Healthcare technology continues to proliferate the sector, the developments almost too many to track. The sector abounds with innovation and push forward in the name of better – even the minutest – advancements of care and better care outcomes. The coming year will be no different. As we enter the final year of the 21st century’s second decade, we’ve witnessed a tremendous amount of evolution in just 19 years. What role will our healthcare technology play in the healthcare industry in the next year?
A lot. And not just for a few, but members of many, many areas, even those peripherally involved with the boundaries of care. We must understand where current innovation is, but also the challenges these migrations attempt to solve. Being aware of the trends ahead can give us all a better grasp of how care delivery is changing and we can better understand how new areas can resolve real industry problems.
To help us navigate the year ahead for healthcare and its technology, the following are some of the trends that it leaders, observers, insiders, consultants and investors think are important or need to be taken notice of in 2019.
Most likely, in one of the few lucid moments you have in your hectic, even chaotic schedule you contemplate healthcare’s greatest problems, its most pressing questions that must be solved, obstacles and the most important hurdles that must be overcome, and how doing so would alleviate many of your woes. That’s likely an overstatement. The problems are many, some of the obstacles overwhelming.
There are opportunities, of course. But opportunities often come from problems that must be solved. And, as the saying goes, for everyone you ask, you’re likely to receive a different answer to what needs to be first addressed. So, in this series (see part 1 and part 2), we examine some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, according to some of the sector’s most knowledgeable voices.
Without further delay, the following are some of the problems in need of solutions. Or, in other words, some of healthcare’s greatest opportunities. What is healthcare’s most pressing question, problem, hurdle, obstacle, thing to overcome? And how that can be solved/addressed?
The biggest hurdle in healthcare is the adoption and ethical use of AI, and the ability to share data gathered from it in a safe and secure way to gain actionable insights. More specifically, the world is moving towards consumer genomics. This type of technology will help patients and their caregivers better understand their health and allow for more personalized care plans—this is our role in the future of precision medicine.
Randy Tomlin, CEO and chairman of the board, MobileSmith
A pressing question for many healthcare execs is “how can I gain loyalty from the next generation of patients? With the estimated lifetime value of a new patient at $600,000, and Millennials and Generation Z making up one-half of the U.S. population, the stakes are high. Healthcare lags behind other industries in adopting a mobile-first strategy, but some health systems are branding their own mobile apps because they know that it speaks to the engaged-consumer mindset of these populations. In many cases, mobile app technology has proven to increase patient engagement, education and loyalty, while improving a hospital’s bottom line.
During my surgical training, I experienced firsthand the greatest challenge facing our healthcare system today: how we train and assess our providers. Data shows that our century-old apprenticeship based system of surgical training is struggling under a growing number of procedures and decreased hands-on time with patients. At the end of at least 14 years of education and accumulating six figures of debt, 30 percent of residency graduates still cannot operate independently. Even surgeons in practice are finding immense challenges learning new procedures and bringing them to patients. This is limiting the adoption of higher value modern technologies and limiting patient access to these lifesaving procedures. Virtual reality is opening the door for increased access and skill development in a highly precise and like-life environment. Residency programs and medical device companies are adopting virtual reality to have a much more natural learning experience with a much higher retention rate than conventional observational methods such as a book or video. We have harnessed immersive technologies to improve patient outcomes, increase the adoption of higher value medical technologies and democratize access to surgical education around the world.