Technology is rapidly changing. The rise of AI and machine learning are only a fraction of innovations that improved our lives. Consequently, the healthcare industry is continuously evolving and adjusting to new developments in biology and IT.
This rapid growth of healthcare yielded many unpredictable achievements. For example, today’s medical equipment was considered nothing more than a fairy tale only a century ago.
Experts from https://www.heartlandmedical.com/ claim that in the third decade of the 21st century, the demand for medical equipment will skyrocket. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the dire need for improvements in the vaccine transport infrastructure and public healthcare systems in many countries around the world.
New ways to improve healthcare’s cost, reliability, and quality are being discovered every day. Whether it’s the instant transfer of medical data or automated, rapid searches for strike workers (strikes among medical staff are more common than you think), tech is helping healthcare professionals in a wide variety of ways. Nowadays, we can distinguish a few notable trends in the healthcare industry that can be crucial in 2021. If you are interested in learning more about them, read on.
Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become the hottest trends in healthcare. Big data analysis is the next step in the evolution of healthcare. Data-driven solutions are a cornerstone for providing an individualized approach to healthcare. Machine learning algorithms gather, cleanse, and analyze data to provide effective treatment.
Despite the fact that AI and big data still have many limitations, the healthcare industry is making the most of these tools and finding ways to utilize them. These new data-driven transformations can be seen in healthcare teams. Because of the technology’s potential, artificial intelligence is being increasingly introduced in medical practices around the world. Therefore, big data and AI are becoming widespread in the healthcare world and can potentially bring about significant improvements in how patients are treated.
The Rise of Blockchain
Blockchain is a secure, digital method to track and verify transactions. Blockchain technology makes it possible to streamline and optimize the way we make payments, get insurance, or sign contracts. Blockchain makes transactions more transparent and easier to track. It’s also more convenient and efficient for medical records and insurance systems, where patients can access them from any place at any time.
There are many blockchain-based tools that are already available to use, such as zkSNARKs, Solidity, Hyperledger, IPFS, and Ethereum. So, let’s see how blockchain can impact the healthcare industry in 2021.
Healthcare exchanges will become more common and accessible, which will allow people to enjoy convenient online shopping for healthcare services. For example, if someone needs a tissue transplant, he or she will be able to find an appropriate clinic, make a payment with cryptocurrency or blockchain-based token, and get treated.
Blockchain will also help AI algorithms analyze massive volumes of data. The algorithm will be able to detect patterns and learn new information faster than ever before. This technology can bring about new medical breakthroughs, possibly including cures for life-threatening diseases.
Another useful blockchain application in health that we are going to see in 2021 is blockchain-based telemedicine. This is exactly how its name suggests — a digital solution that allows patients to interact with doctors from other countries. Medical information can be transferred safely in real-time to ensure high-quality treatment.
Virtual Reality Treatment
Virtual reality (VR) has been widely used in the healthcare industry to treat all kinds of ailments from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to phantom limb pain. From a patient perspective, virtual reality is the best way to treat chronic wounds or phantom limb pain because it teaches body awareness and encourages rehabilitation. It also helps with education and training in wound management. In addition, VR has been shown to be more effective than conventional treatments for phantom limb pain.
From a doctor’s perspective, VR is an excellent way to reduce cost and improve patient engagement. It also empowers doctors to educate their patients remotely. Nowadays, patients are able to overcome their fears of certain medical procedures by immersing themselves within the VR environment. For example, some people can’t handle needles without getting nervous. Virtual training is a good way for them to prepare for that situation and remain calm during medical procedures.
The Rise of Wearable Devices in Healthcare
According to market analysis firm IDC, the wearable device market will grow from $7 billion in 2016 to $20 billion by the end of 2021 (a CAGR of 20%). Wearable devices such as fitness trackers are now an essential part of life — they track our steps and heart rate, help us monitor our diets and sleep patterns, and encourage us to take more steps each day.
Since fitness trackers have been very popular among patients, they became a good way to keep track of patients’ health habits. Wearable devices are also good for synchronizing wellness data with medical records so that doctors can get as much data as possible about each patient’s habits and well-beings. For example, if someone wants to lose weight, a smart bracelet can monitor their meals, activity levels, and calories consumed each day so that they can get better results in a shorter period of time. As a result, more patients will be motivated to engage in healthy lifestyle habits when they see how much progress they have made towards their goals (how many steps they took each day, what their heart rates were during workouts). Therefore, people will be able to improve their health by using wearables in hospitals.
Wearable devices can also help people with disabilities or chronic diseases better manage their conditions at home. If you have a chronic condition or a physical disability that requires you to frequently monitor your condition or take certain medications on a regular basis (like insulin injections), wearables can help you get your daily tasks done more efficiently.
The Bottom Line
There is plenty to be positive about when it comes to the future of the healthcare industry. Modern technology enables doctors and hospitals to analyze and process medical data faster than ever. The help of wearable devices and VR tech can also be immensely beneficial to patients when it comes to overcoming their fears or improving their daily habits. Finally, with blockchain technology being heavily ingrained in our reality as of 2021, processing payments and taking care of medical bills has the potential to be simplified. The introduction of digital currencies to healthcare can even lead to a potential drop in treatment prices!