By Adarsh Jain, editor, Transparency Market Research.
A rosy picture is always a tricky perception. Artificial Intelligence or AI as it is known, is also very similar. Research publications are inundated with the findings that integrate AI with industry for better outcomes. And in most cases, these findings prove to be worthy in one way or other. But, the picture for healthcare is not as rosy as it seems to be. While tech companies across the world have invested in developing products that will assist the practitioner in making better decisions, doctors have their own doubts in implementing them. Despite these doubts, there is enough hope for players in an upcoming market like AI in healthcare, finds a Transparency Market Research study.
Will AI take away jobs?
In most industries, this has been the million dollar question. And, as serious as it may sound, experts have, time and again, clarified that AI is not going to take away jobs. It, of course, will augment decision-making and, thus, help produce better outcomes. Healthcare should be no different.
Before medical practitioners make a hasty call, it is important for them to realize that AI is a machine, and it clearly works based on algorithms. A machine does not have a human brain to be able to take conscious decisions. It, however, is only a critical aid in taking better decisions. There is no doubt that a large pool of data on admissions, medical history, procedures, conditions, etc. remains untouched across the world, states the TMR study. Processing and inferring from this large a pool of data is humanly impossible. This is where AI can aid physicians. What has happened is that the use of AI has affected radiologists and pathologists the most. For long, these two healthcare professionals have been the backbone of discerning abnormalities in human body functions or detecting conditions.
While healthcare organizations and experts, including government representatives, have proposed the use of AI in diagnosis, the risk of misjudgment bothers medical professionals. A wrong diagnosis or treatment could result in loss of life, and invite severe action against the healthcare professional. This argument from the healthcare professionals hold weight and, perhaps is a strong emotional reason for doctors from being reluctant towards introducing AI in their practice.
Lack of regulations is the caveat
A process bound by regulations is always more effective. In most countries, there is no law that defines the use of AI in medical practice. There is hardly any information that speaks about the limit to which the use of AI should be restricted. Also, the lack of information on the right usage, and ensuring all inferences or decisions based on AI are error-free is a huge caveat.
At a time when tech giants, especially in the United States, are vigorously working towards rolling out AI in healthcare, it is prudent to have regulations that define usage. It is just the matter of one country making the move, and when that happens, the rest are likely to follow suit, states the TMR report.
By Adarsh Jain, editor, Transparency Market Research.
Timely diagnosis and advanced treatment measures are imperative for better healthcare outcomes. But, little have we realized the criticality of patient’s history in treatment. It is human to remember information about major healthcare incidents, but it is impossible for individuals to store every detail of medical history. And sometimes, the lack of details on medical history can be the difference between life and death.
Over the years, as information technology and computers began finding applications in healthcare diagnosis and treatment, it is also emerged as a critical tool to store and retract data. Synonymous to a business, where all major decisions are data-driven, healthcare providers, too, realize the need for data on patient’s health to decipher treatment and diagnosis. As we realize the potential for big data analytics across industry verticals, cloud computing has enabled tech giants develop tools that could come in handy in critical situations. Transparency Market Research states that the global electronic health records market stood at $3,225 million in 2016, and predicts that it will grow to $38,278 million by the end of 2025.
Electronic Health Records are Older than the Internet
It was in 1960s, three decades before the internet bubble, when attempts were made to introduce electronic health record systems. Larry Weed first developed a system to record problem-oriented health records. And, in 1972, Regenstrief Institute, developed a possible system to record health data electronically. However, huge cost and lack of feasible infrastructure remained an impediment to electronic health record tools.
Things began to change at the turn of the century when internet became a phenomenon, and tech companies began sensing the need for data-driven approach for every business. In short order, tech giants – from Google to everyone else — started working to develop products for electronic health records.
North America At the Forefront
It is, perhaps, safe to state that U.S. is at the top when it comes to healthcare infrastructure. With consistent financial and policy-level support from the U.S. government, and conducive environment for pharmaceutical, medical devices, and the IT industry, the region has leaped miles ahead from others. And, electronic health records is no different. Out of the $23,225 million reaped by the global electronic health records market, more than 46% came from North America.
While the overall market share for North America is expected to dip marginally by 2% by 2025, TMR analysts predict that it will continue to hold a mammoth share of growth in the eight-year-forecast period. Of the $15,000 million growth potential, North America alone is expected to garner $6,000 million.
How Government Policies Made a Difference?
The market for electronic health records in North America owes a large share of its success to favorable government policies. From Presidents George W. Bush to Barack Obama, each have introduced policies, set up bodies, and funded projects that have today, led to a robust set up for electronic health records in the U.S. It was in President Bush’s regime that the first move to improve healthcare IT became evident. With budget for the sector doubled, the Bush government also introduced an exclusive position in the cabinet for the National Health Information Coordinator. Further, the government under Bush also set 2014 as the deadline to adopt electronic health record systems. Taking cues from here, the Obama government too increased funds for initiatives promoting implementation of electronic health record systems.
The Influence of IT Infrastructure
Most tech giants in the world are headquartered in the U.S. and this provides North America the advantage over other regions. With conducive environment created by the government, there is little for tech giants to worry about. And with history for electronic health records born in the country, the spirit for developing products has always been higher in the region. Efforts are underway to soon launch products that could change the approach of healthcare in the country, and attempts look ripe to expand the efforts globally. A fallout of the efforts in the U.S. is taking shape in Asia Pacific, where both government, and business organizations, have begun taking baby steps in moving towards a future in electronic health records.
