The healthcare landscape is going through an unprecedented transformation. Disruptive technology, an ageing population, rising healthcare costs, and empowered patients who want a greater say in healthcare decisions; all have far-reaching implications in terms of diagnostics, treatments and delivery of care.
Here are five trends with the potential to transform the healthcare industry:
One of the primary drivers of change in the healthcare industry is artificial intelligence (AI). At one end of the healthcare continuum, scientists are using unparalleled computing power to test molecular combinations, develop better therapies with fewer side-effects, and shorten clinical trials. On the patient care side, AI technologies are used in a wide range of applications, from image analysis to dosage error detection, to AI-assisted surgeries to streamlining administrative workflow. Read Harvard Business Review’s, “10 Promising AI Applications in Health Care” for an overview of the top 10 AI technologies making the biggest impacts in healthcare today.
Wearable technology is poised to disrupt healthcare. These simple, unobtrusive and connected devices monitor and transmit patient vital signs and data in real-time, allowing healthcare practitioners to improve diagnosis, treatment and management of care. When combined with AI, wearables can also be used to monitor diseases in their early stages. For example, with early-stage heart disease, they can better detect potentially life-threatening episodes at earlier, more treatable stages.
Still, in its infancy, the global medical wearable market is predicted to reach $12.1 billion by 2021, the benefits extend beyond healthcare providers as it empowers patients to take a more active role in managing their own health.
Currently, standards of care are determined by averaging responses across large cohorts. Personalized medicine is an approach to treatment or preventative care which is tailored to the individual based on their genetic makeup, lifestyle and environment. Along with pharmacogenetics, (how an individual’s genetic makeup responds to medications), personalized medicine means “the right medicine to the right person, at the right dose and at the right time.”
Thanks to the growth of the internet, with unprecedented access to health information and the promotion of good health from various sources (government, healthcare practitioners, employers, etc.), many patients feel empowered and engaged in their own healthcare. They come to appointments prepared with questions and concerns, are actively involved in identifying and achieving health goals and outcomes, and adhere to tests and treatments. They welcome the flexibility that technology offers, such as wearable devices to monitor their conditions remotely, and demand a more sophisticated, convenient and personalized service – all of which inform new models of care.
Big data is the mass of structured and unstructured data generated worldwide. With respect to healthcare, it encompasses everything from electronic medical files to the constant stream of data from interconnected devices. It is complex, stored in various formats (files, images, sounds waves, etc.) and is growing exponentially. From prevention to diagnosis to treatment, the promise of big data lies in the ability to extract high-quality data and pull insights to drive patient and healthcare outcomes. See how big data can “unlock the potential of healthcare” in this infographic from Publicis Health.