We live in a tech-hungry society, with businesses, organizations, and individuals all clamoring for the latest and greatest technologies that will make their lives easier. For most of us, this is a luxury, such as being able to stream a movie in a higher resolution or being able to perform more advanced technological functions while on the go. But for some industries, including healthcare, better technology can make a huge difference. It’s important to learn how this technology is developing, so we can better prepare for the future of the industry.
Motivations for Technology in Healthcare
These are just some of the reasons why technology is so important to the development of the healthcare industry:
- Diagnostics and prevention. Some technologies are increasing in sophistication and can detect and prevent diseases or ailments. This is important to minimize the development of injuries and illnesses.
- Ongoing care quality. Once someone is sick, it’s up to healthcare institutions to make them better. Improved technology can make the process faster and more thorough.
- Efficiency. It’s also important for new technologies in healthcare to make it easier for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to do their work accurately and efficiently. Being able to see one extra patient a day or completing a process a few minutes faster can add up to make a big difference.
- Cost. Better technologies oftentimes mean doing the same thing for less money, translating to savings that can be passed to patients who may have trouble affording high quality care.
Tech Trends in Healthcare
With those motivations in mind, these are the main paths of development that healthcare technology is following:
- Online medical records and other information. Old methods of creating and maintaining medical records are woefully inefficient. Paper is expensive, puts a burden on our natural resources, is difficult to comb through, and takes up space. Online and cloud-based medical records, on the other hand, are easier to make and manage, and can be accessed virtually anywhere—including by patients, if necessary, in the comfort of their own home. New technologies will make this storage and access much better.
- Accurate data capturing. Other new technologies are improving the process of data collection at multiple levels. For example, some technologies focus on measurement and diagnostics, using biometrics and other developments to draw in information about patients. This is crucial for accuracy and efficiency.
- Big data-based projections. With the amount of data healthcare organizations collect on their patients, it’s possible for new technologies to accomplish some impressive feats, such as projecting paths of development for disease outbreaks, or learning new information about the effectiveness of certain treatments, which can then be shared with other organizations.
- Direct treatment options. Of course, one of the most practical uses of new technology is in the form of direct treatment options, from enhanced tools for surgery to prosthetics and other follow-up devices. These tend to be highly specific, but also highly effective for their intended use of choice.
- Better tracking and communication. Many new healthcare technologies are focused on tracking patient recovery and communicating with patients after receiving their initial care. For example, some technologies help patients take their medication or adhere to their rehabilitation programs consistently, while others help them get in touch with medical professionals easier if/when something goes wrong.
Specific technological development is hard to predict; some of the greatest breakthroughs are ones that seemingly come out of nowhere, while major technologies publicly thought to be game-changers may fizzle out before they achieve widespread adoption. So, rather than predicting specific developments, it’s better to look at the course of development as a whole.
Identifying key technologies that fit into these categories and satisfy the motivation requirements above will help you learn which technologies will best fit into your healthcare organization, and which ones have the highest likelihood of achieving success in the broader market.