Vision 2020: Healthcare Technology
Vision 2020 Healthcare: Technology and Patients on the Cusp of the Next Decade
Over the last year, patient demand for greater personalization and easier access to healthcare has driven a shift across the entire industry. As healthcare costs skyrocket, patients are beginning to feel the pinch and are seeking more affordable and effective care. Through the broader use of technologies and strategies like microservices, AI and biometrics, the industry is taking steps towards getting patients the care they deserve at a cost they can afford. Here’s a look at the trends that shaped recent developments in healthcare — and how we expect them to impact the industry’s evolution in the next decade.
Microservices can cure the common cold
Think of Microservices as the architecture on which the digital future will be built. Interest in microservices surged across all industries in 2018 as the strategy can cut time to market up to 75 percent. In healthcare, widespread adoption of an “API first, microservices philosophy” is helping meet the demand for better patient engagement, affordability, sustainability, and health outcomes. When patients and providers have easy and reliable access to electronic patient records, it can not only save lives but also reduces the cost of maintaining physical files or operating a siloed database. And that’s only one example of the potential of microservices. This architectural approach empowers patients and providers with increased access to connected care platforms, which are critical for virtual care. With a potential shortage in doctors over the next decade, virtual care may be necessary for patients to get an appointment with a doctor. After seeing serious growth in 2018, the market for microservices in healthcare is forecasted to reach $343.3 million by 2023.
The Doctor will see you now…on your phone
Over the last year, the healthcare industry began using AI in outcome-focused care with greater frequency. Among many potential benefits, AI can connect patients to primary and specialist care through wearable tech and virtual appointments, enabling the patient-provider connections needed to keep people healthy and happy. This is particularly important to patients in rural areas, who may not otherwise have access to specialists. AI is also boosting healthcare professionals to sort through a high volume of data and provide better clinical decision support, reduce financial risk, establish population health initiatives for chronic disease management, and more. This fall, the FDA approved the first AI-powered diagnosis of images. Experts expect the use of AI in healthcare to continue to boom in 2019, with the market projected to cross $1.7 billion in the next year.
Through the use of chatbots and conversational user interfaces, AI is set to bring the hospital to your living room. Nearly half of Americans already use voice search, and applications are growing across all industries, and the proliferation of smart phones has led to a demand for readily available, hands-free information on nearly every topic. The healthcare industr is emerging as an early adopter of voice search applications and integration. A number of healthcare focused start-ups are already attempting to replace the general practitioner with a friendly chat bot. While there are HIPAA obstacles to avoid in the U.S., healthcare will be a leader across industries in how to best use conversational UI to reduce operational cost and improve the patient experience.
Bitcoin bubble burst but blockchain is on the rise
Security breaches are one of the primary reasons for the dramatic increase in healthcare costs. The average security breach approaches $380 per affected patient – the highest of any industry. With such a highly regulated industry, healthcare providers feel the sting not only in their pocket books, but also in their reputation. When a security breach occurs, it erodes patients’ trust and can result in their withholding personal information that can affect a doctor’s ability to provide effective care. In 2018, blockchain emerged as a likely solution. While blockchain technology has been around for over a decade, it wasn’t until Bitcoin prices surged that a lot of companies took notice and began to consider alternative use cases. For the healthcare industry stronger security through blockchain means less insurance and pharmaceutical fraud and a more secure transfer of patient records that is traceable. 2019 will be a pivotal year in healthcare’s transforming blockchain from concept to integrated application.
The emergence of biometrics
Maybe you’ve heard horror stories of a doctor that operated on the wrong patient or babies switched at birth. In the near future people will look back on the day when we used wrist bracelets to identify patients in hospitals and consider it irrational and idiotic. No wonder a majority of patients now say that biometrics are their preferred option for identification when receiving healthcare services. Biometrics may also provide the key to single sign one and multi-factor authentication for both patients and healthcare workers, creating an all-around safer environment for sensitive data and physical access. When combined with other previously mentioned emerging technologies, like blockchain and microservices, wide spread use of biometrics seems tantalizingly close.
As the healthcare industry continues to search for ways to provide lower cost and readily available services while improving patient outcomes, technology will provide the underpinnings for new developments. Over the next decade, healthcare providers will need to be leaders in microservices, biometrics, blockchain and AI; otherwise, they risk being abandoned by a new breed of patients who won’t be left in the waiting room.
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