By Tara Mahoney, head of healthcare practice, Avaya.
COVID-19 has forever changed the U.S. healthcare system with the acceleration of digital transformation and remote collaboration. As 2020 past us now, we’re getting a clearer picture of what post-pandemic healthcare in the U.S. will look like (or rather, require). Based on my industry background at Avaya, here are four predictions as we continue into 2021:
Prediction #1: Telehealth is here to stay and it’s forcing us to reimagine current care models. It must and will evolve.
The pandemic thrusted organizations into the inevitable telehealth revolution, but it’s not likely COVID-19 will push the timetable forward as much as some claim. Telehealth is about much more than “just” video-based physician visits. It will evolve to cover many workflows where patients and care teams cannot be together, including virtual rounding, remote patient monitoring, bedside consultation. It’s about being able to seamlessly coordinate across the entire health organization in a way that positively impacts key measures of clinical quality – all while addressing information security concerns and abiding by HIPAA regulations.
It’s about the use of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) for collecting important healthcare data in real-time to enable proactive, remote care delivery. It’s about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics to make critical predictions about patient diagnoses, treatment side effects, staffing, and expenses. It’s a complex journey, only made more complex by historically slow-to-change industry policies.
Health systems pulled together in 2020, but that’s not enough for sustainable digital transformation. Organizations will take their time navigating the complexities of digitization and remote collaboration as they embrace a new future of operations and patient care. We will see current care models change, albeit incrementally.
Even though the inclusion of technology is apparent in many aspects of our lives, the healthcare industry was hesitant about incorporating some forms of technology until recently. But things have changed, and the utilization of tech in the medical sector today is more extensive. More doctors today use apps to consult with patients. And that’s where you come in.
The tech skills we list in this guide will help you land a job in the healthcare industry and allow you to make a tangible impact on this fairly new tech sector. Plus, you will have the opportunity to make a difference that will possibly save lives in the future.
These new developments in the healthcare industry are known as telemedicine, which is a series of apps, wearable devices, and software that improve the consultation experience for patients and health professionals. These innovations open many opportunities for tech workers and allow people in the sector to learn certain tech skills.
The Internet of Medical Things
The internet of medical things (IoMT) refers to all of the devices, software, and applications that help to monitor, detect, and manage diseases or treatments. These can be connected to other devices, servers, systems, and the internet. The IoMT also collects data and stores it in a cloud or server for doctors or physicians to visualize later. It allows a direct connection between patients and health professionals.
For example, there is a mobile app that can detect when a patient collapses. When it happens, the app will allow your phone to send a stress signal to a healthcare provider or other emergency contacts. Also, there are wearable devices like smartwatches that allow people to monitor their health, this is especially helpful for patients with heart problems.
Other companies are developing smart pills that will monitor the patient’s health from the inside the body. The potential for these technologies are endless and are just in the beginning stage. This market is projected to reach $254,233.6 million in 2026, so if you learn to be a software developer or app developer, you will find a job in no time.
With the continued spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever for healthcare organizations to continue implementing ways to keep employees and patients safe, while improving patient care and keeping patient data secure. Many healthcare organizations are turning to KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) solutions to help with the increasing need for smarter and safer healthcare solutions.
A few examples:
Remote IT admins – IT admins can access critical servers when working remotely. Remote desktops only allow one connection to one server at a time, but a KVM provides a Windows explorer view of ANY server connected to that KVM.
Remote lab automation – Employees can stay safely away from contaminated areas using a KVM over IP device to access devices in lab areas.
Remote nurse station monitoring – video extenders and KVM extenders allow nurses to obtain real-time patient data from a remote station without being physically inside the room with the patient. This allows for a controlled, clean and secure environment.
Command and control through security and surveillance – Security employees can monitor all entry ways, control opening/closing and locking or unlocking doors from a distance.
Trends in Smart Healthcare
A few trends driving the need for these solutions include:
IoMT and Connected, Integrated Smart Healthcare Systems
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications and health systems and services. Integrating different healthcare delivery systems into one mechanism has created the concept of smart healthcare. Not only has this pushed the focus from just caring for the sick to promoting the general health and well-being of people, but it has driven technological advances that connect various health IT systems for ease of control and communication.
Smart technologies, such as virtual health, wearables, sensors and biometrics are already driving this transition to new healthcare delivery models that focus on streamlining processes and making use of cutting-edge digital innovations and information systems. Such developments, including those in artificial intelligence, cognitive technology and robotics are accelerating automation, while telehealth, digital medicine and remote monitoring are already part of larger connected, integrated smart healthcare systems.
