Digital gains attention in healthcare technology investment

Patient satisfaction plays a critical role for healthcare providers to keep up with the high standards of the care required. Today, most healthcare decisions are based on accessibility, customer service and cost so the industry has to keep in mind that their systems need to operate efficiently as well as deliver high standards of patient care to cope with the growing demands of customers and the rapid change in technology.
The adoption of electronic medical/health record (EMR/EHR) solutions in hospitals is making a strong case for interoperability among medical devices, and could well take the $232.5 million global medical device connectivity (MDC) market past the billion-dollar mark by 2022, says research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Latest healthcare technologies

One of the innovative approaches to achieve modern healthcare standards is to adopt Augmented Reality (AR) in their systems. This will allow healthcare providers target specific diseases of patients and avoid numerous tests that may not even predict the right results.

For example, AccuVein, a handheld scanner that has replaced the previous large ones has helped to locate veins on a patient’s skin. This reduces time and error.

Apart from scanners, AR technology also performs other roles in combination with mobile applications. For example, Google Glass which has an assistant embedded into its systems is used to keep track of a person’s health after he has been discharged from the institution. It becomes convenient for a patient to track his own records rather than visiting a hospital often.

As part of a global market research, AR in the healthcare industry is expected to reach a value of over $1.5 billion by 2020.

Another approach to advanced healthcare is personalized healthcare plans which have been introduced to specifically make it available for every patient to receive the best treatment. Each patient will have specific sources of data which will help predict diseases or treat prevailing ones.

These plans will reduce the need for doctor visits and allow patients to become an active participant in managing their own well-being. These are often done with the help of new AI technology in hospitals and mobile individual apps.

Wearable devices are also making strides in healthcare technology segment. According to Markets and Markets, the global market for medical wearable devices is projected to reach $12.1 billion by 2021.

“Surrounding smarter wearables is a constellation of technologies and service providers that includes app developers, telcos, component makers, healthcare institutions and more – each poised for growth in the coming years,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a recent report on wearables.

These devices help in monitoring real-time data and often have sensors attached to them that will signal when a patient has a health issue or any kind of emergency.

Example of wearable technology is the Kenzen Patch, which is a biosensor that alerts the patient to health risks by monitoring sweat, heart rate and vital organ movements. The Patch can connect to Android and iOS devices to gain real-time feedback, alerts and historical analysis.

Apart from patients keeping an eye over their own personal health, hospitals have also upgraded their systems by installing smart technology. This will reduce the rush and hustle bustle of medical institutions.

In the field of Oncology, one such example is Hitachi and its newly launched therapy equipment that involves X-ray systems and particle beam systems. This results in Hitachi’s spot scanning irradiation technology which allows tumors to be moved precisely.

Frost & Sullivan says the global healthcare industry will register a stable growth rate in 2018 and will cross the $1.85 trillion mark in terms of manufacturer revenues. The report said digital health investments crossed $6.5 billion in 2017, up 109 percent from the previous year.

Healthcare systems must take steps to maximize patient engagement at every stage of interaction and this can only be done when institutions adapt with the new technology and the changes it is bringing.

Yadawanka Pala