TMR’s study expects neurological navigation systems to emerge as leaders in the realm of surgical navigation systems due to high prevalence of brain tumors. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. are living with brain tumor. This number further incites the need for advanced neurological navigation systems.
Navigating within the precincts of a skull multiplies the risk of damage to the vertebral column. However, advanced neuronavigation devices such as the one developed by Medtronic addresses these concerns. This device, called the StealthStation S8, is a highly efficient system that uses electromagnetic tracking capabilities and 3-D segmentation tools to create tumor models.
Influx of 3-D printing technology in the healthcare sector Operating on tumor models prepares the doctors to operate the actual tumor. It instills confidence in the surgeons that further amplifies the success rate of the surgery. Furthering the use of 3-D segmentation tools, the researchers have invented advanced 3-D printing technologies that are changing the game for surgical navigation.
Researchers from the Tel Aviv University printed the first 3-D heart using the patient’s biological parts and cells. The end stage heart disease can only be treated with heart transplantation. However, the shortage of heart donors stems the need for advancements in the armamentarium of cardiology.
This research has not only given a new direction to regenerative medicines but heightened the demand for 3-D printing technologies. According to TMR’s study, this trend is expected to turn the tides in the surgical navigation systems industry.
Intra-surgical visualization is imperative while performing a surgery. 3-D printing technology transforms a 3-D medical image into an object of the patient’s actual size. A combination of this model and augmented reality (AR) applications offers the surgeons a real-life operating experience in a virtual environment.
This technology helps the surgeons gain a better understanding of the nature of the surgery. It overcomes the shortcomings of single modality imaging and facilitates accurate intra-surgical visualization. Besides, the combination of cloud computing and 3-D printing technology further explores the possibilities in the realm of surgical navigation. It enables the development of prosthetic limbs and streamlines the 3-D printing process. This explains why the clinicians are keen on deploying the cloud computing technology.
Migration of surgical platforms to cloud computing
Cloud computing, though this technology is still young in the medical
industry, it is graduating in the arena of surgical navigation. It facilitates
the high computational power required for surgical navigation. Moreover, the
advancements in the medical image computing techniques such as the graphics
processing unit (GPU) facilitate improved medical image processing performance.
Recently, bioengineers developed a self-navigating medical robot that can
navigate in the patient’s heart. Earlier, surgeons used a joystick to monitor
tiny robots in the patient’s body. However, this newly developed robot works
exactly like an autonomous vehicle. The optical sensor in the robot uses
artificial intelligence algorithms that direct its path inside the heart.
Such discoveries have highly motivated the surgical platforms to deploy
cloud computing solutions. The fact that it breaks the restrictions of physical
location has also inundated its use. A cloud surgical planning application
enables multiple surgeons to work on the same case irrespective of where they
are located. This enables the surgeons to make accurate incisions, thus
facilitating a pain-free treatment for the patients.
The spiraling need for minimally invasive surgeries help the surgical navigation systems gain prominence in the market, states TMR. To sum it all up, surgical navigation gives healthcare professionals the liberty to navigate surgical equipment with tremendous ease. Moreover, the high morbidity because of cancer with nearly 9.6 million people dying in 2018 has necessitated the use of advanced surgical techniques. This has opened the doors for new clinical studies relating to surgical navigation such as molecular imaging and intraoperative microscopy.
Over the past few decades, healthcare information systems has been occupying an increasingly vital role in clinical and patient care and hospital operations across the globe. Their essential role includes capturing, storing, managing, or transmitting patient data and information related to the activities of healthcare organizations. The market for healthcare information systems is on the path of rapid evolution, essentially riding on the back of rising adoption of modern healthcare IT technologies.
Various systems and the underlying technologies have gained traction in the health sector with end users aiming to leverage their potential to transform patient care and healthcare practices world over. The ambit of healthcare information systems spans wide and the broad elements comprise operational systems, administrative systems, task-based systems, and financial systems. Some of the key applications of the systems include hospital information systems, pharmacy information systems, revenue cycle management, and medical imaging information system.
Trends Underpinning Lucrativeness of Healthcare Information Systems
Several factors drive the demand and influence the uptake of healthcare information systems across the globe.
Marked Impact on Effectiveness of Healthcare
According to Transparency Market Research, the global market for healthcare information systems is massive and it was worth $227,021.4 Mn in 2017. The market is projected to rise at an impressive CAGR of 9.6 percent from 2018 to 2026.
The application of healthcare information systems assist healthcare providers in improving the quality of patient care and streamline healthcare processes. For instance, the systems may be useful to better medication management, reduce medical errors, optimize healthcare costs, and increase the accuracy of diagnosis. In several developing and developed countries, various hospital information systems have witnessed widespread adoption in the health sector. A few of the key elements of the system are electronic health records (EHRs), patient engagement solutions, pharmacy information systems, and patient engagement solutions.
Robust health information exchange services are becoming crucial to reap the benefits of healthcare information systems. This helps in expanding the access of medical records among doctors and medical technicians and is supported by strategic moves by companies. SacValley MedShare, a nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) based in Northern California, announced in June 2018 that it is merging with another HIE, Connect Healthcare. The combined entity will provide health information exchange services to clinics and hospitals giving them secure access to the medical records of more than 2.6 million patients.
Technological Advancements open Exciting Paradigms
The healthcare information systems is reaping tall benefits from the wave of technological advancement. In recent years, the swift pace of digitization of healthcare data has created new paradigms in remote patient care. Furthermore, the application of wearable technologies is positively influencing the demand for healthcare information system. In this regard, the growing application of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) has helped in reducing the burden of lifestyle and chronic diseases world over. The rising deployment of robots in automating routine healthcare operations is also an encouraging development.