Increasing Demand for High-Precision Medical Imaging
Reliable video has always been an important component to healthcare IT, predominantly related to the exponential growth in picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) used to securely store and digitally transmit electronic images and clinical reports. As the volume of digital medical images grows, and data analytics of those images becomes more prevalent, the demand for video at the highest possible resolutions for the most detailed images continues to increase.
The seamless and stable transmission of high-resolution video has become a prerequisite that medical imaging systems are expected to handle (up to 4K), and delivery must be low latency across long distances with no signal degradation. In addition to high-precision audio video signal extension devices, other infrastructure equipment, such as KVM switches, must be able to support the required resolutions and refresh rates.
Digitization Driving Demand for Increased Security
The move toward patient-centered healthcare models and medical information systems is requiring unprecedented levels of security and data protection. Alongside the digitization of healthcare records of electronic medical records (EMRs) is the push for paperless hospitals and the increasing government regulations surrounding data management and patient privacy. Secure KVM switches that are commonly seen in government and military environments are now enabling medical staff to easily switch between sensitive patient data and non-private applications on the hospital network.
Healthcare Use Cases
Medical Imaging: Live Surgery, Remote Monitoring and MRI Diagnostics
A hospital decides to implement a state-of-the-art medical imaging transmission system to enable doctors to perform surgeries and real-time diagnoses more effectively. The solution needs to transmit content, such as live surgery video from the doctors’ head-mounted cameras, patient vitals, medical records, MRI equipment and a picture archiving and communication system (PACS), accessible from various locations inside the hospital.
Medical imaging needs to be instantly accessible from various locations throughout the hospital.
Requires clear and stable video images for monitoring.
Compatibility with a wide range of medical equipment in a hospital environment.
A tailored solution for medical-grade applications with easy-to-use media distribution management software.
The solution: Integrating seamless switching will deliver instant and stable video over long distances over a single cable, while converting various resolutions to ensure top quality. Additionally, adding HDBaseT KVM extenders will allow MRI equipment to be accessed and operated with zero latency while uncompressed video with pixel-to-pixel quality is reliably delivered to the operator’s room for real-time diagnosis.
By Vladimir Kuzmenko, SVP of sales and business development, NIX United.
As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, the role of technology is evolving to offer new and innovative solutions that allow healthcare practices the opportunity to better serve their patients. However, as technology evolves and changes, healthcare as a whole must also grow and adapt to thrive in a complex and ever-changing ecosystem.
As we embark on a new decade (in which we’re now well into the first year), I’d like to examine a few of the more pressing trends that forward-thinking practices embracing currently and for the foreseeable future.
Some of these adoptions may include new systems and technologies being implemented, as well as technologies that are best-placed to keep up in these rapidly-changing areas of any profitable practice.
More importantly, however, is how these technologies might impact healthcare and how forward-thinking organizations take advantage of these opportunities. With this is mind, here are six trends that may influence healthcare in 2020 and beyond.
You may hear the term blockchain and think, “what does cryptocurrency have to do with helping patients?” However, blockchain has evolved and has many more applications than just new forms of currency. For instance, many urgent healthcare issues may be solved by utilizing blockchain, including:
Secure health information transfer
Health data management
Reducing the number of counterfeit medicines on the market
In addition, blockchain technology can be used in innovative ways to allow organizations to access information on a secure channel that maintains privacy.
Electronic health records
For all the integration issues U.S. healthcare organizations experienced in integrating electronic health records into their practices in the last decade, there has been no more profound change in the practice of healthcare in the U.S.
These electronic records create opportunities to track and improve patient care and to find new, more efficient treatment methods by incorporating artificial intelligence technologies. Protecting a practice’s and the patient’s data privacy is also an issue that must be addressed beforehand, not after a breach has occurred.
Hospitals and healthcare systems are benefitting from unprecedented innovation in information technology, helping improve everything from facility operations to patient care. But with these advancements come massive amounts of data—clinical research, digital imaging, and other patient data—that are taxing IT’s ability to cost-effectively manage and store in way that is secure, compliant, and always accessible.
Between the introduction of smart connected medical devices, plummeting costs of genome sequencing, and increasingly higher-resolution medical imaging, we are generating a wealth of information that is too expensive to store, yet too valuable—and, in many cases, unlawful—to throw away. Analysts from IDC predict that healthcare data will reach 2.3 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020. Imagine the discoveries that await, if only there was an affordable way to store it all.
