Healthcare IT and innovation are like two peas in a pod, but some experts are calling for a new neighbor to join the fray: data. While most of the world’s focus has been on the development of healthcare technologies to increase therapy effectiveness and bolster diagnostic abilities, a lesser-known, but deeply impactful revolution has been building on the data-driven side of medicine. This new wave of innovation promises to deliver better care quality, reduce harm rates, and optimize healthcare delivery, but can it deliver? And moreover, what will healthcare look like once it does?
Innovation Trends: Past
Understanding how the paradigm shift in innovation can shape the future of healthcare requires revisiting the paradigms that have ruled healthcare IT until now. Most technologies developed have been focused on enabling doctors to provide quicker, better diagnoses and offer patients a wider range of treatment options. While there’s no doubt this pattern of innovation has helped improve patients’ lives around the world – and thus will remain an important facet of healthcare strategy – the traditional focus of gathering and disseminating information may not be enough to meet increasing healthcare demands.
Innovation Trends: Present
The present answers, and anticipated future solutions, to meet those healthcare demands are varied and complex. Some of the most prominent technologies presently being used to drive healthcare innovation include the following:
- Big data
- Wearable technology
- Virtual care
How are these technologies currently used? And how are they expected to alter the role of technology in healthcare going forward? The explanations may be simpler than you think.
Healthcare IT and big data are relatively recent partners. Presently, big data is largely used by researchers, but it’s anticipated to become much more commonplace as analytics allow more practitioners access. While big data will still be championed by data scientists, it’s expected to increase patient care by enabling providers to craft tailored healthcare data solutions for individual patients on a granular level like never before.
Biometric data gathered from wearable technology is another type of data that’s relatively new to healthcare. As wearable technology becomes more affordable and commonplace, it’s predicted more patients will take an active role in managing their own health data and use that data to improve the quality of their healthcare in and outside of the doctor’s office.
Telehealth is slowly coming to public recognition, but practitioners in the field of healthcare IT have been preparing for it for years. Technology solutions for administering virtual care are still in early development, but the need for advanced platforms is already burgeoning. The increased use of virtual care is expected to usher in more convenience-oriented care while driving the costs of healthcare down for all parties.
Innovation Trends: Future
There are many other drivers for healthcare innovation outside of big data, wearable technology, and virtual care. Other influences include the surge of mobile transactions and prevalence of self-monitoring technologies. But no matter what driver proves to be the most influential, the one thing certain is that healthcare IT is well on its way to creating better, stronger health services for both patients and providers.