In the medical field, efficiency and access to information are crucial for the wellbeing of patients. This is why the medical field has not been shy about employing advanced IT solutions in the past, and it shows no sign of slowing in the future. Here, we’ve listed a few predictions of how the field will take shape in the near future, and what methods will be adopted.
Prediction #1: Robotic Automation
As dark as it may sound, it only makes sense that a type of device whose name comes from the Czech for ‘forced labor’ will likely be used to cut back on those tasks in hospitals that either take a long time to complete, or require high precision. Using robots to automate processes is nothing new to industry as a whole, but it is only beginning to really appear in the healthcare setting. It will not be a surprise to see more of them wandering the wings sooner than later.
Prediction #2: Patient-Generated Data
Consider how doctors are currently required to monitor their patients’ conditions. Either they bring the patient to a medical care facility as an inpatient where they can be watched by a trained staff, or they trust the patient to keep watch themselves and report in if something doesn’t seem right. There are a few major issues inherent in this approach, starting with the fact that, in order for the doctor to monitor their patient directly, the patient needs to be an inpatient at a medical facility, an expensive endeavor for all involved.
The alternative, entrusting the patient to report in, isn’t great either. There is always going to be concerns that patients will fudge their numbers a bit, and even the honest ones could very easily forget to bring this data to an appointment and defeat the purpose of having it in generated in the first place.
However, it likely won’t be long before patients will have access to the technology to greatly simplify the data sharing process between the patient and the healthcare system, insights and data points automatically being shared with the physicians who need to see them. This will ultimately lead to medical professionals having improved insights from which to shape a care plan for their patients.
Prediction #3: Blockchain For Management and Identification Processes
By its very nature, blockchain seems to be the ideal fit for a hospital’s needs - not only is it secure, it is also effectively permanent. This would allow patients to be identified and managed safely with the help of the blockchain. There are already moves being made to leverage the blockchain to assist in supply chain management as a kind of practice run before leveraging it for other, more patient-oriented purposes.
Prediction #4: Asset Tracking with the IoT
If there’s anything that can really cause trouble in a hospital, it’s a lack of supplies. However, it is projected that the Internet of Things will play a role in keeping that from happening, actually boosting operational efficiency and patient safety. Furthermore, by using platforms powered by the IoT, more data can be collected and leveraged to generate insights to improve the use of assets for lower operational costs.
Where do you see medical IT going in the next few years? Do you think other industries are soon to follow? Let us know in the comments!