2020 shook up the world. The pandemic adversely impacted many sectors, but health information technology marched on. Pressure to provide better care and reduce costs drove the adoption of smart systems and technologies by savvy practices.
The global healthcare IT market is valued at USD 74.2 billion in 2020. Moreover, the market value of the industry will double by 2027, to USD 147.3 billion. This sector of the healthcare industry currently focuses on improving access, reducing errors and wait times, and improving patient satisfaction, engagement, and outcomes. You can either adopt these sunrise technologies, or watch your competitors race past!
Health information technology is rapidly progressive and ever-changing. Almost every day brings news of some advancement that will make patient care better and easier.
Electronic health records and remote patient monitoring are already mature parts of healthcare information technology. Now, we discuss the trends in healthcare technologies that will change the way patients approach and receive healthcare in the near future.
Telemedicine is a healthcare trend that will become even more popular in 2021.
Telehealth/ telemedicine is nothing new. The hardware, software, and methodology all existed before. But the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of telemedicine.
Patients are now getting the care they need from the comfort and safety of their homes, and providers are also being fairly reimbursed for remote visits. But, telehealth is not just a fad. It is a technology that will keep revolutionizing the healthcare industry in the coming years as well. In fact, according to reports, the global telehealth and telemedicine market is expected to reach USD 191.7 billion by 2025, growing at an estimated CAGR of 37.7%.
For providers, the possibilities are many and real. Telehealth will allow them to fit more patients into their busy schedules. In addition, they can save a lot of time by providing routine care like post-discharge follow-ups remotely. As the regulations are relaxed, specialists can consult patients from distant places without having to commute themselves.
Another health information technology that will rule 2021 is patient engagement tools and gadgets.
Patient engagement is the knowledgeable and active participation of patients in their own care. It leads to better adherence and improved outcomes.
Patient education is very effective, obviously. Other things that help are wearable and home-based devices that help monitor chronic diseases, SMS reminders for appointments and drug doses, and disease-specific apps developed for smartphones.
Expect more gadgets and technologies in 2021 that improve outcomes and make your and your patients’ lives easier!
2021 will see an increase in the application of IoT in the healthcare industry.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is already a reality with smart homes and devices being regularly used. Healthcare information technology is now exploring this technology for use in healthcare, as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
Medical devices that track, record, and transmit health data and alarms are already in use. Sensors built into them can record temperature, blood pressure, ECG, and glucose levels. Physicians can use these devices to judge disease control without frequent visits or hospitalization.
As we move into 2021, more of these devices with greater capabilities are sure to show up. These will facilitate data-driven care and better outcomes for your patients.
Another trend that will be a huge hit in 2021 is the use of AI and chatbots by healthcare providers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can analyze and use the enormous amounts of population and patient data that is routinely being collected.
As we move into 2021, artificial intelligence in healthcare will continue to gain in importance. Planners will be able to predict and thus allocate resources properly. Insurers will be able to predict which people require more care.
AI is also helping to find novel treatments for cancer and improve patients’ care in hospitals. Scientists are also exploring ways to automate imaging diagnosis. preliminary patient diagnosis and reducing drug dosing errors. Robot-assisted surgery might also be a reality soon.
AI is already available to automate many routine tasks in the back office. Automation can do tasks like claim adjudication, prior authorization, and other time-consuming tasks quickly and reliably.
Chatbots have been used in commerce for some years and are now entering healthcare. They use AI, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning to interact with patients. They could help with minor medical problems, medication issues, and first aid.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations, such as Veterans Affairs and Penn Medicine, created chatbots. Available round-the-clock, they ask for some information and use their algorithm to tell users what to do next.
AI could be the most exciting emerging healthcare technology in the years to come!
Last but not the least, one of the biggest healthcare trends in 2021 will be safeguarding patient privacy.
Privacy is getting more and more difficult to safeguard. Physicians need to take effective steps to keep PHI safe. Protected health information (PHI) includes a patient’s complaints, diagnosis, as well as the treatment.
In the paper and filing cabinet era, this was simple enough. But electronic health records or electronic protected health information (ePHI) needs much more robust security systems.
Although there are regulations like HIPAA (1996) and HITECH (2009), they only apply to healthcare entities. Therefore, various services and apps that the patients and providers might use on their own are exempt from these regulations. As a result, these apps often sell their user data to third-parties.
Moreover, a lot of healthcare providers are using telehealth technologies that aren’t completely HIPAA compliant. This again leaves the sensitive patient information vulnerable to a lot of threats.
Providers can’t guarantee patient privacy without HIPAA compliance. Therefore, providers must comply with these guidelines in order to safeguard patient data. In the coming years, more technology will be built that will help in the protection of patient data and ensure privacy.
2020 saw a large-scale disruption in the healthcare industry. The pandemic exposed the loopholes in our healthcare system and forced us to adopt better technologies to overcome these difficulties These technological advancements aren’t going to stop anytime soon. Healthcare technology will keep on evolving to improve patient care and experience.
Adopting these technologies will keep your practice on top of things, and you’ll also keep your patients.
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