The medical industry is not what it was a decade ago as technology has been transforming healthcare to meet twenty-first century challenges. Breakthroughs in machine learning and data collection have made a huge impact on the medial world, so here are twelve technology trends that are changing healthcare in 2020.
As the population grows – and ages – artificial intelligence (AI) offers better ways to help people. Medicine uses AI and its subset, machine learning, in several ways. AI can identify diseases, diagnose conditions, develop treatments and annotate data. Despite AI’s abilities, there is a consensus that AI will not replace doctors but rather augment them.
Big data manages data that is too complex for traditional data processing. It relies on data scientists and machine learning algorithms to process healthcare data. The rise of big data in medicine is a response to the digitization of healthcare information as more health systems use medical software to collect, analyze, and store information.
A digital twin is a real-time replica of something in the physical world that is created digitally. In medicine, the replica is a person’s life-long data record. Digital twins help doctors determine the outcomes of treatments, manage illnesses, and develop treatments. The technology improves patient experience through effective patient care.
Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for all immersive technologies, which include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). XR is known for entertainment, but healthcare uses it for more important reasons. XR benefits training and surgery simulation, and it also plays a role in patient care and treatment. The technology has already helped people with autism, cancer, depression, and vision problems.
Genomics is an emerging medical field of study. It involves the study of DNA content to help determine diagnosis and treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health, genomics has already made an impact in the fields of oncology, pharmacology, and infectious disease research.
Machine vision refers to the capture and processing of images through a combination of hardware and software working together. As analog systems convert to digital devices, the range of applications expands. This is especially true for endoscopy, lab automation, ophthalmology, pathology, and biomedical research.
Medical robots perform accurate surgeries in small places, yet their potential expands beyond surgical uses. Robots relieve medical personnel from routine tasks so they can focus elsewhere, and they can make medical procedures safer and less costly for patients.
Today, people can track their health with innovative mobile apps. They can count calories, track sleep patterns and more – all from their phones. Doctors use social media apps to interact without other healthcare professionals. Patients use apps to link to a physician. People have more access to health information now than ever before.
Recurring visits to a doctor can take a toll on people and their finances, but with remote monitoring technology, patients can consult a doctor from home. This saves patients time and money.
The medical industry has considered telemedicine for as long as phones have existed, but now the adoption of telemedicine programs is growing. Primary care, OB/GYN, and cardiology are specialty medical fields that use telemedicine programs on a regular basis. Telemedicine is an easy way for doctors and patients to stay in touch, but medical costs are sometimes an issue for patients. Electronic health record (EHR) providers, such as Kareo, allow practices to pay per visit, which keeps down the cost.
More people are willing to “wear” technology than ever before, but wearable technology can do more than count steps. Smartwatches can check heart rhythms, while other devices track temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. This technology is a good way for people to be proactive about understanding and tracking their health.
3D printing enables prototyping and customization for the medical industry. Surgeons can replicate patient-specific organs to prepare for procedures, and the technology can also be used in prosthetics, dentistry, and orthodontics.
Technology developments will continue to improve the future of patient care and support medical professionals, and upgrades will drive innovations that improve the whole medical industry.