From the development of new vaccines to advancements in technology, the healthcare sector is continuously using best-in-class technology to optimize care and improve patient outcomes. The arrival of the pandemic has only served to further accelerate the digitization of the industry. In fact, over the next five years, 80% of healthcare providers plan on increasing their investment in technology and digital solutions, according to HIMSS’ Future of Healthcare Report

Adoption of telemedicine, wearables, personalized medicine and genomics will continue to progress, with healthcare organizations leveraging the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to develop new treatments and ensure continuity of care. 

Here’s a look at the 5 tech trends transforming the healthcare industry. 

A Rise in AI Adoption

The applications of AI and machine learning are becoming widespread and impactful – from identifying abnormalities in imaging to automating administrative tasks. Thus far, hospitals and other facilities have been utilizing AI to assist with backend functions, like scheduling, to streamline workflows. As AI solutions become increasingly sophisticated, it could open the doorway for these programs to perform more complex tasks. 

Along with the pandemic, increasing trust in AI is helping fuel industry-wide adoption, with patients particularly open to its use when in conjunction with their physician. The human-machine collaboration has incredible – and life-changing – potential, paving the way for deeper learning, preventative medicine and more targeted interventions. 

Digitizing Medical Specialties

Adoption of telehealth services after the onset of COVID-19 now stems beyond primary care or mental health care. An increasing number of specialties are seizing the opportunity to go digital. Digital pathology, for instance, has gained traction – swapping traditional methods of physically peering into a microscope for digital renderings of samples. With data accessible from anywhere, findings can easily be used for research studies as well as consultations. 

In a similar vein, the digitization of medical imaging is being widely embraced by radiologists. Virtual X-rays and scans can be sent from rural facilities to specialists across the nation for evaluation while accompanying software can perform preliminary assessments and catalog images for future reference. Healthcare organizations are even incorporating virtual reality (VR) tools into their operations, allowing practitioners to participate in lifelike simulations of procedures without posing any physical threat to a real patient. 

Virtual and In-Person Hybrid Care Models

While telehealth and virtual care services are here to stay, they will need to be utilized in conjunction with in-person visits. This hybrid care model offers a cost-effective approach to optimizing care and ensuring patient needs are met on a multitude of fronts. In this type of scenario, initial consultations can be conducted virtually – where needs can be assessed and subsequent tests or in-person appointments can be scheduled. 

This will lower in-office and hospitalization rates for common, non-life-threatening conditions, such as a cold or flu. Prescriptions can be issued digitally and additional communication, like refill requests, can be done online through patient portals. For more serious needs that require physical tests and examinations, regular in-person visits can be performed as usual. This hybridization of care will save valuable time for healthcare professionals and patients alike and drive efficiency across multiple touchpoints – from appointment scheduling to routine follow-ups. 

Advancements in Precision Medicine

Another product of our digital era is hyper-personalization in healthcare – genetic medicine, which is often referred to as precision medicine. Advancements in everything from genetic testing to wearable technology, like Fitbits, can deliver real-time health data as well as predictive insights for potential future care-related needs. 

The ability to access health data allows medical professionals to develop customized treatment plans to suit the needs of each individual patient. By embracing AI and digital imaging, practitioners are able to tailor medical devices that are sized and designed to fit the individual. 

Transferring Health Systems to the Cloud

For technology to operate seamlessly across platforms and facilities, a strong and comprehensive technological foundation will need to be implemented. Transferring data and health systems to the cloud will enhance visibility, ensuring communication across networks – physician offices, patients, insurance companies, radiology labs, pharmacies, etc. – can happen effectively and without disruption. Cloud-based platforms are rooted in interoperability, offering a secure method of quickly transmitting private patient information regardless of time or geographic location.

As we move forward from today, evolving healthcare technology will continue impacting the way hospitals and healthcare facilities deliver care. Organizations must begin modernizing their operations and offerings in order to maintain a competitive presence and maximize patient outcomes. 

An important piece of moving the needle forward for your healthcare facility relies on having the right people in place. To learn more about how the recruitment specialists at Polaris can help you attract candidates with the skills needed to drive innovation and growth for your organization, contact us today.