Numerous technological breakthroughs that seemed like science fiction a decade ago have already become mainstream in healthcare. Apart from saving lives and improving the quality of life, technological advancements have reduced medical costs, made healthcare available in remote locations, and completely changed processes as they pertain to research, innovation, and education.
Corporate Giants Lead Innovation
Tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Google have ventured into the healthcare sector. The areas of interest for these companies are new digital technologies for electronic health records (EHRs), machine learning for EHR analytics, telemedicine (allowing remote communication between patients and physicians), and even robotic surgery.
Amazon has also announced a collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan called Haven. This independent healthcare company aims to deploy technology to lower medical costs, simplify medical procedures, and make healthcare more accessible.
Several tech leaders are focusing on healthcare analytics. Patient data are already available from a number of sources including from diagnostics tests, medical devices, and wearables. Companies are focusing on overcoming the challenge of bringing all this data into a common format and integrating it into a single platform, enabling healthcare professionals to better assess patient risk and personalize treatment. These tech innovators would need to address data privacy issues and the highly-regulatory nature of the healthcare sector for the rapid and widespread adoption of such systems.
“Health 2.0” is expected to be spearheaded by the relatively new kids on the block: virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). VR technologies are focusing on counseling, pain management, telemedicine, surgical training, occupational therapy, and several other applications. AI is focused on diagnostics, EHR analytics, synthesizing information from a range of sources (scientific papers, journals, and patient medical records), and remote monitoring of patients using wearable devices.