• Nick Walker

Emerging Trends in Healthcare IT

Real-world Data

The growing availability of real-world evidence data is providing both healthcare and life science industries with the ability to better assess the impact of existing and emerging drugs and treatments. Real-world evidence also will help providers to target patients who could benefit from a drug; or exclude those that might be harmed.

Digital Mobile Engagement

Digital mobile engagement among life science companies, patients and providers is steadily increasing, improving brand sentiment, clinical trial recruitment and medication adherence. The use of mobile technology increasingly will enable patients, providers and life science organisations to bridge communication gaps and create information pathways.

Patient Reported Data

Increasingly data used in medical care will be collected and shared with healthcare systems by the patients themselves. Patients are becoming true partners with their care managers and providers, with technology enabling them to measure, collect and share relevant data with the healthcare system. This personalised patient-generated data is vital for clinicians who want to keep patients engaged to ensure continuity of care.

Robotics at Hospitals

Hospitals will soon be deploying robotics to handle time-consuming tasks, reduce labour and prevent errors to enhance patient safety. These technologies are being applied in healthcare and life sciences to automate existing processes and re-engineer established systems. Hospitals that have deployed robots are using them mostly for supply chain functions, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Artificial intelligence

In 1950, it was estimated that the double time for medical knowledge was about 50 years. In 1980 it was about 7 years for medical knowledge to double. In 2010, it only takes about 3.5 years for the medical knowledge to double in size. It is estimated that by the year 2020, it will only take 73 days for the volume of medical knowledge to double. Only computers can possibly hope to keep up with this explosion in knowledge.

One of the leaders in this arena is IBM, who have developed their chess-playing, Jeopardy-winning AI platform, “Watson” to concentrate on healthcare.  The North Carolina School of Medicine tested Watson by having the AI analyse 1,000 cancer diagnoses. In 99 percent of the cases, Watson was able to recommend treatment plans that matched actual suggestions from oncologists. Not only that, but because it can read and digest thousands of documents in minutes, Watson found treatment options human doctors missed in 30 percent of the cases. The AI’s processing power allowed it to reference the research papers or clinical trials that the human oncologists might not have read at the time of diagnosis.

Medical device vulnerability

With the advent of ubiquitous network connectivity, the next attack vector is digital medical devices, especially as their online capabilities continue to increase. Connected medical devices in hospitals, such as infusion pumps and imaging machines, increase the threat surface of the IT infrastructure and represent a loss of security perimeter defence.

Digital/Virtual Healthcare Services

By 2021, digital healthcare services will account for 6 percent of global healthcare expenditures. A new generation of digital healthcare services is reaching consumers in a faster and more personalised way, relying on tele-health and patient engagement technologies. These approaches are leveraging IoT-enabled medical devices, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, further underpinned by the third-generation platform of technologies.

See more about Watson here