Healthcare Technology Breakthroughs and Digital Advances in 2022
COVID-19’s imprint is still felt around the world, even though the year 2021 has passed. Healthcare, of all the industries that have been eternally transformed by the global pandemic’s effects, has arguably changed the most. The healthcare business has changed in unique ways to continue to give the same great level of service, thanks to substantial developments in technology and processes required to meet the increased demand for healthcare access and expanding digitalization of protected health information.
As we move forward, it’s vital to keep an eye on the trends that will shape healthcare technology in 2022. While legacy software and infrastructure are vital to the operation of modern hospitals and care centers, it’s also necessary to think about how old systems can merge with newer technology or be replaced with more reliable systems in the future. Performance, productivity, efficiency, and security should all be prioritized without losing reliability or accessibility.
Let’s take a look at the most essential technologies that have the potential to alter your business if you’re ready to learn more about the tech advancements propelling the healthcare industry toward digital transformation this year.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare is the first trend to emerge.
Artificial intelligence has made a lot of noise as a valuable technology in 2022, especially in the healthcare industry.
The role of an AI in COVID-19. Our civilization has been profoundly affected by the global epidemic, yet cutting-edge technology has allowed us to keep ahead of the curve. In fact, a corporation based in Toronto, Canada was able to anticipate the global spread of COVID-19. Their BlueDot tool can detect harmful breakouts in near real time by examining 100,000 media sources in over 65 languages on a daily basis.
Machine learning advancements in vaccine development have also made significant progress. COVID-19 vaccines have been generated in significantly less time than ever before thanks to the use of machine learning to aid in the identification of protein fragments.
In mental health, artificial intelligence. Advances in artificial intelligence aren’t just for physical wellness. Academics at MIT and Harvard University used machine learning to track patterns and mental health in the COVID-19 outbreak. Using an AI model, they were able to assess hundreds of online Reddit messages and determined that suicidality and loneliness have essentially risen with time. This has the potential to revolutionize how we think about large groups of people’s mental health.
Processing of natural language. Chatbots have the ability to boost telehealth’s efficiency. UCLA researchers created a Virtual Interventional Radiologist by combining chatbot technology with AI algorithms (VIR). This was created to assist patients in self-diagnosing as well as clinicians in diagnosing those patients. Natural language processing-powered chatbots aren’t yet ready to provide primary diagnosis, but they can help with the process. They’re also well-equipped to assist patients in gathering information before effective treatment can begin.
Telemedicine and the Evolution of Remote Care
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, telehealth has come a long way. In the year 2022, health care experts will hold regular video conference discussions with patients over the Internet to address their concerns and offer suggestions. The infrastructure that allows this to happen has substantially improved. By 2026, the telehealth market is estimated to reach $185.6 billion. With that in mind, what does the future hold for us?
Obedience to regulations. Before we get into that, one of the most crucial aspects of telemedicine is HIPAA compliance. Although certain limits were eased during the pandemic’s peak in 2020, it’s critical for healthcare providers to think about the apps they’re utilizing to interact with their patients.Are they secure and certified to handle private health information?
For video conferencing, use WEBRTC. In many cases, a more dedicated solution is necessary that can conform to legal privacy standards more specifically. WebRTC, an open-source API-based system that connects web browsers and mobile applications and enables for the transmission of audio, video, and data, is one of the most significant technologies that will be required if you need a dedicated telemedicine app. This is very useful for services like teleconferencing.
Data storage and cloud hosting. While most cloud storage systems are relatively safe, they are not always comply with government rules regarding protected health information. Cloud hosting solutions that are HIPAA compliant are essential for any healthcare organization that uses electronic health records to preserve performance and efficiency (EVR).
Teleconferencing and data hosting aren’t the only capabilities that could be beneficial to your company. Other elements that could be useful include security, location services, appointment management, secure messaging, healthcare provider reviews, visit history, and wearable connectivity.
Some apps, such as Google Fit and Apple HealthKit, may require to store fitness data from consumer devices. Maintaining these linkages in a secure and effective manner can be extremely beneficial to both the patient and the caregiver.
Extended Reality in Healthcare Settings
In the healthcare industry, extended reality, which includes augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, offers a lot of promise. AR and VR technology have the potential to significantly improve the healthcare business, from assisting surgery to assisting telehealth applications.
In a variety of healthcare situations, augmented reality and mixed reality can be beneficial. The usage of mixed reality headsets like the Microsoft Hololens 2 by surgeons is one of the most popular and useful applications of this technology. The headgear can give the surgeon real-time information while allowing them to utilize both hands during the procedure.
