Trending IT Solutions For Healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely have a lasting impact on our supply chains, personal immunity and healthcare systems. Prior to coronavirus, healthcare was already slowly evolving with the shift to paperless technology and the adoption of social media. It has also seen increased funding and regulation from governments. In the US, healthcare accounted for 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) prior to coronavirus and is expected to nearly reach 20% in 2020. This growth is largely attributed to public sector spending from Medicare and Medicaid. In order to enable this growth, we expect to see continued investment in product innovation and technology throughout healthcare. One recent example of increase funding, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress recently appropriated $200 million in funding to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations.
Healthcare IT encompasses the storage, retrieval and usage of healthcare information, data and knowledge for communication and decision-making along with maintaining access, compliance and security across systems. Ever since the 1960s when Lockheed Martin developed the clinical information system to electronically store patient health data, a large portion of healthcare IT spending and innovation have focussed around electronic health records (EHR) or specifically their conversion, storage and access. But beyond EHR, the healthcare industry is rapidly embracing new technologies to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and provide timely care.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are being leveraged throughout healthcare to more rapidly analyze information and detect diseases. Vast datasets across providers around the globe are being shared and analyzed at literally the speed of light. AI empowers accelerated access to life-saving information such as treatment methods, outcomes, survival rates, and speed of care from millions of patients, geographies and medical conditions. Using ML, small trends in the data can be used to make predictions with incredible accuracy to identify potential health outcomes.
Internet of Medical Things and Health Tracking Apps
At its latest World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced new health tracking features coming to WatchOS7 including sleep tracking, handwashing, mobility and cardiovascular monitoring. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) includes devices like the Apple Watch along with the millions of other connected sensors, software applications and IT systems that focus on medical testing, monitoring and diagnostics. Together, they can provide constant and remote monitoring of body temperature and blood pressure, along with other vitals to transmit back to a patient’s doctor. As one of the fastest-growing segments of healthcare IT, Deloitte estimates the IoMT market to be worth $158.1 billion in 2022.
In many ways, IoMT will further fuel the growth of AI in healthcare as our patient datasets increase exponentially. Through these incredible advancements, the future is bright in our ability to collect, transmit, analyze and more accurately diagnose patients creating a better quality of life around the globe. However, these advancements do come at a cost. The increasing number of connected devices present additional risks for data security. Each device represents a new endpoint within the IT system that needs to be secured, monitored and responded to when a threat is detected. Both IoMT and AI also bring the added complexity of increased regulation and regulatory change as governments struggle to balance patient privacy and trust with the benefits of sharing data across borders. And finally, there is the cost of scale as data sets and network utilization grows at an exponential rate. When life hangs in the balance on fast access to data, maintaining increasing large network storage, networks and redundant systems becomes incredibly important.