The future of the healthcare industry is filled with uncertainty, challenges, and innovation, as healthcare costs are rising too quickly to successfully combine great medical care with cost-effective solutions… unless technology steps in to save the day. The industry has been plagued by rising labor costs, an ever-increasing number of people with chronic conditions, and most of all, aging populations, which desperately need medical services on a regular basis. The US population is aging: statistics show that by 2040, people aged 65+ will make 20,4% of the society, which gives us 80 million people, who require easy access to healthcare. The health care industry is already struggling, and forecasts for the future are not too promising either: according to Deloitte’s report, a typical $2 billion US health care provider with a 3% margin “will likely see margin degradation of 6 percent to a negative operating margin of 3,5 percent by 2023” if no action is taken. The demand for a larger ecosystem of services is rapidly growing, and it cannot be addressed without a healthcare reformation, which requires a substantial amount of time and money. While transforming an existing system is always a costly affair, many see technology as the ultimate way to reduce health care costs and maximize health care efficiency. How is technology reshaping the US healthcare landscape? Could it be a remedy for the healthcare system’s weaknesses? Let us explore the relationship between technology and health to better understand the upcoming healthcare revolution.
Efficiency matters, or the rise of value-based care
With the rising costs of healthcare, optimizing value for payers and patients by achieving the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost became crucial, and value-based care rose to prominence, especially in the USA, where certain hospitals and health system replaced inpatient facilities with outpatient facilities, which are designed for short procedures and do not require an overnight stay. With the help of minimally invasive surgical procedures and new anesthesia techniques, hospitals can reduce costs while still providing patients with effective medical assistance. The aim of value-based care is to improve the health of the population and reduce the costs involved. With the use of technology, it might be a mission possible. According to Statista, the rate of electronic prescriptions in the USA rose from 66% in 2017 to 80% in 2019, and even back in 2017 71% of American adults could imagine using an app for health emergencies.
Gamify your life to level up with your health
The use of smartphones is so widespread that digital devices can be successfully used to support people with their health care goals in every community, including lower-income households. One of the apps that provide medical assistance at home is Health Village, the digital service platform for healthcare, which offers digital care pathways, electronic coaching services for healthcare professionals, and public health services for the general public. Health Village is developed in consultation with medical specialists and more than 1,5 million people visited their website within 12 months following the pilot. Deloitte reports that health engagement programs can be really affecting in pushing people towards healthier behaviors if they are designed correctly. Perhaps with technology’s help, breaking our behavioral patterns and bad habits will be significantly easier.
Welcome to the world of healthcare innovation – 7 emerging TechMed solutions
- Cloud computing solutions
There are numerous advantages to cloud computing solutions in health care: it is cost-efficient, boosts patient participation in the decision-making process, allows for remote data accessibility, and makes it easier to piece different data sets together to gain better insight into patients’ health. When patient records can be easily archived and retrieved, the risk of losing data is minimized and it is easier to consult specialists from across the globe to review particularly difficult cases. Additionally, cloud computing accelerates the speed of data processing, significantly lowering the time required to analyze large datasets to boost efficiency in the most time-saving style.
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
Numerous companies around the world started to implement AI solutions to improve diagnostic accuracy, reduce error rates, develop new medicines, and improve the patient journey. PathAI uses machine learning technology to improve the accuracy of the cancer diagnosis process and develop medical treatments tailored to patients’ individual needs. BioXcel Therapeutics, on the other hand, uses AI to find both new medicines and new applications for existing medicines. Since AI creates numerous possibilities and can be used in various ways, companies like Olive offer AI solutions automating “healthcare’s most robotic processes” so employees can focus on more important matters. From Hospital Risk Prediction to personalized healthcare plans, AI can revolutionize health care to maximize benefits at the lowest possible cost.
- Natural language processing (NLP)
From speech recognition to Data Mining Research, NLP is designed to support value-based care and save time for medical professionals. Given that NLP extracts meaning from human speech and abstracts key information from medical documentation, health providers can use it to generate detailed medical notes through voice dictation, or simply to quickly find crucial information. In turn, NLP drastically improves the quality of medical documentation with little effort and money.
- Big data analytics
Used to examine large, unstructured data sets to find patterns or correlations in patients’ cases, Big Data draws powerful insights from already available data. For example, Predictive Modelling predicts future outcomes based on past cases and Computational Phenotyping transforms raw Electronic Health Records (EHRs) into phenotypes to support clinical processes, and make everything run smoother. Data visualization, on the other hand, presents data efficiently to support the decision-making process. In short, Big data analytics allow health care experts to learn from the past and use data sets to their advantage.
- Data as a Platform (DaaP)
Given that DaaP extracts insights from patient data, it can be used to improve the quality of healthcare in numerous areas. With DaaP, real-time patient monitoring, reducing fraud, and supporting value-based care is easier than ever. Why is DaaP so important in healthcare? Health care providers process an enormous amount of patient data, payers have to go through numerous patient claims and billing data, and governments create population demographics,
health care expenditures, disease trends to monitor their country’s national health. Data as a Platform makes it easy to process data and draw valuable insights to improve health care’s overall quality.
Designed to ease the human workload, robotics can be used to monitor patient vital statistics and alert nurses when something is wrong. Hospitals may use robots to disinfect rooms and operating suites to minimize the risk of infection during pandemics. Interestingly, augmented reality is also used in healthcare to give surgeons easy access to data during operations.
- Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a connected medical infrastructure, bringing together health systems and services, medical devices, and software applications to create a better health care experience. By connecting patients with caregivers and clinicians, people are able to manage data more efficiently, in turn providing health care experience tailored to patients’ individual needs.
All things considered, technology is disrupting the healthcare system in the USA, bringing innovation to the table and solving problems, which have been plaguing the industry for years. Dramatically improving diagnostic accuracy, the infrastructure of medical systems, and supporting fast development of new medicines, technology is the healthcare’s strongest ally in the battle against rising labor costs and the population’s ever-growing dependency on health care. Perhaps technology is just what the doctor ordered to keep healthcare in the USA running!