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What does the future of technology in healthcare look like?

As the future of the healthcare sector looks to rapidly advance within the next few years, it’s imperative for executives and board members of large healthcare organisations to be aware of the changes ahead, as it will make the day to day running of businesses more efficient and impactful.

Although the majority of new technology implementations have bells and whistles, those that can increase patient satisfaction and cut costs are the most attractive feature when it comes to the future of an organisation.

In this week’s blog we delve into the most promising healthcare technologies that we can expect to see in the near future and why organisations should be on board to ensure they are heading in the right direction.

1. Blockchain to make interoperability a reality.
What originally started as an enabler of cryptocurrency transactions has today been adopted by a wider variety of industries including the banking and gaming sectors and given its proven permanent capabilities and benefits, it will likely hit the healthcare industry next.

According to a Frost and Sullivan report, it states that blockchain could potentially have a disruptive effect on the healthcare industry over the next five to ten years. Forbes calls blockchain the ‘unifying glue that will hold together a highly fragmented healthcare record’ with many individuals agreeing that blockchain’s potential to resolve healthcare interoperability challenges as a game changer.

But what type of information could be held on a blockchain, let’s take a look:

• Help to identify demographics such as gender and age.
• Highlight patient’s medical history including immunisations and procedures.
• Operations and services rendered including helping to recognise early signs/symptoms.

2. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within precision medicine. 
This method is used to help doctors and researchers predict and measure more accurately. This will help with treatments and prevention strategies of patients. This approach requires algorithms that can learn by themselves at an unprecedented rate (deep learning). So far, deep learning has been proven to make diagnoses on the same level as Physicians within cardiology, dermatology and oncology, wow.

3. Patient – controlled testing.
Another big focus for healthcare technology companies has been new ways to enhance patient engagement and overall satisfaction. Future advancements will include technologies that give patients the ability to determine compression and positioning during mammography and the option to use a handheld remote to control comfort whilst the scan is taking place.

4. Virtual healthcare.
For many, allocating time out of a busy work schedule for a doctor’s appointment is very tricky. We have all dealt with the frustration that comes with an appointment that takes 5 minutes and can easily be done over the phone. Well, that day is coming very soon! As it stands, 23% of patients have had a virtual visit with a doctor or nurse, and this percentage is due to skyrocket over the coming years.

The virtual visits have many benefits and offers patients the ease of discussing issues or queries with healthcare professionals in their own home through video conferencing, messaging and mobile apps.

Taking these advancements into account, it’s obvious that these technologies will shape up the healthcare industry within the next few years. Certain technologies that currently seem out of reach will be the new normal within the next decade. Healthcare businesses need to adapt and align their strategy around these changes to ensure that they are not left behind as most companies are set to move forward.