Technology is the future. Recently, digital technology has been incorporated into the health care and medicine industry in various ways, such as; artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and robotics. There is a huge possibility for digital technology to transform unsustainable healthcare systems into sustainable ones. Additionally, digitalization could also equalize the relationship between patients and medical professionals and provide faster, cheaper, and effective solutions and cures to diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and Ebola.
Many hospitals have adopted remote patient monitoring to ease the access of patients in the pandemic period. The remote patient monitoring platform has enabled hospitals to increase their revenues as well as decrease congestion. Other ways technology is changing the healthcare industry are through:
- Virtual reality
- Augmented reality
- Genome sequencing
- Revolutionizing drug development
- Medical tricorder
There are many changes likely to be observed in the following years. They are;
Shift to outpatient care from inpatient care
Today, many private hospitals are investing in and leveraging technology. More diagnostic procedures and surgeries are being carried out in ambulance settings. More outpatient care will be provided in retail clinics, primary care clinics, patient’s homes, urgent care centers, emergency departments, and nurse-managed healthcare centers.
Due to improving patients’ overall healthcare experience and reducing the cost, there will be a significant upward trend. Other factors influencing this shift are:
- Clinical innovations
- Patient preferences
- Electronic health records
- Financial incentives
Protection of data privacy
Data breaches in all industries continue to be reported daily, and the healthcare industry is not exempted. Several cases have reported heart pacemakers being hacked, causing death due to a heart attack of influential and wealthy individuals. Federal and state laws need to be introduced and implemented as regulatory requirements. The biggest argument is between facilities profiting and not sharing patients’ health data.
Mergers and acquisitions
Consolidations in the healthcare industry will emerge more often soon. Large entities will absorb small entities and facilities that are holding out. Additionally, private insurance companies may merge to provide higher premiums to the subscribers. The merging of healthcare facilities may lead to an increase in service prices as there is no competition. The shift from inpatient to outpatient services may decrease revenues of small-sized facilities as they don’t have the capital power to invest, and consolidation may turn out as the best offer.
A new field of science that is interdisciplinary between science and materials has led to nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Through nanotechnology, nanostructures will be used to treat and diagnose. For example, genetic blindness that is caused by genetic mutations will be treatable and other genetic diseases. More clinical trials are necessary as nanotechnology is complex to prove the safety and efficacy of new therapies.
Nanostructures can be loaded with chemotherapy drugs that will target the cancer cells, giving the cancer patient the benefits without side effects of chemotherapy. Additionally, nanoantibiotics will help in the treatment of illnesses in a specific way.
Cure of some diseases
Diabetes is one of the debilitating diseases. 90% of the world’s population suffers from type 2 diabetes, and 10% suffer from type 1 diabetes. A device is being manufactured to be worn outside the body for patients living with type 1 diabetes through research. Bariatric surgery helps in the remission of type 2 diabetes. Soon, there will be a cure for diabetes. Researchers are looking into the manufacture of an artificial pancreas. Additionally, through an islet transplant, modification of beta cells found in the pancreas can replace cancerous cells.
Thanks to the advent of digital health, this is a revolutionary time to be alive and observe as the real era of medicine is being ushered in.