Advances in digital technology have shaped the way many industries conduct business and interact with their customers — and healthcare is no different. The healthcare industry is undergoing a digital transformation, but it is by no means complete. As health providers make use of data collected to influence patient behaviors and improve outcomes, new technologies continue to disrupt the industry. For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning are offering better ways to locate and treat disease modalities and telemedicine is changing the way doctors and patients interact. So, what can we expect from this shifting landscape?
Healthcare technology trends to watch in 2020
The business of medicine is undergoing an evolution. Healthcare leaders are making some big changes in response to consumer demand with increasing consumerism permeating an industry struggling to upgrade. These five technology trends are making some serious waves in healthcare nationwide, and across the globe, this year:
- Wearable technology has expanded beyond the personal fitness tracker to remote monitoring of chronic diseases. They are now part of the Internet of Things (IoT), a new frontier of connected medical devices that track behaviors and physical symptoms long after the patient is discharged from the hospital.
- Machine learning creates intuitive computer algorithms that evolve based on how we use them. In healthcare, machine learning is expected to be the catalyst for increasing automation to improve clinical workflows.
- Artificial intelligence is the next generation of computing. Machines using artificial intelligence are programmed to imitate human thought and action by analyzing data that it then uses to anticipate and solve problems.
- 3D printing is changing everything from how we learn to what we use during operations. 3D printing can make the placement of screws, plates, and implants — ranging from spinal or cranial implants to dental restorations, such as crowns — more precise and custom-fitted.
- Telemedicine connects clinicians with patients regardless of location. The use of telemedicine is increasing as doctors and patients recognize the benefits of access to faster and more convenient care.
The significance of these technology trends on healthcare delivery
These innovations can’t come at a better time; looming shortages of healthcare providers threaten the ability to deliver care quickly and efficiently in the future. Technology can improve care coordination by reducing no shows, increasing virtual visits that can replace needless emergency room trips, and potentially decreasing wasted efficiencies. As patient interactions occur more frequently in a virtual environment, care delivery will become more efficient across all care delivery models.
New healthcare technologies are poised to optimize physician capacity and care delivery. Predictive analytics can track patient behavior and help providers understand patient needs. Simultaneously, the patient experience is more accessible and efficient. Increasing automation can improve scheduling and check-ins, resulting in fewer no-shows. Technology increases communication between disparate providers and the patients they serve. These tools also are expected to reduce medical mistakes by using machine learning for decision support, illness detection, and treatment guidance.
Redefining healthcare goals
This new decade will see significant changes to how we provide care — fueled by greater regulatory scrutiny, declines in reimbursement, and digital disruption. How chief information officers (CIOs) respond to these changes will affect care delivery at all levels. The digital transformation strategic tripod for 2020 will likely include:
- Deciding which technologies to invest in.
- Developing new patient-centric care models.
- Improving interoperability.
In 2020, we’ll see the emergence of data-driven, personalized healthcare diagnostics, as well as the scaling of population health models to influence patient behaviors, an increase in virtual health for care delivery, and increasing interoperability between patchworked systems. Healthcare providers also must increase their IT security to ensure the developing network of remote sensors and virtual care modules remain safe from hacker intrusion.
Ultimately, technology goals for 2020 must be driven by supporting providers in best practice clinical workflows, as well as providing patients with high-quality care. Losing sight of this creates risk, including provider burnout, patient migration, and financial impacts to the bottom line. Healthcare organizations can harness the power of digital technology to supplement, not supplant, care delivery.
In this tumultuous climate, having trusted healthcare business advisors alongside clinical teams will help your organization achieve a competitive advantage in the next decade. The Windsor Group Sourcing Advisory understands the new IT-driven imperative and can help your organization succeed. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.