These are some of the trends that will define 2018 in health IT.
As the new year progresses and developments begin rolling out, it’s time to reflect on the trends of last year and predict what the trends of this year are going to be. From analytics to security, this year’s trends in health IT promise to transform the industry dramatically.
The rise of AI in healthcare has been rapid and dramatic. No longer just for basic analytics, AI is beginning to see use cases developing in diagnostics as well, promising to speed up the diagnosis process, as well as cut down on the risk of error. AI is fully capable of taking massive amounts of patient data and sifting through it to find issues, risks, or inefficiencies with their care, whether that be identifying adverse reactions to combining drugs or diagnosing illness based on symptoms reported to different doctors. AI can work effectively with a much higher amount of data than a human can, and when combined with the increase in patient reported data, that is a more valuable skill than ever.
More and more providers are receiving data from multiple sources beyond just the traditional ones. Patient-centric wearables and digital health apps are sharing data with providers, as are EHR companies. EHRs aren’t limiting themselves to simply recording data anymore. More and more often, EHRs are using the data they collect for analysis. Big data analysis in general is becoming more and more common in healthcare for its predictive value, and when this combines with AI it allows for a much greater range of diagnosis and analysis for patients to enjoy.
Mobile apps and connected wearables are becoming much more common today. Improvements in motion tracking software have made it possible for companies like Muvr Labs to develop wearable orthopedic patches that track and analyze joint movement, allowing patients to see exactly how recovery is going. When combined with AI and the adoption of big data analysis, wearables open up a new frontier of diagnosis and recovery that is far more accessible than it has ever been.
Digital assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, have flooded the global consciousness over the past few years. Over ten million Alexas have been sold as of last year, and that’s just Alexa. These voice assistants are hooked into phones, smartwatches, and other devices, giving them a unique ability to record and analyze data gathered from many sources. One memorable use case is a voice-enabled scale and foot scanner for diabetics, one with the ability to identify symptoms and possible complications and notify the patient.
After the WannaCry epidemic that swept through hospitals and healthcare organizations at the end of 2017, cybersecurity is being given much higher priority than it previously enjoyed. Resiliency, redundancy, and recovery are the priorities now, as the goal has moved beyond just security and on to ways to minimize damage in the case of a breach. Virtualization and centralization are an effective and increasingly popular solution to the risk of cyberattacks, allowing desktop software to be run from external data centers.
Mobility has given patients far more freedom to make decisions about their care than ever before. The abundance of connected-care and specialized digital health apps, often built with new feature-rich technology like health clouds, has reduced the necessity for a patient to only see doctors who are in the same geographical region as them. Healthcare is literally in their pocket, and that allows them to pick and choose which organizations to give their money to. Patients are very quickly becoming payers, and organizations need to develop a much more patient-centric focus in order to survive.
What do you think the biggest Health IT trend of 2018 will be? Let us know in the comments below.
Jacqueline was formerly a product marketer for Kinvey and Progress Health Cloud. Her work focused on showcasing all the innovative things our customers are doing with our products and how they are disrupting their own industries.
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