Aug 24, 2012

Top 10 Technologies Changing Healthcare

3 min
Top Medical Technologies
WRITTEN BY: Jonny Williamson 10. Digitised Records Security co...

WRITTEN BY: Jonny Williamson

10. Digitised Records
Security concerns aside, the move to digital medical records shouldn’t be underappreciated, manifesting into more effective collaboration and communication between different healthcare providers. Whether in the run-up to, or following medical procedures, the impact can be felt by staff working in different departments within the same hospital, through to foreign aid administered to a patient while abroad. Not to mention the once obligatory record rooms now being used for much needed additional bed-space.

9. MicroCHIPS
MicroCHIPS has built itself around its core technology of drug delivery via hermetically sealed chambers within a microchip, scheduled to release drugs directly into the bloodstream. Implanted beneath the skin and monitored remotely, successful trials have proven the system reduces the strain on healthcare providers by lowering the frequency of visits required by those suffering from chronic disorders.

8. Search Engines
The analytics being generated by search engines such as Google are proving immensely valuable in predicting and fighting potential outbreaks of illnesses, from simple flu or food poisoning to much worse epidemics. A number of studies have found a direct correlation between the symptoms people are searching and what patients are showing when seeking treatment at hospitals or clinics.   

7. Augmented Reality
AR essentially overlays virtual information onto a physical object in real-time when viewed through an enabled device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Medical applications include helping practitioners diagnose ailments more easily and changing the way scans, such as MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds, are viewed.

6. Social Networks
Whether for the patients themselves, or families and friends, a big part of coping once being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses is through counselling and support groups. Sites such as Facebook, with 900 million current members worldwide, are challenging the traditional environment and methods of counselling, and helping people better connect with others facing a similar situation.  

5. Da Vinci Intuitive Surgical System
Using state-of-the-art robotic technology, the system allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a number of tiny incisions, with a marked increase in vision, precision and dexterity. Though not applicable for every procedure, utilising the system can help reduce a patient’s hospital stay and speeds recovery.   

4. Training
The advent of technology has made possible the creation ultra-realistic models and training environments for trainees to practice exercises in a way never before thought possible. Especially relevant for intricate and complex procedures, the simulations play a vital role in training not just interns, but also help refresh and update current practitioners’ knowledge as well.  

3. Mobile Technology
Never before have patients been able to take such responsibility for their own healthcare as now. There is now a veritable cornucopia of mobile apps, ranging from medication databases and healthcare trackers, to pregnancy calendars and suggestions for questions to ask your doctor about specific illnesses.  

2. The Internet
Though access to such a huge amount of information has given rise to so-called ‘cyber-chondriacs’, the ability to research and seek advice is not only incredibly beneficial for the general public, it also provides an instantaneous means for doctors to seek second opinions and share experiences and findings from studies with colleagues around the world.

1. iPads
Combining nearly every one of these technologies inside one device, nothing has become synonymous with the changing face of healthcare like Apple’s iPad. More mobile than a laptop, yet still providing all of the necessary information quite literally at doctors fingertips, iPads have had as much of an impact on patients as it has for healthcare professionals; an impact that is only set to increase in the future. Changing the relationship dynamic between patient and doctor, many apps have come about as a result of trying to simplify medical visits, cutting through the jargon and complicated terms and allowing a patient to better understand an illness and the treatment options. New apps are also equipping health organisations with the tools to run themselves more efficiently, helping to streamline supply chains and shorten necessary, yet time-consuming administrative tasks.   

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Dec 10, 2018

Top 10 healthcare innovations for 2019

medical devices
Top 10
Catherine Sturman
6 min
healthcare innovations
We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector

We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector

10. Telehealth

The telehealth market is booming. Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favouring digitally-led services. Providing clinical care at a distance, increasing accessibility and eradicating potential delays has given patients greater control, boosting patient satisfaction and overall engagement. Such is its exponential growth, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US has recently released its proposed Physician Fee Schedule and Qualified Payment Programme updates for 2019, where telehealth services has been heavily featured, in order to deliver ‘different access points’ for patients.  

9. Mobile technology

Consumers have become accustomed to accessing their data through the use of various digital tools, where the use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled from 13% in 2014 to 48% today. Catering to this growing market, British based start-up Babylon Health is making waves on a global scale. Partnering with the National Health Service (NHS) and private health provider, Bupa, it has also cemented its presence across the flourishing Chinese market, with a membership base exceeding 1.4mn citizens across Europe, Asia and Africa. By partnering with global juggernaut Tencent, Babylon’s artificial intelligence system has enabled both parties to interact directly with users, identify specific illnesses, deliver health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. The mobile app is available to over a billion users and linked to more than 38,000 medical facilities in China alone.

