From anesthetics and antibiotics to magnetic resonance imaging scanners and radiotherapy, technological advances have transformed healthcare. While technologies such as new pharmaceuticals and treatments, new equipment, new social media support for healthcare, and so on will drive innovation, human factors will remain one of the stable constraints to advancements in the healthcare industry. Despite significant improvements in healthcare, there are still many pressing problems. The process of creating novel patient treatments is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. However, as demonstrated by the quick creation of therapies during the COVID-19 epidemic, the scientific community can now work together to find solutions to pressing problems far more quickly than in the past. Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid clouds, high-performance computing, and quantum computers have ushered in a new era of decision-making that is smarter, quicker, and more efficient while still being anchored in science.
Significant Advancements in Healthcare Technology
There is no doubt that the pandemic has sped up the digitization of the healthcare sector. Over the next five years, 80% of healthcare services intend to increase their investment in technology and digital solutions, according to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report. With companies utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, extender reality (XR), and the internet of things (IoT), we will continue to see growth in industries like telemedicine, customized medicine, genomics, and wearables.
The following are the top three trends that will influence the healthcare sector over the upcoming years:
- Telemedicine and remote healthcare.
Health care practitioners may reliably track vital signs in real-time thanks to new generation wearable devices that are fitted with heart rate, stress, and blood oxygen detectors. The pandemic has even led to the creation of “virtual hospital wards,” where centralized communication infrastructure is utilized to monitor the care of many patients, all of whom are receiving treatment at home. The Internet of Things (IoT) and robots are key components of this trend, and machine learning-based smart technology will notify experts when sensors indicate that an intervention is required or when cameras identify an old person who has fallen in their home. Given that half of the world’s population lacks access to basic services, telemedicine has the potential to increase healthcare access.
- Simulations and digital twins
The practice of building models based on actual data that can be used to recreate any system or process is known as “digital twins,” and it is swiftly gaining popularity across a wide range of sectors. To shorten the time, it takes to transition new medicines from the design stage to widespread use, this movement in healthcare embraces the concept of the “virtual patient”—digital representations of actual individuals who are used to test medications and therapies. This may initially be limited to models or simulations of specific organs or systems. However, development of practical models that simulate complete bodies is progressing.
The possibility of digital twins of human organs and systems is getting closer, and they will allow medical professionals to study various illnesses and try out new treatments without endangering specific individuals and without the expense of costly human or animal experiments. Digital twin technology is seen as one of the most significant tech developments in healthcare for 2022 due to its ability to assist the healthcare industry in developing therapies more swiftly and affordably.
- AI and machine learning for medical data interpretation
Similar to other industries, healthcare has a high-level use case for AI in that it can help make sense of the vast amounts of messy, unstructured data that are accessible for collection and analysis. When it comes to healthcare, this can take the form of genomic data from living cells, handwritten doctor’s notes, information on the development of communicable diseases like COVID, data from vaccine distribution, and medical image data from X-rays, CT, and MRI scans, among many other sources.
Current advancements in the application of AI in the medical industry frequently entail the augmentation and upskilling of human professionals. Automating initial patient contact and triage to free up clinicians’ time for more beneficial work is another important use case. Preventative medicine is another area of healthcare that will be significantly impacted by AI in the upcoming years. Preventative medicine seeks to foresee where and when sickness will arise and implement remedies before it even occurs, as opposed to responding to illness by treating it after the fact. With the help of AI, systems can be developed that can identify patterns across enormous datasets much more quickly than traditional analytics techniques, resulting in more precise predictions and eventually better patient outcomes.
The Future of Healthcare
Health care will no longer exist as we know it by 2040. A profound change will occur from “health care” to “health.” Even while we will never be able to entirely eradicate disease, science, data, and technology will allow us to detect it sooner, take proactive measures, and comprehend its course, which will allow us to support customers more successfully and actively maintain their well-being. The future will be centered on wellness and run by businesses that take on new responsibilities to add value to the altered health ecosystem.
Ten archetypes are anticipated to develop and will replace and reinvent the traditional life sciences and health care jobs of today to fuel the future of health. These archetypes will be driven by increased data connectivity, interoperable and open, secure platforms, and rising consumer participation.
The 10 archetypes will be divided into three separate but related categories:
- The fundamental infrastructure that will serve as the framework for the future health ecosystem is data and platforms. They will produce the insights needed for making decisions. The tools and data that support consumer-driven health will serve as the foundation for everything else.
- Wellness and care delivery: These archetypes, which are made up of care facilities and health communities (both virtual and physical), will be the most health-focused of the three categories and will offer consumer-centric delivery of goods, care, wellness, and well-being.
- Care enablement: These archetypes will act as the regulators, financiers, and connectors that keep the sector’s “engine” running smoothly. For the future of health to become a reality, all three elements must be operational and integrated.