The World Health Organization (WHO) defines MedTech as the “application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.”
Innovations in healthcare are moving at a fast pace in spite of challenges like the intricacies of the human body, constantly decreasing the amount of funding, and the ever-increasing regulations. In the last few years, the advent of various novel and exciting technologies have changed the landscape of healthcare sector. Some of the promising developments include:
2017 has been an interesting year for MedTech. On one hand, the global market value of medical device companies rose to a whopping $389 billion. While, on the other hand, WannaCry attack renewed fears of cyber attacks.
2018 is expected to be a landmark year, with advances in these 3 areas being the game-changers.
According to Dhawal Thakur, the healthcare research lead at MarketsandMarkets, “In 2018, several more vendors will be putting forth blockchain-based EHR solutions as one of the major areas of innovation or technological transition.”
Deloitte defines blockchain as “a shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger.” Essentially, in the blockchain, there is no central controlling authority. Individual computers are used as nodal points to store data and create a network.
It can be used for a vast number of purposes such as patient-driven healthcare systems, clinical trials, interoperability, and claims adjudication. Using blockchain technologies in the EHR setup can help in overcoming the existing issues in data exchange related to documentation and transferring of patient data. Blockchain technologies can help in providing real-time reporting and advance population health initiatives.
EHR companies like Cerner Corp. have already made huge investments towards population health management. According to Zane Burke, the Company president, “If you want your health record, you should be able to have it, much like a bank account and an ATM. You have to think about that consumer-directed patient health record in the same way.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) has a huge potential in healthcare. Waqaas Al-Siddiq, the CEO of Biotricity says. “Today, the healthcare industry remains cautious about letting AI make suggestions. In the coming year, healthcare providers and medical technology companies will experiment more boldly with AI, namely, AI’s ability to make suggestions and tailor feedback based on learning. The capability of AI to improve over time as it amasses more data and learns and refines its algorithms is well suited for medical device technology which is why we can expect to see healthcare organizations entering into partnerships to experiment with AI and more clinical studies being done on the efficacy of it.”
In 2018, AI is anticipated to make a real impact on patient care and even diagnosis. Currently, AI is typically used only in its most basic form to identify certain data sets or to automate administrative tasks. However, this is expected to change in 2018.
AI is presumed to make an impact in the fields of clinical decision support, population health, disease management, cancer diagnostics, and image recognition. With IBM Watson making huge strides in the field of AI, application of AI in clinical diagnosis is something to look out for!
Mark Michalski, the executive director at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Center for Clinical Data Science says, “By the end of next year, I think around half of leading healthcare systems will have adopted some form of AI within their diagnostic groups.
Brendan O’Connor of Service Now says, “In 2018, there will be breaches that impact our physical, personal lives, whether it’s a medical device or wearable that is hacked or an industrial IoT device (ie self-driving car) that is compromised.”
2017 was characterized by an inordinate number of cybersecurity meltdowns such as Shadow Brokers, WannaCry, Petya, WikiLeaks CIA Vault 7, Cloudbleed, and Macron Campaign attack. This has brought security issues in all sectors, especially in healthcare to the spotlight. Cyberattack of such a scale in the healthcare sector would have devastating consequences. Hence, in 2018, more efforts would be made to increase the cybersecurity, introduce new regulations, and identify potential vulnerabilities.
In addition to these three areas, MedTech is expected to make huge advances in other areas such as Wearable Technologies, 3D Printing, etc. MedTech has a bright future, as its full potential and growth trajectory have not been charted out yet! It is only now that businesses and consumers are fully understanding the tremendous potential of this association between medicine and technology. Overall, 2018 will be an exciting year for MedTech!
What are the other important trends that you look forward to in MedTech? Let us know in the comments below!
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