Trends Shaping the Future of Healthcare

CIO Review Europe | Saturday, January 04, 2020

“Telehealth has long existed on the outskirts of healthcare, but the pandemic forced it to become the default mode of patient-provider engagement.”

Fremont, CA: COVID-19 has brought about severe challenges and changes in the healthcare sector that will last for years to come. For instance, one major challenge that the sector faces is the enormous outflow of healthcare workers who have retired prematurely or are abandoning the sector due to the pandemic. Of fact, healthcare had been dealing with staff shortages and burnout even before COVID-19. As early as 2005, 75 percent of nurses blamed working stress and insufficient patient care on labour shortages. In the wake of the pandemic, this shortage has been burgeoning.

At the same time, leading-edge technologies have been significantly aiding the sector to wade through this crisis. Consequently, patients, providers, and payers have been growing more tolerant of new technologies, which reduce workplace stress and promote improved patient care. Notably, the new generation of healthcare workers has a special connection with technology because many medical schools are incorporating technology into their curriculum, and this new crop of health workers has been growing up in a technologically driven environment. Thanks to this know-how, they are more receptive to creative and technologically driven solutions.

Here are some solutions for 2022 that are making the future of healthcare better for everyone.

Taking Telehealth to the Next Level

Telehealth has long existed on the outskirts of healthcare, but the pandemic forced it to become the default mode of patient-provider engagement. Despite the reintroduction of in-person visits, telehealth utilisation has increased 38 times from pre-pandemic levels, as patients and clinicians alike appreciate the convenience of virtual appointments. Concurrently, massive volumes of data are being generated via telehealth. This is largely due to connected technologies such as sensors and the internet of medical things (IoMT) devices. To ensure that telehealth continues to grow and add value, facilities must invest in edge computing, which allows the huge quantity of these decentralised data created by telehealth to be handled and analysed in real-time. Edge computing minimises the amount of bandwidth necessary for telehealth systems to analyse and store huge volumes of data. It also reduces latency, allowing for quicker decision-making and communication between physicians and patients, especially in instances where every second matters.

A Wider Playing Field for Robotics

Surgical robots have been around since the 1980s when robotic arms were first used to help surgeons in the operating theatre. Over time, robotic surgical assist capabilities have been evolving to allow treatments to be performed with little invasiveness, minimising recovery time and infection risk. Robotics-assisted healthcare treatments may now be performed in a wider range of locations due to improved network optimisation, quicker processing speeds (with the edge or 5G), and enhanced security.

Using AR/VR to Improve Surgical Outcomes

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are becoming more popular in the surgical and post-operative recovery fields and are currently being used at cutting-edge institutions. AR uses image overlays and location-specific information to complement what is viewed in reality, whereas VR builds a new digital experience that replaces the current real world. AR and VR have different applications in healthcare, but both are being utilised to improve surgery and post-op care.

 

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