Digital health is dramatically reshaping and redefining how healthcare is delivered. And here are some new trends that we can observe now and which are expected to change the future of eHealth.
New technological aids has changed the relationship between patient and doctor. Patients can now google information about illnesses and treatments, read their digital patient journal online, learn of their doctor’s findings and take responsibility for their own care in a completely different way than in the past.
The use of digital and mobile IT solutions in healthcare means that care is no longer available only in a specific location. Nowadays, patients have the right to choose where they wish to be treated and, in the future, this will not only include choosing which hospital to visit, but also whether to hold their appointments via video link or to treat their depression using online therapy.
Apps and mobile technology are already a natural part of our everyday life.
There is a number of eHealth applications now available and one of them is the digital diary which allows patients to record measurement data and appraisals or to note down their general physical and mental states during the day. As a next step they forward this information to their doctor.
Apps like this also give patients a simple means by which to take greater control over their own well-being, whether related to blood-sugar levels, blood pressure, or mood.
At the moment, healthcare do not use all the rich data that this type of smart device can provide. However, through projects such as the Swedish eHealth Agency’s Health for Me and other platforms that allow patients to collect their health data, an attempt is being made to both understand and find ways to utilize this digital “treasure” for the benefit of both patients and providers.
One major feature of eHealth is large IT systems. These are designed to suit a broad user base, however, which invariably makes it difficult for them to cater specifically to any one user. The future lies in creating smaller, customized systems that can communicate with one another through their interoperability. Custom-designed digital solutions entail opening up the market to small-scale actors and utilizing the entire ecosystem during development.
Big Data has changed the way we manage, analyze and operate data in any industry. Healthcare is obviously one of the most promising areas where Big Data can be applied to make a change. In future perspective healthcare analytics can reduce costs of treatment, predict outbreaks of epidemics, avoid preventable diseases and improve the quality of life in general. Treatment delivery methods face new challenges today: average human lifespan is increasing together with the world population. Healthcare professionals, just like business entrepreneurs, are capable of collecting massive amounts of data and look for best strategies to use these numbers.
Even if healthcare services is not something that exсites you, still you are a potential patient, and just like everyone of us you should be aware about new healthcare analytics applications and how they can help you.
Anytime a new technology enters healthcare, there are a number of challenges it faces. Common setbacks of artificial intelligence in healthcare include a lack of data exchange, regulatory compliance requirements and patient and provider adoption. AI has come across all of these issues, narrowing down the areas in which it can succeed.
The most popular use of artificial intelligence in healthcare is in IBM’s smart cloud, where Watson lives. The Watson platform has been used in a number of disciplines within healthcare including with payers, oncology and patient risk assessment.
To know more about the way IBM Watson works and its perspectives for the future please check out my new article “IBM Watson. Future is closer than you think” next week.
In this related long-format article, I examine a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate.