Digital is changing the world, and the healthcare industry is not an exception. Today we can receive a doctor’s consultation without leaving home, buy new medicines directly from our gadgets, get real-time text alerts that our blood pressure is too high, etc. The ehealth industry is developing, growing and revolutionizing. The revolution we see now is not just about replacing people with machines. It is about providing better care to patients, making doctors and healthcare professionals more efficient, capable to take on increasingly complex multiple tasks. Here are some trends and perhaps challenges to keep an eye on in 2018.
Patient’s data security
It seems that nearly every day we hear of some massive cyberattacks on healthcare organizations. Nonetheless, many healthcare centers still don’t pay enough attention to the question of safeguarding their electronic patient information properly. Big healthcare systems suffer cyberattacks more often, but it doesn’t mean that small and medium-sized practices have nothing to worry about. In fact, cyber thieves view poorly protected medical records in these practices as easy pickings. Here are some steps that experts say can help hospitals defend their protected health information (PHI) and their businesses from cyber attacks: security risk assessment, data encryption, system access control, users’ authentication, etc.
IOT and Big Data
IOT adds a great value to the healthcare industry. Devices that generate data about a person’s health and send it to the cloud will lead to a plethora of insights about an individual’s heart rate, weight, blood pressure, lifestyle and much more. Big Data allows real time monitoring of patients, which leads to proactive care. Sensors and wearable devices will collect patient health data even from home. This data is monitored by healthcare institutions to provide remote health alerts and lifesaving insights to their patients.
Smartphones have added a new dimension. The apps enable smartphone to be used as a calorie counter to keep a track of calories; pedometers to keep a check on how much you walk in a day. All these have helped people live a healthier lifestyle. Moreover, this data could be shared with a doctor, which will help towards personalized care and treatment. Patients can make lifestyle choices to remain healthy.
Virtual, augmented and mixed reality are helping healthcare practices to adopt newer ideas leading to the improving pf patient care, improvisation of equipment maintenance, etc. Here are just few examples of how these technologies are realized in ehealth: patients can describe their symptoms better through AR apps, nurses can find veins easily with AR, pharma companies can provide more innovative drug information, etc. And involvement of AR/VR into healthcare will continue to grow in 2018.
In 2018, one thing will remain constant: the digital health field will continue to grow. We will see more of the consumer technology already in use merge with patient care, as measurables such as heart rate, blood sugar levels, and sleeping trends can be tracked with gadgets from brands like Apple, Fitbit, and Dario. Eventually we will see a more cohesive relationship form between doctors and health technology that will ultimately improve patient care.