Technologies in the Healthcare Industry: Advancements Fueled by the Pandemic

BINEESH MATHEW | December 9, 2020

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The pandemic-fueled technology adoption has enabled the healthcare industry to address the challenges, including cybersecurity, telehealth, invoicing and payment processing, patient experience, effective payment model, and big data. The responses to the unusual COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of new digital technologies in the industry. It has also fueled advancements in health technology. From the start of 2020, these advancements transformed the healthcare industry into a next-gen one by accelerating digitization of their internal and external operations by two to three years.

This surprising impact of technology in the healthcare industry has brought out unexpected competition between the key players in the B2B healthcare market. Whatever the field, adapting yourself to modern changes is the best strategy to thrive. Get yourself updated according to the changes or get yourself outdated is the new norm in the healthcare industry.

The following trends and advancements in technology in the healthcare industry due to the pandemic in 2020 show that healthcare providers are always searching for new ways to improve their productivity, performance, and efficiency. These were the need of the hour during the pandemic, for them to surge ahead of their competitors.

•  Telemedicine

•  Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare

•  The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

•  Supply chain management technology

•  Privacy issues

•  AR/VR/MR in Healthcare

•  Blockchain

•  Digital marketing trends in healthcare

 

This article looks into the major innovations, advancements, and trends brought out by the global pandemic in 2020 in the healthcare industry.

 

Pandemic-fueled Advancements

One of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare industry in the US today is its digital capacity to effectively engage consumers and make them stay healthy. This can include helping people to prevent getting infected by various diseases such as COVID-19 and effectively managing various other chronic conditions. This is where technology in the healthcare industry has a major role to play.

Due to the latest advancements in technology, the healthcare industry was already evolving but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this transformation dramatically. McKinsey reports that US$250 billion was spent on technology in the US healthcare industry to shift the industry into a virtual care model in the wake of the pandemic. Also, a study by FAIR Health, a non-profit group, says the increase in telehealth claims in the US is 4,000% in 2020.

Here’s a detailed look into the above-mentioned advancements, innovations or trends brought out by the pandemic in the industry.

 

Telemedicine

Had the world ever thought that it would be possible one day for doctors to remotely examine the health of patients via a smartphone or a computer? Telemedicine, a new trend in technology in the healthcare industry, addresses many challenges in the industry. Improved technology in the industry has made telemedicine easier, even for people, who are not computer savvy. Telehealth services are now provided through different telemedicine apps.

In the light of the pandemic, rather than in-person visits, 43.5% of primary medical visits were done using telehealth methods in April 2020 in the US. The major benefit of telemedicine is that it reduces contact between healthcare workers, patients, and other patients. This reduces the chances of the spread of infectious diseases.

Reports say that 71% of Americans considered telemedicine useful at the beginning of the pandemic. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years too. With the pandemic, telemedicine saw an immediate boom compared to previous years. This boom in telehealth is projected to break US$185.6 billion by 2026.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare

Artificial intelligence, a new trend and advancement in technology in the healthcare industry, had a critical role in fighting the pandemic. AI played a major role in areas such as pandemic detection, vaccine development, facial recognition with masks, thermal screening, and analyzing CT scans. AI is becoming the new operating technology in the healthcare industry.

 

Major AI healthcare applications

Healthcare providers will benefit a lot from AI-driven tools as AI technology in the healthcare industry has become a transformational force. Machine learning algorithms and software in AI will revolutionize the use of technology in the healthcare industry and the science of healthcare in the coming years too. AI will unify machines and humans through the brain. Some of the AI technologies in the healthcare industry, which are very relevant, are machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), rule-based expert systems, physical robots, diagnostic and treatment, patient engagement and adherence, and administrative applications.

 

Benefits of AI in healthcare and statistics

AI addresses many challenges that present technology in the healthcare industry cannot tackle. Better data-driven decisions, increased disease diagnosis efficiency, reduced treatment time, easy integration of information, reduced costs, increased patient satisfaction, fewer errors, and easier payment options are some of the benefits AI-assisted technology in the healthcare industry can provide.

According to an analysis by Accenture, by 2026, clinical AI health applications are expected to create approximately US$150 billion for the US healthcare economy as annual savings. Also, the US AI health market is expected to reach around US$6.6 billion by 2021.

 

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Nowadays, medical interactions involve some sort of equipment or device; it can be a glucose monitor, blood pressure monitor, or even an MRI scanner. It may not be a surprise now that, according to a 2020 Deloitte report, the available number of medical technologies are around 50,000. The internet-connected devices, which are known as IoMT tools, are transforming the healthcare and technology in the healthcare industry.

 

What Is IoMT?

The connected infrastructure of software applications, medical devices, and health systems and services are the IoMT. This has emerged by combining IoT development with telehealth technologies and telemedicine.

 

Potential of IoMT in healthcare and statistics

Lower costs for care, fewer mistakes, and more accurate diagnosis are the potential capabilities of IoMT. IoMT paired with various smartphone applications allows patients to send information regarding their health to doctors and get treated for diseases. This type of technology-driven healthcare not only improves patient experiences but also reduces the cost. IoMT, the new trend in technology in the healthcare industry, also has a positive effect on drug management.

