The COVID-19 healthcare emergency has overwhelmed the global healthcare industry, creating unprecedented burdens and disruptions. While technological evolution has heightened in recent years, the pandemic compelled the industry to innovate and improve patient care standards. Experts observe that 2021 will be a year of remarkable innovations and groundbreaking advancements.
For years, industry observers have spoken about artificial intelligence (AI) applications in healthcare practices. It appears that this year, AI-powered tools and software will emerge in mainstream patient care processes. Multiple tech advancements will help healthcare facilities and hospitals improve efficiency, productivity, and performance.
Keep reading to learn more about the most notable technological advancements in the healthcare sector.
The recent pandemic sped up the mainstream popularity of telemedicine resources and services. Since in-person visits are no longer safe, especially for high-risk individuals, patients are rapidly adopting telemedicine methods. Telehealth offers numerous benefits, and it reduces direct contact between patients and healthcare professionals.
One popular application of telehealth is wearable devices, allowing healthcare professionals to obtain real-time patient data and health metrics. It appears that telemedicine will grow and expand further, even after the pandemic boils over. Experts believe that by 2026, telehealth will emerge as a billion-dollar industry in itself.
Telemedicine has witnessed a successful patient adoption as people are increasingly comfortable with its solutions. And, telemedicine’s rise has also correlated with an increase in the demand for family nurse practitioners. Industry observers believe that this increase stems from the shortages of family medicine doctors and physicians.
Patients across the US prefer the affordable and quality care delivered by family nurse practitioners through telehealth solutions and tools. Family nursing has emerged as a lucrative career path. Numerous professionals pursue an online MSN FNP program to achieve career development. FNP professionals have a strong future with enhanced stability and flexibility, given the rise of telehealth solutions and affordability.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Another dynamic innovation, electronic health records, are vital to support the integration with telemedicine solutions. EHR allows healthcare professionals to examine medical records through smartphone apps and cloud-based solutions. These electronic records facilitate easy coordination and communication between doctors, patients, and nurses to promote efficiency.
They also facilitate superior coordination and prevent delays to ensure immediate attention towards sensitive, high-risk cases. The Apple Health Kit and Google Fit are some excellent examples, while cloud-based solutions are more mainstream. Electronic health records also support superior patient privacy and confidentiality standards.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While AI applications are increasingly dominating the healthcare sector, most of its renowned applications emerged in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. AI tools and solutions facilitate virus detection, developing vaccines, and conducting thermal screenings. These applications focus on analyzing CT scans and obtaining healthcare metrics.
For instance, a Canadian company developed a groundbreaking application, BlueDot, to establish early warning systems to identify coronavirus-like pandemics. BlueDot had published a paper predicting the coronavirus’s spread throughout the globe before the pandemic started.
Interestingly, BlueDot scans over 100,000 media sources worldwide in more than 65 languages to collect real-time results on virus outbreaks. Machine learning and AI applications also facilitate the development of vaccines and immunological research. Machine learning has allowed remarkable improvements in efficiency, precision, and speed of vaccine development.
AI has also proven immensely useful in conducting thermal screening and identifying symptomatic individuals without requiring individual testing. AI has dramatically facilitated the social distancing protocols and efforts to curb the virus’s spread.
Deep learning algorithms have also brought about significant improvements in facial recognition technologies. AI has eliminated the issues created by human errors in analyzing CT scans. For instance, multinational training data for machine learning helps identify COVID-19-induced pneumonia in chest CT scans. AI-based tools have facilitated early virus detection and timely diagnosis to reduce failure-to-rescue rates.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
The healthcare industry has made monumental strides in disease prevention, timely intervention, and tracking. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a merger between telemedicine and IoT developments. Its applications include numerous wearable devices, such as EKG and ECG monitors.
IoMT facilitates common health measurements, such as glucose levels, blood pressure readings, temperature readings, and more. Experts believe that the IoMT industry will witness high growth, increasing reliance on doctors and patients. These digital tools make healthcare processes more efficient, timely, and convenient.
However, experts are still working to overcome the challenges associated with digital tools, mainly connectivity and privacy loss. Protecting patient privacy is a significant concern with health technology and solutions. While cloud-based solutions are highly effective at storing and retrieving data, they must comply with strict compliance regulations.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the human race to utilize all its resources to fight the virus and develop vaccines. This confluence of resources has given birth to numerous advancements and innovations. It has most certainly sped up the pace of multiple innovations that were in the pipelines for years. The pandemic has also boosted patient adoption rates, encouraging them to adopt digital telehealth solutions.
Experts believe that 2021 will prove a year of great discoveries and innovations in the healthcare sector. Naturally, the heightened pace of innovation will also increase the demand for specialized skill sets and advanced training. Healthcare professionals should pursue academic advancement and training to stay abreast with industry innovations.