The healthcare industry is continuously updating and evolving with the advances of modern technology. So, what does the future of healthcare look like? Below are four developments to keep your eye on:
- Virtual Reality
- Artificial Intelligence
- Wearable Technology
Telehealth, consisting of a variety of remote healthcare services, has the capabilities to close the gap in healthcare. By reaching rural and localized communities, telehealth can provide quicker access to providers which positively impacts outcomes. By leveraging services such as live physician chats and video conferencing, telehealth provides access to expert care from anywhere in the world. In addition to its external opportunities, telehealth is also used for administrative training, meetings and ongoing medical education.
Virtual Reality (VR) is an exciting development, both in entertainment and for healthcare. While at home you may enjoy the escape of a VR headset, in healthcare it's being leveraged as an engaging learning technology transforming education and the practice of medicine. Medical students now have new controlled environment learning opportunities that allow them to:
- Dissect bodies
- Conduct virtual operations
- Closely examine specific organs
- Train in real world surgical scenarios
This preparation moves away from classical charts and diagrams in leaps and bounds. What was once a picture of an infected brain, becomes a virtual world allowing students, physicians and care providers to walk through sections of a brain to diagnose potential causes and to truly understand what is going on inside.
VR is also being used to improve compassion between healthcare professionals and the families they serve. Interactive visualizations replace traditional classroom scenarios with immersive trainings that place students in the shoes of grieving family members tasked with important and difficult care decisions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a constant buzzword in the healthcare industry lately. AI, or machine learning, is an amalgamation of a variety of technologies that allow computers to process decisions, in turn, automating tasks that once required sentient intelligent decision.
While AI sounds futuristic, it’s simply a process in which a software program “learns” equations, which it uses to process data. In healthcare, AI systems use equations that help healthcare providers in diagnosing diseases and a variety of other applications.
The possibility for AI technology in healthcare is exciting. As exciting as AI technology is, it takes time to see measurable and noticeable differences. More importantly, technologies like most AI applications are still dependent on a multitude of other factors including training, adoption and trust. Though there is potential for AI success in the foreseeable future, perhaps the real successes are just beyond the horizon.
Wearable Technology includes a variety of products such as fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate and sleep monitors. As these products have been rapidly adopted over the past several years, there is now interest in using their data to help doctors and other healthcare providers.
Cloud programs can be used in conjunction with wearable technology to create data distribution frameworks devoted to healthcare and, more specifically, physicians. As new software and cloud data options become available, the opportunities are expected to expand over the next several years. It will be interesting to see a shift from simple calorie and activity tracking to more expansive systems that track trends in your day to day health. With access to this data, the opportunities for physicians to impact and improve quality of life are endless.
As technological advancements in healthcare continue, it is important to work with a distributor that can anticipate your needs. Concordance Healthcare Solutions is excited to partner with healthcare providers as we move into the future of healthcare. Click here to learn more about Concordance.