Last year was an exciting one in the healthcare space. As in many other industries, technology is changing the face of healthcare delivery, allowing doctors to work more efficiently while delivering better care, and increasing access to, and quality and convenience of care for patients.
As we move into 2019, let’s take a look at some of the ways technology is changing how healthcare services are delivered and what we can look forward to in 2019.
Virtual care capabilities have made access to physicians, including specialists, easier. It can eliminate geographic barriers to care, reduce wait times, and reduce costs of care. For providers, it increases efficiency and reduces costs, allowing physicians to deliver care to more patients. As more physicians and patients understand the benefits of connected health services in 2019, adoption will continue to increase.
The data collected from connected health services, including remote patient monitoring services, patient generated data, and EHRs helps create better information sources for understanding the best treatment options for patients. As more data is collected, the information available for diagnosing conditions and prescribing treatment increases, creating better outcomes for patients.
As more information is collected and stored, AI engines are able to compare data across relevant patient populations to determine the most effective treatments based on proven results. The result is an ability for physicians to handle more patients, while increasing the quality of care. Technologies like speech recognition and Natural Language Processing will continue to increase efficiency for physicians and other clinical staff in entering diagnoses, treatments, and other comments directly into digital patient records, allowing for increased automation with scheduling and other post-consultation exercises.
A major initiative driven by the transition to connected health is a focus on population health with a focus on preventative care and understanding social determinants of health. More data will help healthcare systems and governments better understand how physical surroundings and socioeconomic factors impact health and healthcare spend. Increased understanding of these variables will enable providers to better predict health conditions, identify symptoms sooner, and prescribe preventative or corrective treatments for better results and even avoid some conditions.
Anything Can Be Measured
It’s been long understood that there are so many variables in our lives that have an impact on health, but the challenge has been correlating those factors with health conditions and results of treatment. Today, sensors are being designed to record nearly any measurable factor, from daily activity to vital statistics to sleep patterns to air quality. The data gleaned from health and other variables can be overlaid with health records and other personal data to drive new value from healthcare processes and move the industry towards a value-based healthcare model that is being driven by new regulation and policy around connected health.
Technological evolution, combined with regulatory initiatives is driving a new era of healthcare. Connected health systems are redefining what’s possible when technology and physicians’ expertise are combined to maximize the effectiveness of healthcare networks and optimize physician time and patient experiences. We’ve only seen the beginning of what’s possible, and 2019 promises to deliver even more opportunity for a new generation of healthcare delivery and outcomes.
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