data analytics towards patient empowerment. It’s safe to say that a pivotal moment is just an arm’s length away.
Let’s see what the experts got to say about the imminent future of the healthcare industry and its impact.
Addressing the immediate requirement or continuous medical care has always been an issue for hospitals. While the last few years have seen a comprehensive increase in the handling capacity of hospitals, the prospect of a new model of healthcare, referred to as smart hospitals, is still considered ambiguous.
When questioned, Drs. Barend Heeren, The Program Manager at Radboud University Medical Center, said:
“IoT will provide more contextual information from, and more interaction options with, patients. Based on the information, a hospital can decide if a patient needs to visit a healthcare professional or not. As opposed to the standard four times a year visit control cycle, this will save patients time from unnecessary traveling and take hours off at work. It will also enable the hospital to call in the patients based on need instead of time.”
The Dutch care system is already one of the firsts to implement IoT. A Dutch Hospital reportedly began utilizing cloud-based measurement devices and apps to track treatment for Cardiac Patients.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will drive healthcare trends”
The times of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence has already ushered in. They are the backbone of IoT that will drive Smart Hospitals. The need for a control center was a far cry for hospitals trying to manage a massive influx of patients. Now, with data analytics and AI, a NASA-style Command center is already on the cards.
Case in point– Humber River Hospital (HRH) in Toronto, Ontario is one of the first hospitals in Canada to implement a digital Command Center in collaboration with GE Healthcare Partners.
And it looks like the new command centers are here to stay, as industry experts, including those surveyed in a recent report from Deloitte, predicts. They expect a wider adoption of these NASA-style command centers as we head towards more digital hospitals of the future.
It is argued that ever since computers were involved in genomic sequencing, the role of big data and supercomputing had multiplied. This development has since aided in the research and targeted approaches of oncology the most. But they were never involved as much in personalized medicine as they have of late.
“With new immunotherapy drugs to treat cancer poised for FDA approval, that represents a sea change in cancer treatment”, said Dr. Robert Vonderheide, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. His statement was about recent landmark approvals of several CAR-T gene therapies by the FDA. It uses genetically engineered immune cells to help treat lymphoma by freezing a patient’s cells for transport. Now it is possible to get “living medicines” to patients undergoing medical care for such treatment around the world.
Such milestone decisions have made futurists predict more practical applications and reliable results from cell therapy, biopharma, and genomics. All these will make personalized medicine more of a healthcare trend.
But perhaps the most exciting piece of conversation is about how the patients are inspiring new solutions to even complex healthcare technology. Colin Lowenberg, Solutions Architecture at Cisco Meraki says
“We have customers building their solutions and buying beacons to use for asset tracking. It does help patients because hospitals are giving better service to patients by tracking wait times and measuring their journey”.
“IoT? More of Iol- Internet of Life”
The actual interaction of patients with professionals is only about 1%, which has demanded a shift in the roles and responsibilities leading to a change from control to collaboration. Even though IoT is already helping improve the patient’s experience, an increase in engagement levels will benefit IoT.
“We have to think outside of the box here and look beyond IoT and consider it IoL–the Internet of Life! I would even argue that patients might need to help hospitals and healthcare in the coming years.” feels John Nosta, Keynote speaker, Google Health Advisory Board member, founder of NostaLab.
Wearable technology is probably the brightest foreseeable future for the healthcare industry. They collect useful data and analytics throughout the day to offer insights into the person’s health and behavior. But as with any technology, this is just a beginning to their capabilities. As Rusty Lewis, CSO & CGO of THINaer puts it, “Beacons will be part of solutions that help hospitals improve operational efficiencies, give caregivers more face time with patients, and prevent staff from spending unnecessary time looking for “missing” equipment.”
“Beacons will also be used in even bigger solutions: helping prevent patient falls by notifying caregivers to unexpected motion or help improve patient flow by making sure the right procedure rooms, equipment, staff, and patients are all together and ready to go at the same time” he adds.
With these healthcare trends slowly becoming a reality, the next few years may be the nexus point. They may very well prove the experts right and become an integral part of the healthcare industry. And they seem to be on the right track as well.
Which of these ideas are you most looking forward to? Why? Share it in the comments below and get a discussion going!