4 Tech Trends Transforming the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry’s effort towards decreasing costs while improving patient care has been top of mind for decades. In recent times, we’ve seen monumental changes in the market for technology-led innovation in healthcare, many of which are completely evolving the way that healthcare is both managed and performed. Here are the top 4 tech trends that are transforming the healthcare industry as we know it.
Virtualization is reframing the infrastructure of health IT. Virtual machines are capable of centralizing software applications and seamlessly integrating and managing data while reducing overhead costs. The customizable designs and management also make implementation and utilization of the systems easier than ever. Computers, applications, operating systems, and networks can all be virtualized, allowing data to effectively be shared, while eliminating the need to communicate. Security clearance levels can be established for a variety of facilities using the same community server, allowing healthcare professionals to operate securely and efficiently. As of 2017, the data center virtualization market was estimated at $3.75 billion, with projections to reach $8.06 billion by 2022. As an increasing number of healthcare employers aim to implement these technologies, they seek valuable skills like the ability to navigate existing IT infrastructure, knowledge of interface between virtual servers and virtual storage, and experience with virtual security to keep servers safe.
The human genome consists of 3.02 billion base pairs. Taking this genomic information and using it towards the betterment of clinical care for diagnostic decision-making is known as genomic medicine. Within the last 15 years, the cost of reading these DNA sequences has shifted from hundreds of millions of dollars to just around the cost of a shoulder MRI. This technology is changing the way that doctors are able to manage patients with cancer, rare disease, and reproductive services, with other clinical areas soon to follow suit. Over 250 FDA-approved drugs are now eligible for prescribing based on the patient’s genetics – triple the amount that were qualified in 2014 and by 2024, digital health market in the area of genomics is set to surpass $45 billion. However, the enormous benefits of this sector of medicine are not without some significant challenges, not least of which is the massive influx of data it will create. Ensuring that a company’s existing infrastructure is capable of managing this data is critical, and building a competent HIT team to do so will be a priority.
3. Wearable Medical Devices
Similar to genomics, wearable medical devices are another new way of managing patient populations. These devices, simply known as wearables, are patient monitoring devices that are capable of remotely assisting in quicker diagnoses and treatment for patients in real-time. They collect data, such as body vitals and metrics, that can help medical professionals discover the early warning signs of disease. They help to reduce costly hospital stays as well as the risk of hospital overcrowding. Currently, one in six consumers already own and use wearable tech, and that growth is expected to increase to 35% of the population by 2019. Between now and 2023, the market is estimated to grow at a compound annual rate of 18%, creating numerous career opportunities for IT professionals.
Two major issues facing healthcare today are interoperability and data quality. Utilizing multiple stand-alone information systems slows down processes and creates redundant work. On top of that, a lack of reliable security measures and strategies can result in inaccurate information or incomplete data.
Blockchain technology seeks to solve both of these problems by linking healthcare providers together and allowing them to share data, privately. Multiple parties are able to record transactions with a trusted central authority ensuring that they are verified and secure. Another goal of storing health records on blockchain is empowering patients to be in control of their own medical records, and hopefully, encouraging them to be more proactive about their care.
Growth is visible from every angle. Amazon recently announced the launch of blockchain templates designed for the healthcare sector, and 56% of surveyed healthcare executives shared that they have solid plans to implement a commercial blockchain solution by 2020. As a result, blockchain has experienced more than 6,000% year-to-date job growth in 2018, making it the current fastest-growing skill in the market.
4 Tech Trends Transforming the Healthcare Industry
Medicine is in the midst of a major transition – from crisis response to health management. Opposed to reactive healthcare, in which patients are treated after they become ill, proactive and preventative healthcare measures are becoming more prevalent, and feasible, than ever before. With the implementation and further development of these 4 technologies, the medical industry as we know it is becoming revitalized and revolutionized.
Finding talent with expertise and experience with these technologies is only becoming more difficult. When a specific skill set is difficult to find, consider developing training and retraining initiatives, allowing your organization to gain necessary talent despite the low unemployment rates for those roles.