Monday, September 26, 2022

The Five Biggest Healthcare Tech Trends in 2022

Wherever we look in the healthcare industry, we can see new technology being used to fight disease, develop new vaccines and medicines, and help people lead healthier lives.

Over the past two years, many tech companies have focused on applying their expertise to solve the problems caused by the global pandemic. At the same time, many healthcare companies that have not traditionally been regarded as tech companies have turned their attention to technology and its potential to transform the delivery of their products and services.

It is clear that the pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the healthcare industry. According to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare report, 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. We will continue to see growth in areas including telemedicine, personalized medicine, genomics and wearables, with organizers developing and delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, Extended Reality (XR), and Internet of Things (IoT) have taken advantage. treatment and services.

So here are my predictions for the five biggest trends that will affect the healthcare industry over the next 12 months:

Remote Healthcare and Telemedicine

During the first months of the pandemic, the percentage of health consultations conducted remotely increased from 0.1% to 43.5%. Analysts at Deloitte say most of us are happy with it and will continue to use virtual tours.

The reasons for this growth are clear – but even when we take communicable diseases out of the equation, there are still good reasons to develop the ability to remotely test, diagnose and treat patients. In remote areas and places where there is a shortage of doctors (such as China and India), this trend has the potential to save lives by dramatically expanding access to medical treatment.

To deliver this, new generation wearable technologies are equipped with heart rate, stress and blood oxygen detectors, which enable healthcare professionals to accurately monitor vital signs in real time. The pandemic has also seen the establishment of “virtual hospital wards”, where centralized communication infrastructure is used to oversee the treatment of multiple patients, all in their own homes. An advanced version of the idea can be seen in the “Virtual ER” pilot under development at the Pennsylvania Center for Emergency Medicine.

In 2022 it is possible that we will see methods developed during the pandemic safely and remotely from patients be extended to other areas of health care, such as mental health and ongoing follow-up for patients recovering from operations and major illness. care provision. Robots and IoT are integral to this trend, and smart technology (machine learning) will alert professionals when sensors detect that intervention is needed or cameras detect that an elderly person has fallen into their home.

Telemedicine has the potential to improve access to healthcare in a world where half the population does not have access to essential services (according to WHO). But this is dependent on winning the public’s trust – there are some situations where many people still feel a personal interaction with health care professionals is needed, so providers will need to consider this when implementing services .

Extended reality for clinical training and treatment

Extended reality (XR) is a catch-all term covering virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). All of these involve lenses or headsets that alter our perception of the world – either placing us entirely in virtual environments (VR) or real-time images (AR/MR) of the world around us. Overlay virtual elements. They all have potentially transformative applications in the healthcare sector.

VR headsets are used to train doctors and surgeons to become well acquainted with the workings of the human body without putting patients at risk, or needing to supply medical cadavers.

VR is also used in healing. It may be a part of therapy, where it has been used to train children with autism in social and coping skills. It is also used to facilitate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help with chronic pain, anxiety, and even schizophrenia, where treatments have been developed that aim to help sufferers through their fears and psychosis. to work in a safe and non-hazardous environment.

The number of applications for AR in health care will continue to grow in 2022. For example, the AccuVein system is designed to make it easier for doctors and nurses to locate veins when they need to give an injection by detecting the heat signature of blood flow. and exposing it to the patient’s arm. Microsoft’s HoloLens system is used in surgical theaters, where it lets surgeons get real-time information about what they’re seeing, as well as share their thoughts with other professionals or students watching the operation. Is.

For those who are not medical professionals, AR health applications also exist, such as the AED4EU ground layer, which provides real-time directions to the nearest publicly accessible automated defibrillator unit.

Making sense of medical data with AI and machine learning

The high-level use case for AI in healthcare, as in other fields, is to help make sense of the vast amount of messy, unstructured data that is available for capture and analysis. In health care, this can take the form of medical image data – X-rays, CT and MRI scans, as well as many other sources, including the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID, the delivery of vaccines, genomic data from living cells. , and even handwritten doctors’ notes.

In the medical field, current trends surrounding the use of AI often involve the growth and upskilling of human workers. For example, surgeons working with AR as mentioned in the previous section are augmented with computer vision – cameras that can recognize what they are seeing and relay the information. Another important use case is automating initial patient contact and triage to free up physicians’ time for more valuable work. Telehealth providers such as Babylon Health use AI chatbots, powered by natural language processing, to collect information about symptoms and directly interrogate the right health professionals.

Another area of ​​healthcare that will be deeply affected by AI in the coming years is preventive medicine. Rather than responding to disease by providing treatment after the fact, preventive medicine aims to predict where and when disease will occur and address it before it occurs. This may include predicting where outbreaks of infectious diseases will occur, rates of hospitalization, as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and the environment that are likely to cause health problems in different populations or geographic regions ( For example, predicting opioid addiction a) the community, or which patients who self-harm are most likely to commit suicide.) AI makes it possible to create tools that do far more than traditional analytics processes Effectively spot patterns in vast datasets, leading to more accurate predictions and ultimately better patient outcomes.

Digital Twins and Simulations

Digital twins are becoming increasingly popular in many industries, in a trend that involves creating models informed by real-world data that can be used to simulate any system or process.

In health care, this trend includes the idea of ​​”virtual patients” – digital simulations of people used to test drugs and treatments, reducing the time it takes to get new drugs into general use from the design stage. for the purpose of doing. Initially, it may be limited to models or simulations of individual organs or systems. However, progress is being made towards useful models that simulate the whole body. Current research suggests that this is still some way from being a realistic possibility, but we will continue to see progress towards this goal through 2022.

Digital twinning of human organs and systems is a near prospect, and they allow doctors to diagnose various diseases and experiment with treatments without harming individual patients, while reducing the need for expensive human or animal tests. . A great example is the Living Heart Project, launched in 2014, which aims to leverage crowdsourcing to create an open-source digital twin of the human heart. Similarly, the NeuroTwin project – a European Union Pathfinder project – models the interaction of electric fields in the brain, which will hopefully lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

It is this ability to help the healthcare industry create treatments more quickly and cost-effectively that digital twin technology is seen as one of the most important technological trends in healthcare for 2022.

Personalized Medicine and Genomics

Traditionally, drugs and treatments have been created on a “one-size-fits-all” basis, with trials to optimize drugs for effectiveness in patients with the fewest number of adverse side effects. Modern technology, which includes genomics, AI and digital twins, allows for a more personalized approach, resulting in treatments that can be precisely tailored at the individual level.

For example, Empa Healthcare Center in Sweden uses AI and modeling software to predict precise doses of pain relievers, including synthetic opiates, such as fentanyl, for individual patients. These can be highly effective and life-changing for patients suffering from chronic pain but are extremely dangerous in extremely high doses.

Drug company Novo Nordisk has teamed up with digital health company Glucose to create a personalized diabetes monitoring device that, based on their blood sugar readings and other factors specific to them, makes bespoke recommendations for diet, exercise, and managing their disease. provide.

Genomics – the study of genes, and, more recently, the use of technology to map individual genomes (the DNA structure of an organism, such as an individual) – is particularly useful for creating personalized medicine. This is leading to new treatments for serious diseases, including cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrigenomics is a sub-field of genomics where we can expect to see significant investment and progress during 2022 – this includes designing health-focused diet plans based on various genetic factors.

Read more about these and other future trends in my new book, Business trends in practice: 25+ trends that are redefining organizations,


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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