Connected Medical Devices Mean Better Care, nd More Data To Store
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, within the next three years, 40% of the projected $117 billion IoT industry will be related to healthcare. The IoMT will generate exabytes of additional data, a portion of which compliance regulations will mandate you save. But what if we could store it all? What breakthroughs await when the power of analytics and machine learning are unleashed on vast archives of medical data?
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Real-time diagnostic data from connected medical equipment and home-health wearables promises to revolutionize medicine. Patients with long-term or chronic conditions can be monitored from the comfort of their homes. Instant access to information will speed diagnoses and response times. But perhaps the greatest potential of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) lies in the ability to save and analyze all the data these interconnected devices will generate over time.
Medical Imaging and Records
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are drowning in data as highly sensitive cameras, light wave and electron microscopy, and new modalities like 3D mammography and ultrasonic holography produce higher resolutions and larger file sizes. Many organizations adopt a “save everything” approach to ensure compliance with complicated regulations. To mitigate the high cost of storing all this data, complicated storage tiers and data lifecycle management solutions are implemented. But trying to figure out what doctors and researchers need access to on a regular basis and what can safely go into cold storage makes these complicated tiering strategies even more complex … and expensive.
By Steeve Huin, vice president of strategic partnerships, business development and marketing, Irdeto.
The Internet of Things (IoT) market is booming, with IHS Markit forecasting there will be 73 billion connected devices in use around the world by 2025. IoT technology has moved beyond speakers and smart fridges and is increasingly being utilized for critical applications across the healthcare industry, such as pacemakers, insulin and infusion pumps and medical imaging systems.
This Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is subsequently opening up a new world of possibilities to improve upon patient care, while also improving operational productivity and effectiveness. However, as the proliferation of connected and complex medical devices grows, healthcare providers are more susceptible to cyberattacks.
The key challenge is that cyber criminals often operate as businesses themselves and will focus on targets that will provide the greatest return on their hacking investment. Therefore, as the healthcare sector becomes increasingly connected, we could see an extremely costly impact of IoT-focused cyberattacks, if security is not prioritized. Insecure devices, and potentially companion apps, present a variety of risks to safety and privacy in a critical industry such as healthcare.
The IoMT Threat Landscape
Unfortunately, cyberattacks are already an all too common reality for many organizations in the healthcare space. A recent survey by Irdeto of security decision makers in the healthcare, transport and manufacturing sectors, found that 82% of healthcare organizations have experienced an IoT-focused cyberattack in the past year, with 30% of attacks resulting in compromised end-user safety.
IoT devices are often targeted by cybercriminals as they are much easier to compromise than businesses’ more sophisticated perimeter cyber defenses. The problem is that growth in the use of IoT has far outstripped the increase in trained professionals emerging. As a result, healthcare organizations often don’t have the expertise internally to ensure the connected devices they are using within their organizations are secure.
The research also emphasized this point, revealing that only 6% of healthcare organizations have everything they need to tackle IoT cybersecurity challenges, with an urgent requirement for increased skills and more budget for security identified. In addition, the research found that 98% of respondents in healthcare organizations believe the cybersecurity of IoT devices could be improved and one in four manufacturers of IoT devices for healthcare only update the security of devices they manufacture while they are in warranty.
These alarming findings, combined with reported cyber incidents to critical connected devices in the last few years, make for worrying reading. For example, in the last two years we have seen pacemakers recalled to install a critical patch to update firmware against cybersecurity issues, as well as cybersecurity warnings for insulin pumps from the FDA and Health Canada.
Thanks to the advent of technologies, we can witness irreversible changes in our daily life today. It is now easier to cope with our everyday routine because we have smart solutions that speed up the pace of our life and make it more convenient.
Healthcare is where technologies are expected to revolutionize treatment and research methods we are used to so much. Hence, we have prepared some technological trends that will make healthcare more advanced in 2019.
The Internet of Medical Things
The notion of The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is tightly connected with wearables. This technology is designed to transmit the patient’s data through various sensors and gadgets attached to the patient’s clothes or directly to their body. Fitness trackers and smart sensors are specifically elaborated to measure blood pressure, glucose level, pulse, heart rate, etc. Along with that, you can count calories you’ve burned, and miles walked.
Well, it doesn’t sound that innovative in 2019. But what makes it one of the most progressive trends is that the gathered data can be used in many various and innovative ways. For example, preventive medicine can benefit a lot with the help of IoMT. Research gets more accurate and timely, and it is even possible to prevent epidemics using the stats gathered in this way.
Anyway, if this is your college topic and you need thorough research of the field, you can consider getting case study help by ordering your paper online to ensure the highest quality and most accurate statistics.
