Technology is seen as an enabler to help make significant efficiencies in the way services are delivered in the future. New ways of working will help improve patient pathways, delivering savings to make healthcare more sustainable. Tas Hind Director of Technology
Technology will effectively create a fully automated virtual hospital ward in the patient’s home. It will provide real-time tracking of patients’ vital signs, medication adherence and movements within the home. It will be supported by alerting, workflow and task management to, engender early intervention and prevention of unnecessary admissions into hospital.
2. Wearables and mobile health
My prediction is that wearable health devices will become increasingly sophisticated and adopted by the over 65s. The information from these is likely to be shared more widely with cloud-based healthcare systems. Devices will be embedded with internet-connected electronics and exchange data with a manufacturer, or another connected device.
3. Virtual and augmented reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is the augmentation of a real or physical world environment in a direct or indirect way using computer-generated sensory input. Virtual Reality (VR) is the complete simulation of the physical environment virtually, with the immersion of the individual in a scenario. This varies from non-immersive to semi-immersive and, finally, to fully-immersive.
Augmented reality apps are being used in the healthcare industry for various applications, such as surgical pre-operation assessment, medical simulation, minimally invasive surgery and rehabilitation. These applications and case studies are well documented and commercialised. It is also being used in the healthcare industry for applications such as fully-immersive 3D simulation experiences for clinicians, as a diagnostics tool in surgery, phobia treatments, PTSD, autism treatments and dentistry etc.
My view is that as the use of this technology continues to generate positive outcomes, the adoption of these is likely to increase significantly in 2018.
4. Increased use of robotics in surgery
Physicians, nurses and technicians are the superheroes of healthcare. But even Captain Marvel needs a trusted sidekick. Enter the robots. They augment the surgeon’s potential with superhuman precision and repeatability. They help hospitals save money, reduce waste and improve patient care. They offer levels of measurability and traceability that only automated machines can achieve. They provide medical technology developers with proven platforms for new innovations. From radiation treatment to eye surgery, rehabilitation to hair transplantation and even phlebotomy, healthcare robots are transforming the fields of medicine across the globe. This will only continue to develop and become more widely adopted as we move into 2018 and beyond.
According to Gartner, artificial intelligence is poised to become the defining feature of how humans interact with technology. This is not only in the healthcare industry, but elsewhere too. An AI foundation will underpin the burgeoning intelligent digital mesh of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, big data analytic tools and smart applications that can proactively predict and react to changing environments.
“AI techniques are evolving rapidly and organisations will need to invest significantly in skills, processes and tools to successfully exploit these techniques and build AI-enhanced systems,”
David Cearley, Vice President and Gartner Fellow.
My prediction is that in 2018 health and care organisations will increasingly come together, to address this challenge and opportunity.
Tas Hind is Director of Technology at Essentia. If you want to know more about the team could help transform your organisation: