What’s next for healthcare technology?
John Halamka, Professor at Harvard Medical School has been Chief Information Office (CIO) for two decades. He has seen changes from manual to computerized records, developed population health tools and enhanced security.
In November 2018, John Halamka made a prediction about future technology that could impact your care business. These are John’s 5 predictions, make sure that your business is ready to take advantage, or at least be aware of them:
Cloud hosting is taking over
Rather than storing data in on-site data centres and local computers, cloud hosting is predicted to replace or partly replace this method. Subscriptions to cloud based services means that hardware, project resource and time investment is hugely reduced. Applications that need a maximum data transfer rate which is easier to achieve with local hosting, will probably need a hybrid solution, at least for the time being.
Services will be more mobile optimised
At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC), 80% of all website traffic is now using a mobile device. Using the internet on mobile devices over desktop is a growing trend, and the healthcare sector is no exception. Patients and care providers both want to be able to access the records they need, schedule services such as appointments and manage medications from their mobile device.
Login portals will be replaced with mobile apps that connect to the Internet of Things (IOT). Patients can then manage their health through reporting systems and by accessing their data. Telemedicine technologies which are often connected to wearable and mobile devices will be used to enable remote care, and keep patients healthy in their home. This will disrupt the delivery of healthcare, similar to how Amazon changed the shopping experience.
Machine learning will use past data to optimise for the future
Machine learning will use millions of past patient’s experiences to predict treatments for current patients. Some examples of how machine learning can optimise patient experience are:
- Operating room scheduling
- Patient length of stay forecasting
- Predicting who’s likely to not show for an appointment
The algorithms used in machine learning require data to be very accurate and high quality. At present a lot of healthcare data has validity issues meaning that work is required to allow this new technology to work.
Intelligent voice recognition goes further
Intelligent voice recognition or ambient listening products such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Home, will be used more by healthcare organisations. In the UK we have an aging population which is putting pressure on the care system. These products have the ability to help reduce some of the strain and make patients’ lives easier. Healthcare organisations will be able to design skills and commands that interact with practice management systems, so booking a routine appointment can be done by voice command. We will even be able to use sentiment analysis to assess voice for mental health issues.
How Blockchain will help
New technologies rely upon consent for data sharing and patients must trust these applications. Blockchain can be used to hold patient’s consent preferences, which can then be accessed by various applications. Allowing flow of data whilst protecting privacy. Blockchain will also provide audit trails to track where the data is being used and the integrity of the record. As blockchain is not a database it won’t replace electronic health records (EHRs) but it will create trust by ensuring that data processing is secure and traceable.
Evolving technologies bring new risks including cyber risk. Make sure that your healthcare business has appropriate risk management planning and care insurance in place to ensure you’re adequately covered.
Jelf is part of Marsh & McLennan Companies. BRINK combines knowledge and expertise from across Marsh & McLennan and is managed by Atlantic Media Strategies, the digital consultancy of The Atlantic. The content is subject to BRINK’s Terms and Conditions of Use.