The pandemic has revolutionized the health care delivery system. In response to the need for upgrades, the industry embraced technological advancements. In every corner of the healthcare industry, we can see the application of new technologies to fight disease, develop vaccines and medicines, and help people lead healthier lives.
Since 2020, many tech companies have focused on leveraging their expertise to solve the problems posed by the global pandemic. Healthcare is considered a slow-moving industry in every way. During the pandemic, however, many companies in the industry have turned their attention to technology and its ability to transform the way their products and services are delivered.
The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the healthcare industry. The HIMSS Future of Healthcare report shows that 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. Rapid adoption of wearables, telemedicine, genomics, and personalized medicine, with organizers leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR), Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing to develop and deliver new treatments and services will remains a prominent feature of the industry.
Let’s decipher five key trends and opportunities in post-pandemic medical technology.
Telehealth and telemedicine
In the early months of the pandemic, demand for telehealth consultations soared from 0.1% to 43.5%. This is because no one wants to visit a health care professional in person, increasing the chances of the virus spreading. Today, if we do not consider infectious diseases, there are many other reasons that highlight the need for remote testing, diagnosis and treatment of patients. In places and regions where there is a shortage of doctors (India and China), the telemedicine trend can save lives by significantly expanding medical access.
Wearable Medical Devices
IoT plays an important role in the growth and development of the healthcare industry. Wearables, such as implants, monitor patient runtime data on device applications to meet key healthcare trends. These devices use medical data to save precious lives when it matters most. They reduce the time for regular check-ups and enable patients to detect abnormalities in bodily function. Patients can then report these changes to the relevant doctor without visiting them.
Electronic devices have sensors that track calories, steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. This real-time data is sent to an app that users can use to monitor their health. Wearable IoT devices have become the key to preventive healthcare, positively impacting people’s health.
AI is disrupting healthcare
Artificial intelligence is hot content across industries, and healthcare is not far behind. AI and IoT are used in healthcare services. The technology upgrades the version of traditional medical devices. AI is synchronized with patented monitoring algorithms and real-time data, enabling physicians to analyze patient data and provide timely feedback to physicians. For example, with a Bluetooth-operated artificial pacemaker, doctors can monitor a patient’s accurate data log in real time. As a result, it is easier for doctors to manage a patient’s health crisis.
The healthcare trend that is disrupting the industry is the use of big data. Big data has changed the way available information is analyzed. With the increase in the amount of patient medical records and medication data, big data is of great significance for developing a patient’s treatment plan and relatively reducing the cost of their diagnosis, thereby improving the overall health status.
In addition, big data analysis and advanced data mining techniques facilitate the use of existing drugs and available treatments to treat rare diseases.
Personalized Medicine and Genomics
Traditionally, medicines and treatments have been developed on a cookie-cutter basis. Trials are conducted to optimize the efficacy of the drug with the largest number of patients and the fewest side effects. With modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital twins and genomics, a more personalized approach is possible. It can help tailor a treatment plan to an individual’s requirements.
Genomics, genetic research, and the use of technology to map individual genomes help create personalized medicine. They help identify new treatments for serious diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Post-pandemic medical technology trends will quickly enter people’s daily lives. Their benefits are enormous, as is the value they add to the lives of patients and physicians. They can improve the quality of life in the future. With the help of wearable technology devices, people can monitor their health status, and with the help of artificial intelligence and big data, more specific decisions about health issues can be made.
The rapid development of medical technology, advances in medical technology and technological innovation will redefine the healthcare industry.
(The author is the President and Principal of DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai)