Article | March 13, 2020
The fast and efficient flow of information is vital for the healthcare sector to offer life-critical services and patient care. Seamless communication, real-time updates, and putting the crisis response plans into action with minimum activation time are some of the key factors for successful crisis management during a pandemic or other urgent healthcare situations. In pandemic situations, characterized by a large scale outbreak of diseases over a wider geographical area, the bi-directional sharing of critical information between various healthcare agencies and institutions located in different cities and states becomes even more important.
Article | March 13, 2020
For many years now, we’ve all been talking about a worldwide digital transformation in healthcare. One of the key motivations for healthcare’s digital transformation has been to enable the shift from labor-intensive, manual, in-person encounters in healthcare facilities and replace them with encounters that are instead digital, possibly automated, and which can take place wherever the patient happens to beAcross industries, we talk about revolutionizing the customer experience. In healthcare, this revolution has focused on experiences for each patient, every health plan member, every healthcare provider, and all healthcare employees. And when it comes to providing the best care for people who are already ill, we also know that hospitals and medical offices are dangerous places. After all, those who are sick can infect those that are healthy—and this includes our healthcare providers. The more we can provide appropriate assessments, diagnose, and treat patients in the comfort of their own homes—and keep their infections out of hospitals and other medical facilities—the better it is for everyone. It’s the old mantra of the right care, in the right setting, at the right time.
FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE
Article | March 13, 2020
Prioritizing health and managing it, has become highly important because our lifestyle is continuously evolving in ways that take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, the major issue for the patients lies in the inaccuracy of treatment due to the lack of complete health records in any hospital. With the recent changes in privacy legislation and data management, patients are even unable to retrieve their own health records.
For example, someone had an accident and was taken to the emergency room. The first thing they will need to do in their condition is to fill the hospital’s form. Then, for the treatment, if the injured person is conscious enough, doctors ask questions like if they are allergic to some medicines or do they suffer from diabetes or any other disease. Besides, what if the individual denies having allergies or diabetes in their half-conscious state? And the previous hospitals where they have already had treatment before have denied sharing the medical details of the person either due to privacy issues or data corruption. Well, it can create a lot of fuzz.
Solely, to improve the health industry without compromising the security of the individuals, blockchain has remained in the discussion. It has the potential to address the operability challenges present in the healthcare industry. But, what is blockchain, what are its underlying fundamentals, why blockchain, and what are its advantages?
Today’s blog will help in understanding every aspect of blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry. So let’s get started!
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a P2P or peer-to-peer distributed or decentralized ledger technology. It stores a chain of data called blocks of information. These blocks are chained together by cryptographic signatures. These signatures are called hash that is stored in the shared ledger and backed by a connected processes network - node. These nodes reserve a copy of the complete chain and get continually updated by synchronization. Though, to include blockchain in the process it’s necessary to hire a developer who has prior experience and knowledge about its architecture and can work with the components efficiently as blockchain is a designed pattern that consists of three major constituents - a distributed network, a shared ledger, and all the digital transactions.
a. Distributed Network
As discussed before, blockchain is built on peer-to-peer networks. While having no central point of storage, it makes the information on the network less vulnerable to being lost or exploited.
Unlike the traditional client-server model that has a centralized storage point or controlling party, all the information in the blockchain network is constantly recorded and transferred to the participants of the network that are also known as nodes or peers. These peers also own several identical copies of the information. That’s why blockchain is seen as a huge improvement to centralized models and is considered the future of data storage and ownership.
b. Shared Ledger
Each authorized participant in the network records the transactions into the shared ledger. If they want to add any transaction, it is important to run algorithms that evaluate and verify the transactions. If the majority of members agree to the transaction’s validity, a new transaction gets added to the shared ledger. The changes done in the shared ledger is reflected in minutes or even seconds in the copies of the blockchain. Once the transaction is added, there’s no way to modify or delete it. Also, as the copy is shared in the form of a ledger to each member, no single member can alter data.
c. Digital Transaction
Transactions are information i.e. data transmission to one block. During the process of data transmission, each node acts as a central point to generate and digitally sign the transaction. As the nodes connect each other in the network, each of them has to verify the transaction independently for its conflicts, validity, and compliance. Only after the transaction passes the verification, the information is added into the shared ledger. The major element that makes digital transactions successful is cryptographic hashing that encrypts the data for security.
Why Blockchain technology in healthcare?
It has happened so often that the patient remains unable to gather all of their previous medical records in one format from one place swiftly or sometimes cannot even collect the required information at all. Unfortunately, in most cases, the information of critical patients remains scattered across several different institutions of healthcare that too in different formats. Besides, the data management systems along with the security regulations also vary in different institutions making it difficult to trace and fix mistakes.
But, what can blockchain do?
A blockchain is a system used for storing and sharing information with security and transparency. Every block in the chain is an independent unit of its own and a dependent link among the collective chain that creates a network controlled by participants rather than a third party.