According to Goldman Sachs, IoMT will save US$300 billion annually in the healthcare industry. AllTheResearch expects that the global IoMT market value will reach US$254.2 billion from US$44.5 billion in 2018.

 

Supply chain management technology in the healthcare industry

Utilizing advanced supply chain management technology in the healthcare industry enables healthcare providers to reach the right patients with the right product at the right time. Digitalized supply chain management also makes healthcare organizations improve provider-patient connectedness, data flow and analytics, regulatory compliance, and asset tracking.

A range of challenges faced by healthcare providers prompts you to digitalize supply chain networks, using the latest technologies in the healthcare industry. Advanced supply chain management technology will help you optimize costs, reduce unnecessary variation due to error and variability, enhance patient care, engagement, and delivery, and address new value-creation priorities.

According to reports from market researchers, global healthcare supply chain management technology is expected to reach US$3.3 billion in 2025 from US$2.2 billion in 2020.

 

Privacy issues

Privacy is a serious concern in technology in the healthcare industry, especially because of HIPAA compliance in 2020. Although data and information of patients can be efficiently stored and retrieved through cloud computing, complying with the strict electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) is difficult.

While electronic health records and sensor networks, and advancements in other technologies in the healthcare industry will surely improve the quality of healthcare by reducing medical errors and costs, associated security and privacy are challenges to be addressed. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association estimated that stolen or lost PHI may cost the US healthcare industry approximately US$7 billion annually.

To solve these issues, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have to stop using outdated technology and adopt state-of-the-art technologies without violating HIPAA. Encryption technology in the healthcare industry is the best option and healthcare providers should start using it to ensure the privacy of patients.

 

AR, VR, and MR in Healthcare

Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are important technologies in the healthcare industry to enhance and ensure the quality of telemedicine, especially during the period of the pandemic. The pandemic has made these technologies more popular and the trend is expected to continue in the future too. Both of these technologies in the healthcare industry are used to enhance patient and provider visits and even to educate medical students.

AR and VR also have the potential to help stroke victims overcome deficiencies, assist in robotic surgeries, educate patients before surgeries, facilitate easy surgical planning, help patients with PTSD, and reduce anxiety in children during a painful procedure or blood tests. Mixed reality (MR) is the mixed use of both VR and MR in a patient’s healthcare process and is also gaining popularity.

 

Blockchain

Blockchain is a trend which is expected to revolutionize technology in the healthcare industry. Using blockchain or digital ledgers will enable you to securely distribute transaction records to patients with improved data security. Along with other trends such as cloud computing and IoMT, blockchain also offers portability, accessibility, and high security. One of the greatest benefits of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is interoperability.

As blockchain provides full visibility through a digital ledger, it improves integrity and transparency. Blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is beneficial to handle clinical study information, patient wearable data, and patient records.

 

Scope of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry

Various statistics on blockchain technology in the healthcare industry expect a wide scope for this technology. The global blockchain technology market in the healthcare industry is projected to cross US500 million by 2022.

 

Digital marketing trends in healthcare

Digital marketing technology in the healthcare industry has been revolutionized as new trends were set by the pandemic in 2020. As the world shrunk to online mode during the pandemic period, the following healthcare digital marketing trends emerged.

 

Content marketing

The smartest way to attract new patients to your service is content marketing and educational content. 2020 is the time where the content truly emerged as king. Educational content is vital in the healthcare space because everyone always tries to learn new things. It can be a trick or tips about the latest technological advancements, general industry news, or new diagnostic options.

 

Mobile responsive websites

Another important digital marketing technology in the healthcare industry is making an attractive website, which also must be mobile responsive. In this modern world of technology, everyone wants to access every facility at their fingertips. So, if your website is not mobile responsive, you won’t get traffic to your website easily.

Along with these two trending digital marketing technologies in the healthcare industry, some of the other trends are:

•  Video marketing

•  Multichannel initiatives and customer touchpoints

•  Online reputation

•  Powerful presence on social media channels

•  Location-based SEO

 

The essential trends and advancements in technology in the healthcare industry depicting the future of healthcare are machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science along with a focus on effective healthcare digital marketing technology and strategy. The pandemic fueled B2B healthcare technology will make the industry evolve every year and go on resolving new challenges that arise.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is technology important to the healthcare industry?

Integrating technology with healthcare industry will improve quality of life. Also, the use of digital technology in the healthcare industry will increase efficiency, quality, and patient experience.

 

What is new technology in healthcare?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many trending technologies are used in healthcare. The new technologies in the healthcare industries are AI, blockchain, chatbots, voice search, and virtual reality.

 

What are the negative impacts of medical technology?

Medical technology can have some negative impacts on patients such as impersonal or minimized care, negative health effects, increased patient costs, inappropriate use, and invasion of privacy.

 

 

Spotlight

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center offers a comprehensive range of acute medical services in a 137-bed facility located on Ninth Street in Jasper. As a regional health center with approximately 100 active staff physicians and 1,700 employees, Memorial Hospital serves Dubois and surrounding counties in southern Indiana. Under the sponsorship of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, the hospital annually provides care for 6,600 inpatients and 254,000 outpatients.

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