“We believe consumer health technologies — apps, wearables, self-diagnosis tools — have the potential to strengthen the patient-physician connection and improve health outcomes.”
– Dr. Glen Stream, Chairman, Family Medicine for America’s Health
The pandemic Forced many sectors and industries to adopt change in the way they function and provide. Healthcare has, without a doubt, altered the most. The healthcare business has changed in various ways to keep giving the same great level of service thanks to substantial developments in technology and processes required to meet the increased demand for healthcare access and increasing digitalization of protected data. In fact, the digital health industry was estimated at 96.5 billion dollars in 2020, and it is predicted to increase at a CAGR of 15.1% from 2021 to 2028. (Grandviewresearch.com)
Many hospitals are now having an internal IT team or reaching out to IT service providers to improve the internal systems, protect their data, enhance data analysis, and more. Tools like virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), wearables, and more are improving the healthcare sector in a variety of ways.
Now here’s a list of some technology trends that will impact healthcare in the future:
Telemedicine and virtual visits:
Picture yourself in a situation where the nearest hospital is hundreds of miles away and you require medical assistance as soon as possible. This technology could be the salvation in this situation. Doctors can examine you remotely from miles away using wearables packed with stress, heart rate, and blood oxygen detectors and provide you with the medical assistance you require. During the pandemic, virtual hospital wards and emergency rooms were employed to enable professionals to monitor patients’ treatments and provide effective assistance.
Extended Reality (XR):
Maybe you came across a video online of Dr. Amir Behboudi using VR goggles with children to distract them during IV insertion. Many doctors have used this method to treat anxiety, schizophrenia, and even to teach social skills to autistic children.
Augmented reality and virtual reality can also be used to train doctors and allow them to operate on virtual humans. These tools can be used in a variety of ways in the future. For example, Accuvein is developing systems using AR and VR to detect veins using laser-based scanners. Also, HoloLens systems by Microsoft help surgeons identify what they see in surgery and share their view with students.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Medical Data:
AI helps many sectors process huge amounts of data and provide accurate outcomes. In healthcare, AI helped with the use of machine learning to detect protein fragments in the process of developing Covid’s vaccines. Also, with the AI-facial recognition, it made it easier to identify if people were wearing masks or not. In the future, AI can be used to process huge amounts of data, such as CT and MRI scans, X-rays, vaccine distribution, and many more. Chatbots can be used to schedule visits, respond to a patient’s frequent inquiries, and gather all the data for analysis. It can also be used to give predictions about how and when illness will occur and solutions to it, all based on data gathered by AI.
These came to life as digital twins, which is a virtual patient that helps professionals test treatments. This technology is still in its early stages. We have successfully created simulations of organs, but it is predicted that in the future we will create a simulation of the whole body. When this happens, doctors will easily experiment and test whatever they want on this without any risks.
It may feel like sci-fi or in Marvel movies, but nanotech is slowly coming to the surface. In 2021, scientists created very small organic robots (xenobots). These robots can replicate by themselves. I believe in the future we will create small robots that target damaged cells (cancer) by injecting these robots into blood vessels. The potential of this technology is huge. We can cure tumors, arthritis, and many more.
3D printing is not new, but 3D bioprinting is somehow new. Using biological materials such as biochemicals and biocells, scientists have successfully created fabrications of tissues and organs. This tech helped in tests and repaired damaged joints. But, it is predicted that this technology will help in organ implementation, creating replacement joint cartilage, and many more.
Digital health is rapidly growing, and we will see many new discoveries and high-tech solutions in the future. The unthinkable will become possible with these technologies. With the use of innovation and technology, the quality of healthcare will only improve.