As blockchains are managed by network nodes instead of central authority, they are decentralized that prevents one entity from having complete control over the network. With the incorporation of blockchain, the need for a central administrator will be removed by cryptography. Healthcare providers will be able to promote data management processes beyond perception. It will help in collecting, analyzing, sharing, and securing medical records. It will provide the access to healthcare workers for retrieving health records with the cryptographic keys provided by patients from anywhere without creating any privacy or security problems.
Advantages of Healthcare Blockchain
Although applications of blockchain in the healthcare industry are inceptive, some early solutions have shown the possibility of reduced healthcare costs, improved access to information among different stakeholders, and streamlining the entire business process. So, keeping aside the buzz, let’s see the real advantages of blockchain in healthcare.
1. Master Patient Indexes
The master patient index helps in the identification of patients across separate administrative systems. It is often created within the EHR or electronic health record system. As these EHRs have different vendors, there are several irregularities of MPIs. In many cases, the data of a patient between these healthcare systems become mismatched. However, with the nature of decentralization in Blockchain, it possesses the ability to solve the issue. In the blockchain-based MPIs, the data will be hashed to the ledger and content will remain unique as only the authorized nodes of the data can make changes to the hashes while all parties with access can only check the related information.
2. Single, elongated patient records
Blockchain technology is potent to transform health care by placing patients at the center of the system while increasing the security and privacy of health records. It provides a new model for health information exchange by forming electronic elongated patient records secured and efficient. Additionally, the fact that the data is copied among all the nodes of the blockchain network creates an atmosphere of clarity and transparency that enables healthcare providers and patients to know how their data is handled by whom, how, and when. It can also help healthcare from potential frauds, data losses, or security attacks.
3. Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management in healthcare is a challenging aspect. With scattered settings for ordering drugs, medical supplies, and critical resources, there’s an inherent risk of compromising the supply chain that might impact patient safety. Indulgence of blockchain technology in the transactions can tap into the complete process of medicine or drug products movement. As all the transactions will be recorded onto the shared ledger with every block recording and maintaining every transaction, it will become easy to verify the vendor, distributor, and origin of the drug within a matter of seconds. It will also enable healthcare physicians and officials to check the authenticity of the supplier’s credentials.
4. Claims Justification
Currently, the insurance claim processes face difficulties like lack of transparency i.e. most customers don’t even know how insurance works; human errors and inefficiencies i.e. insurances are full of confusion along with human errors that create inefficiencies that lead to the increased cost to customers; higher frauds in claims. But, blockchain technology can simplify and enhance recordkeeping, payment processing, claims registration, contract management, and closure with its immutable ledger.
Interoperability is the capability of distinct healthcare information technology to interpret, exchange, and use data. Due to the privacy issues, the alphanumeric code to identify a patient has been revoked that caused problems in gathering the required record of the patient. Enforcing measurement standards for industry-wide interoperability is also a challenge in interoperability. With blockchain in healthcare interoperability, data can be shared in real-time on the trusted network and provides access to the patient’s record in a secured manner. Moreover, with the pri
Article | March 13, 2020
The recent COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has changed the way the healthcare industry has been processing. It has transformed the healthcare sector digitally. Healthcare providers have changed services with the latest healthcare technology trends in digital and virtual platforms. Every healthcare provider is updating services by adopting digital advancements in their practices to increase their capacity to engage the maximum number of patients. Still more advancements and updates are needed to address many challenges in the industry such as cybersecurity, effective payment model, telehealth, patient experience, invoicing and payment processing, and big data.
Last year, wearable devices in the healthcare industry were quite popular with the patients. These devices have helped patients be aware of various healthcare metrics. Due to the introduction of the 5G internet, the wearable devices market is expected to have huge scope in 2021. Healthcare technology trends, such as the use of a digital dashboard scheduler or chatbots as a digital assistant, help hospitals and other healthcare organizations to better track appointments, contacts, demography, and make changes more efficiently as these are practical measures for modifying and monitoring patient activities.
Telemedicine, using video conferencing, digital monitoring, etc. have also been very helpful in containing the spread of the pandemic. It has made healthcare accessible for everyone, especially in rural areas. For remote patient care systems, telehealth and teleradiology reporting are very important technological upgrades. Healthcare technology trends of 2020, including patient portals, mobile health applications, remote care via telehealth, and wearable devices, played a major role in tackling the global pandemic situation. Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) also played a vital part in handling the situation. All the above-mentioned are COVID-19 fueled healthcare technology trends in 2020, which are expected to continue in coming years too.
Here is a detailed look into the healthcare technology trends, which are expected to address the new challenges and revolutionize the healthcare industry in 2021.
Technology Trends that will Revolutionize the Medical Industry in 2021
The digital transformation of the healthcare industry has been fast-forwarded by COVID-19 in 2020. Recognizing the healthcare technology trends, many healthcare providers have readily shifted their operations to the latest trending technologies. Others are also looking forward to setting their operations according to the upcoming trends.
It seems like almost all the healthcare providers genuinely wanted to transform their operating system to engage the maximum number of patients, due to the healthcare technology trends set after the hardest crisis in the healthcare industry virtual reality healthcare. So, before planning your healthcare strategy for 2021, don’t miss to include these healthcare technology trends of 2021 to achieve better healthcare outcomes and stand one step ahead of your competitors.