8. Artificial intelligence 

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as predictive analytics for patient monitoring has provided significant financial savings. Applications that target hospitals and medical institutions include patient monitoring and transcribing notes for electronic health records (EHRs). The European Union is set to invest $24bn into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 in a bid to catch up with Asia and the US, who have invested heavily in AI and cloud services. This year, Google revealed its plans to harness AI and machine learning across a multitude of consumer technologies, particularly in healthcare. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is estimated to reach over $5.61bn by the end of 2025, even though it remains dependent on the ability to record and store information conveniently, economically and securely amongst different applications and systems. Providing transparency and eliminating third-party intermediaries, processes are streamlined, reducing healthcare costs exponentially. Unlocking the ability for providers to deliver a value-based healthcare system and enhance patient engagement, blockchain could save the industry up to $100-$150bn per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, according to BIS Research. Partnering with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ethereum blockchain-based supply chain platform, Viant sought to accelerate the pace of blockchain-based supply chain systems. Accenture and supply chain giant DHL have also developed a blockchain-based serialisation prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer.

6. Health wearables

With the rise of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, more consumers are turning to health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity and sleep to gain a greater understanding of their health conditions. Following on from the release of the first Bluetooth headset back in 2000, the growing interest in wearables has seen monitoring our health and data become standardised. This data can be analysed by sophisticated algorithms to drive long-term diagnosis and support. Partnering with Google, health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.

See also

5. Electronic health records tools

From 2018-2022, the electronic health records (EHR) market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year Providers and organisations continue to house fragmented technologies which create barriers towards collaboration and data sharing opportunities. This is further exacerbated if a patient straddles both public and private healthcare. Technology giant Apple has integrated patients’ medical records into its Health App as part of its iOS 11.3 beta. The data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode. Partnering with hospital providers and clinics, patients are now able to view their medical records from multiple providers within one platform. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and even the Cleveland Clinic have implemented this technology.

4. Healthcare transportation 

Non-emergency health transportation remains a key issue worldwide, preventing patients from getting to or from a doctor’s appointment. 25% of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled appointments due to lack of transportation, costing US health systems up to $150bn each year. Transportation companies such as Lyft and Uber have therefore entered the market by partnering with state governments to reduce these costs and deliver personalised patient care.

3. 3D Printing 

Healthcare providers are set to represent the second largest industry sector in 3D manufacturing. The Food & Drug Administration’s decision to release its first comprehensive framework advising manufacturers of 3D medical products highlights its growing impact where more than 100,000 knee replacement surgeries are completed each year using 3D-printed, patient-matched surgical guides, for example. Through this process, surfaces and structures can be optimised for strength, weight and material use. Consultation between surgeons and patients has also been bolstered, where patients can better understand the complexity of his or her specific needs.

2. Genomics

As consumers get more involved in the management of their health, consumer genetics and research companies have grown in popularity and scale. People want to further understand their genetic makeup, leading personal genomics and biotech company 23andMe to become one of the largest consumer-based organisations worldwide. Interestingly, this year, the company has entered a four-year collaboration with GSK to develop new treatments, but using human genetics as the basis for discovery.

Not only looking to develop treatments by analysing human genetics, pharmaceutical companies are looking to even remove hereditary genes which pass diseases down generations. In 2017, human embryos were successfully ‘edited’ through gene editing tool, CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats), eradicating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy within 42 embryos.

1. Vertical integrations

As healthcare providers aim to provide greater transparency, promote collaboration and lower escalating patient costs, 2018 has been the year for a significant number of vertical integrations. CVS Health’s $68mn takeover of health insurer Aetna is a case in point. By influencing more of the supply chain, it will gain significant negotiating power to reduce costs for payers and patients, develop personalised solutions and improve overall outcomes. It will also promote the eradication of delays in process by removing any third parties within traditional business models. Other notable integrations are Optum’s acquisition of the DaVita Medical GroupHumana and Kindred Healthcare and Cigna and Express Scripts.

Reports have indicated that not only has the number of healthcare deals more than doubled in the last five years, the size of deals has also grown as a result of repeat investor interest, highlighting that this trend is here to stay.

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