Big changes are coming down the pike in how our healthcare is structured and delivered, with radical technological change and innovation transforming services at lightning speed.
For example, an Accenture study this year shows 48 percent of healthcare executives in the U.S. now use automation extensively for IT tasks, 47 percent for customer interactions. A full 70 percent say they’re making more investments in embedded artificial intelligence, with 69 percent reporting more spending on machine learning.
The solutions leveraged are addressing multiple segments of the industry, including patient care, telemedicine, data-driven patient-profile systems and medical wearables.
Analysts hope the profound impact of big data can help address health-care costs expected to represent 19.6 percent of the national GDP by 2024. The possibilities extend from prediction to diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.
“By collecting and analyzing data that present a more comprehensive, detailed medical picture of entire patient populations, physician practices can monitor their patient panels more efficiently, often without scheduling additional office visits,” notes Dr. David Bates on AAFP.org.
An example is the “Care Orchestrator” connected care management application recently developed by Philips Healthcare to provide better home care for patients with respiratory and related sleep issues. The system monitors data from oxygen and ventilation devices, integrates it with clinical information and provides that valuable intelligence to the patient, payers and providers, any of which can intervene as needed.
In the U.S., the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients via telecommunications technology is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32 percent between 2013 and 2018, contributing to $38.5 billion in global revenues by 2018. The latest methodology allows for live, real-time transmission of images, data and sound; AMD Global Telemedicine reports it’s less expensive to use, easier to implement nationwide and better meets the demand for instantaneous exchanges of information.
Data-driven patient-profile systems
Big data is bringing improvements to patient care that would have seemed futuristic just a decade ago, and more innovation is on its way. The global market for health-care analytics is expected to see a CAGR of 24 percent, to nearly $16.9 billion, between 2015 and 2020.
An example is the emerging category of technology known as enterprise intelligence resources (EIR), which uses sophisticated algorithms to predict in real-time what’s likely to happen with various patients and their ailments. By integrating and analyzing massive data from multiple sources, EIRs can automatically and nearly instantaneously provide vital information like predicting which patients are likely to become sicker (i.e. be at risk of sepsis) when exposed to hospital environments, allowing for early interventions. In case studies, use of EIRs has reduced sepsis by double digits, reports Adam Klass on Electronichealthreporter.com.
“As a result, it is much easier to track numerous conditions and patient safety risks, including emerging public health outbreaks,” notes Klass. “This is critically important.”
By using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, he notes, EIRs can be delivered without special hardware or software and generally implemented within 90 business days.
The global medical wearable devices market encompassing biosensors that can monitor physiological data was worth more than $3.2 billion last year. It’s expected to exceed $7.9 billion in 2020, realizing a CAGR of 19.8 percent over that time. A recent study points to drivers that include the market penetration of smartphones and smart watches, the trend in easier-to-interpret medical devices and the increasing incidence of chronic diseases like diabetes.
A forerunner in such products is GE Healthcare, which is focusing on the development of IT and network computing, as well as the miniaturization of sensing and wireless technology.
Technological innovations in the healthcare industry continue to provide physicians with new ways to improve the quality of care delivered to their patients and improve the state of healthcare. Through technology that allows these professionals to collect and analyze data, the medical industry and patients will continue to benefit.