Patient Engagement Technology
One of the most competitive healthcare technology trends in 2021 will be patient engagement technology. There are countless technologies available in the market for patient engagement, evaluation, and campaigning. Due to high competition in the market, these tools are priced competitively.
Many healthcare organizations have started empowering themselves by achieving consistency in patient engagement with the help of available tools in the market. This also helps them achieve increased ROI. The healthcare technology trends, including remote care via telehealth, patient portals, wearable devices, mobile health applications, and many more, empower patients and increase patient engagement.
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to improve patient experience along with engagement. The entire road to patient satisfaction and experience can be changed with these healthcare technology trends in 2021.
As telemedicine revolutionized the entire healthcare technology in 2020 by playing a vital role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to be one of the healthcare technology trends in 2021 too.
Using the advancement, it possible for healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat any number of patients remotely through phone calls, mobile apps, emails, and even through video calls. Telemedicine can provide patients with better access to all healthcare services, drive up efficiency and revenue, and lower healthcare costs.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
The arrival of both AR and VR solutions has made way to witness meaningful advancements in the healthcare industry and technology. Advancements that could only be dreamt of a decade back, have become realities and been implemented. These two healthcare technology trends offer some serious promise to the world of healthcare, including educating patients before a treatment procedure.
AR offers one of the latest and most spontaneous options in the healthcare industry. AR allows doctors and surgeons to experience 3D effects on real-world scenes. This healthcare technology trend permits the professionals to stay grounded on actual procedures with access to all the data through various other emerging technologies. This makes doctors compare data, in the virtual world, to understand what the patient is experiencing and make a flawless diagnosis and suggest healthcare procedures.
It is either impossible or expensive for patients to get answers from specialists for their routine queries. But, chatbots make it easier and comfortable for healthcare service providers to answer questions of patients cost-effectively. Though chatbots are currently in the experimental phase to be used in healthcare solutions, they are most likely to have the necessary access to clinical scenarios by the beginning of 2021. It is expected to be one of the progressive healthcare technology trends in 2021.
As a digital assistant, chatbots allow healthcare providers to keep a track of contacts and appointments and make changes, when necessary. Chatbots are going to revolutionize the clinical processes and business, providing practical as well as clear measures for modifying and monitoring patient activities.
Big Data and 5G
5G is about to sweep the world in the coming months. With the extraordinary intensification in transmission bandwidth of 5G, users will construct a huge amount of data. With 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be used largely to send and receive data. In the next three years, the global wearables market is expected to reach an annual turnover of US$52 billion. This can be attributed to the introduction of 5G wireless technology, one of the healthcare technology trends.
Healthcare providers will have the access to a huge amount of accurate data when data from wearable devices and other initiatives are added together. This is going to change the way providers collect data and the way doctors and patients communicate.
Thus, while you plan to upgrade your healthcare technology for 2021, don’t forget that you will be receiving a huge amount of data from patients, which can be attributed to one of the important healthcare technology trends of 2021, big data and 5G.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), one of the prominent healthcare technology trends of 2021, is developed to mimic human thought processes. GNS Healthcare AI system and IBM Watson are some of the most popular examples for the active use of AI in the healthcare process. This trend is going to rule healthcare processes and revolutionize medical care in 2021.
To improve healthcare professionals’ and hospitals’ care delivery to patients, Google’s DeepMind has built mobile apps and AI. The AI healthcare market is expected to reach US$7988.8 million in 2022 from US$667.1 million in 2016. This healthcare technology trend is expected to take the healthcare industry to a new realm by increasing patient engagement and experience in 2021.
Cloud computing is one of the major healthcare technology trends in 2021 that is going to change the industry. Attributed to the recent development of various healthcare technology trends, the cloud computing market is expected to reach US$35 billion in 2022 from US$20.2 billion in 2017.
This tremendous growth is attributed to the need of storing a high volume of data for healthcare organizations at a lower cost. In the healthcare domain, the main use of big data is in Electronic Health Record systems (EHR). It allows secure storage of various digital documentation such as demographics, medical history, diagnoses, and laboratory results. Cloud computing, an important healthcare technology trend, is expected to make the healthcare process smooth and flawless in 2021.
The biggest trend of 2021 in the healthcare industry is the holistic technological transformation of healthcare firms. Whether AI, ML, RPA, telemedicine, big data, chatbots, or cloud computing, almost everything related to data management and monitoring will peak in 2021. These healthcare technology trends will rule healthcare in 2021. Moreover, targeted and personalized care for critical diseases is expected to be another trend in the coming years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the technology trends in healthcare?
Trending healthcare technologies are AI, ML, RPA, cloud computing, big data, chatbots, telemedicine, etc. AI, the life-changing technology is going to completely transform the healthcare industry in the coming years starting from 2021.
What are the most important trends in healthcare technology?
Augmented and virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Medical Things, Machine Learning, chatbots, cloud computing, telemedicine, etc. are the most important technology trends in the healthcare industry.
What are the current technological trends in healthcare?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), Electronic Health Records (EHR), Blockchain and data security, health-tracking apps, therapeutic apps, and telehealth are the major current technological trends in the healthcare industry.