The digitization of various healthcare tasks isn’t a new concept, but the pandemic accelerated the convergence of trends within the industry. From patient-first smart homes to telehealth, the digital transformation in healthcare has streamlined operations without compromising on care.
5 Emerging Technologies Leading to Healthcare Digitization
Any technology that gives healthcare professionals more time to spend with their patients is a welcome sight, but the following technology will impact the healthcare industry significantly.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has improved the efficiency of multiple healthcare solutions. These solutions include CT scan analysis, electronic health record management, and predictive healthcare. It also enhanced healthcare logistics by reducing costs and improving security. Learn more about what is healthcare logistics and what challenges this industry has today.
Modern medical apps are already benefiting from their easy access to electronic health records, as nurses and doctors are able to read a person’s chart before they’re admitted into hospitals.
Virtual assistance and doctors thrive using AI technology, as they can use data to schedule appointments and diagnose symptoms. Most importantly, doctors can use AI-powered wristwatches to monitor patients’ health and inform them if they should seek medical attention.
2. Web 3.0 and the Blockchain
Web 3.0 is the next generation of the World Wide Web that promotes a decentralized ecosystem. The blockchain plays a significant role in Web 3.0, as it can securely keep information behind expert-level encryption. To meet HIPAA standards for privacy, blockchain will be necessary.
In fact, healthcare interoperability wouldn’t be possible without the blockchain, as the system relies on anonymity and public-private key methods. On the blockchain, healthcare providers can send and receive electronic health records and payments without worrying about hackers.
3. Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets
Virtual reality simulates an experience that can be similar or different from the real world. Today, VR utilizes headsets and multi-project environments to generate realistic sounds, images, and other sensations. VR has successfully treated mental health disorders like anxiety and PTSD.
Virtual reality for exposure (VRET) can help traumatized patients experience triggers in real time without putting subjects in actual danger. Studies show that VRET reduces PTSD symptoms.
Medical professionals are currently experimenting with VR for teaching. For example, surgeons can use VR software to perfect their craft in a safe environment, and children can learn anatomy using a headset. VR may even be useful for rehabilitation, whether physical or mental.
4. Telehealth (Online Health)
Without Telehealth, millions of Americans would have had to risk their lives during the pandemic to get their medication, speak to a doctor, or get a consultation. The wide adoption of Telehealth in the US has made digital healthcare communication over the phone, computer, or tablet possible.
Telehealth offers multiple benefits for patients, such as reduced contact and continuity of care. It can be hard for patients to make it to the doctor due to their health, proximity to healthcare providers, or anxiety. Now, patients can receive care from anywhere on a 24/7 schedule.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of things (IoT) is a system that connects to a physical object for the process of sharing and exchanging data. Smart homes are an example of IoT that’s being used to monitor patients at home, but too few people own smart homes, making the technology ineffective for now.
Currently, IoT is used for remote monitoring. Accompanied by a wearable device, a remote monitor can offer doctors real-time data insights to decrease readmissions.
IoT is often separated into two subsections: IoT for patients and IoT for hospitals and clinics. Fitness bands and monitoring cuffs can track blood pressure and heart rate for patients, while medical staff can track the location of medical equipment and monitor hospital hygiene.