Well … yes, consulting a doctor through your telly looks like a scene from one of those futuristic novels showing what the world would look like in the 21st century. In fact, it is what we have now. Modern technologies allow us to forget about hours spent in a clinic waiting for your doctor to invite you. That also includes waiting for the results of your tests.
Now you can consult any doctor in the world having a computer and an Internet connection. Imagine that you needed to see a reputable specialist in another country. It would be highly inconvenient to go all the way there just for a consultation. Firstly, you’d have to spend a lot of time. Secondly, you might need help to move around. And finally, it would be costly.
Today, you can contact your doctor from any spot in the world and get their consultation. It will not work in emergency cases, but it can work well if you need help with urgent but small issues. This is a good possibility for those who reside in far rural areas or require a highly specialized doctor to receive timely medical assistance.
The technology can also allow people to get consulted more frequently, which will improve the overall health of the population and establish better relations with doctors.
Guest post by Susmit Pal, healthcare strategist, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Dell EMC
Aging populations and the rising incidence of chronic disease consume a disproportionate amount of healthcare resources. In the United States, about 75 percent of healthcare dollars go to chronic disease care and two out of every three Medicare recipients suffer from at least two chronic diseases. The pressure for relief will grow as the population ages with approximately 10,000 new patients estimated to enroll in Medicare every day for the next 15 years. The current demand for resources for chronic disease care combined with the imminent spike in Medicare enrollment beg for achievable solutions and strategies that address costs, care quality and outcomes in the short term.
Enter the Internet of Things (IoT), also referred to as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) within the healthcare industry. IoT is something that most are well-familiar with, but for the sake of clarity, we define it here as the purposeful connection of intelligent sensors, devices, and software to computer networking systems using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RFID or M2M wireless technology in order to promote an inter-functionality that serves a greater purpose. In healthcare, that greater purpose is the achievement of less costly and more information-driven and efficient patient care. Think wearable devices and wireless pill bottles, nanotechnology and ingestibles, and network-enabled medical devices like stethoscopes that can transmit cardiac data directly into a patient’s electronic health record (EHR).
The Impact on Chronic Disease Management IoT shows great promise in helping to improve the health of patients with chronic conditions. Combinations of remote monitoring, analytics and mobile platforms have repeatedly cut re-admissions of high risk patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) by more than half. Evermore affordable and easier-to-use devices, such as wireless scales and heart rate and blood pressure monitors are improving overall wellness for the chronically ill. In fact, some researchers estimate that the value of improved health in patients with chronic disease using remote monitoring could amount to $1.1 trillion per year by 2025.
At the consumer level, the rapid increase in the type and variety of personal mobile fitness trackers like Fitbit®, and online fitness applications for consumers demonstrates comfort with IoT to monitor physical health. Their very existence has created an avenue for patients to become more accustomed to tracking and managing their health online. In response, healthcare organizations are beginning to incorporate them into their consumer engagement strategies, while payers are starting to offer discounts and incentives tied to wellness management.
IoT is also helping to spur on some rather exciting new technological advancements in chronic disease management. Connected wheelchairs, for instance, are enabling people with disabilities to engage with care providers on a whole new level, communicating health alerts to care teams and repair notices to manufacturers. A group from the University of Missouri is spearheading a development project to utilize home monitoring sensors in an effort to prevent falls among the elderly by providing alerts to the patient when there is a fall risk, while Dell Healthcare is working with hospitals to leverage the use of tablets with integrated card readers to enable remote healthcare for home-based treatments.
There exists an even greater potential for IoT to impact chronic disease management at a population-level when combined with data analytics. For instance, Health Net Connect (HNC) has initiated a population diabetic management program with the intent to improve clinical outcomes and healthcare savings for diabetes, one of the deadliest and most costly of chronic diseases—and the results are impressive. They captured vitals and blood work from study participants over a 6-month period to measure the impact that routine teleconferencing and patient monitoring had on outcome. Patients in the program showed a significant decrease in key biomarkers, including 9.5 percent lower HB A1C and 35 percent decrease in LDL. To put that into perspective, for every 1 percent drop in HB A1C they estimate an $8,600 annual savings, and for every 1 percent decrease in LDL there is a 1 percent decrease in coronary heart disease, which costs on average a million dollars over a lifetime. HNC is continuing this program, noting that “this project has, and currently is demonstrating return on investment with cost savings, improved access for program members to their physician, improved clinical outcomes, and improved knowledge by program members on their disease condition.”