Not only can this knowledge augment these surgeries, but it can also be a collaborative and distant endeavor that aids with training. Other doctors can watch the surgery and offer assistance thanks to the headset’s head-mounted camera view. The device’s holographic nature can also be used to enhance training. AR headsets, which are becoming more popular, can be used for similar applications. In order to broaden its use to new sorts of procedures in the future, more specialized software solutions will be required.
The use of augmented reality isn’t limited to headsets and operating rooms. Nurses can use the technology to help them discover veins to collect blood from.
The debate over whether Facebook’s rebranding to Meta and focus on social virtual reality experiences is justified is raging. It is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not you are willing to invest in this. Even if the metaverse is massively exaggerated, virtual reality has some possibilities in healthcare settings.
Training is one of the most useful applications of virtual reality in healthcare that is now in use. Doctors can improve their abilities and prepare for procedures by creating virtual training scenarios. In some cases, virtual reality can be utilized to treat patients. The Virtual Reality Medical Center, for example, employs VR treatment to help people with phobias like fear of heights.
IoT and Wearables in Healthcare
Wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies’ potential in the healthcare industry has expanded dramatically as they have become more mainstream. Many have coined the term “Internet of Medical Things” to describe this microprocessing trend’s applicability in telemedicine and telehealth technology.
At the start of 2021, there were 11.3 billion connected IoT devices. From USD 26.5 billion in 2021 to USD 94.2 billion in 2026, the global IoT medical devices market is expected to grow to USD 94.2 billion. IoT cannot be overlooked as the healthcare business becomes increasingly connected through various technologies.
The advancement of wearable technology is one of the most essential innovations in the healthcare industry. The capacity to remotely monitor a patient’s condition throughout the day, or for an individual to monitor their own condition, is extremely valuable. According to a Deloitte poll, 39 percent of consumers own a smartwatch. With consumer smartwatches becoming more readily available, it’s worth noting their potential for healthcare applications.
Heart rate is one of the most fundamental features that a smartwatch may provide for monitoring a person’s health. A smartwatch, on the other hand, can measure more than just this. With pedometers and blood oxygen saturation monitoring, these devices can also keep track of your physical wellness. Low oxygen saturation in the blood
The ability of smartwatches to measure blood vitals in their users is also improving. Photoplethysmography (PPG) is an optical technique for determining blood volume and composition fluctuations. It can now supply users with more data about their blood vitals than ever before because it has been downsized for use on smartwatches. This information can be used by healthcare providers to better counsel patients and finalize diagnoses.
Smartwatches aren’t the only wearables with potential in the medical field. The impact of bio patches and smart hearing aids is comparable. Without the usage of a smartwatch, bio patches can provide a better insight of a person’s vitals. Hearing aids can also benefit from artificial intelligence to increase noise isolation.
Pills with intelligence. The concept of a smart pill, which transforms the Internet of Things into the Internet of Bodies, is one of the most profound uses for IoT technology in healthcare. Smart pills are edible electronics that can supply healthcare providers with important information about their patients in addition to acting as medications. The first FDA-approved smart medication was released in 2017.
Getting all of these computers to interact with each other can be difficult, especially with the industry trend toward using multiple microcontrollers in conjunction. Another stumbling block is that practically every manufacturer has their own proprietary protocol for getting their gadgets to communicate with one another. Integration may be difficult as a result of this.
Many environmental conditions can impair communications, which can make connectivity a problem. Buffering methods on local microcontrollers must grow more robust to combat this. Security is also a major problem.
In 2022, Healthcare Privacy and Security.
Privacy and security, in addition to efficiency and quality of care, are top priorities in the healthcare industry. Kroger pharmacy data was compromised in a data breach in February 2021, thanks to Accellion’s FTA secure file-transfer service. They aren’t the only ones that think this way. Last year, over 550 businesses had data breaches that affected over 40 million people, according to HealthITSecurity.com.
Making sure your company complies with HIPAA is a crucial first step in avoiding costly data breaches. If you serve patients from all over the world, it’s a good idea to think about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
Some healthcare providers are able to communicate with patients using technologies such as Facetime and Skype, which may not be fully compatible with government rules. Although the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has previously established reduced enforcement standards for organizations during a public health emergency, it is crucial not to rely on that discretion. As the outbreak subsides, enforcement will return to normal. Getting ahead of the game now can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Although compliance video conferencing software is available, there are situations when a more tailored solution is required. This is especially true if the present data infrastructure does not work well with the solutions available. More importantly, if a healthcare provider wants to use an existing system to exchange ePHI with patients through third party software, they will have to obtain a business associate exception with the vendor which can be tedious and difficult.
There’s still no guarantee that the third-party program will keep patient information safe. Furthermore, it is challenging to keep information secure during remote medical calls. The transmission of structured ePHI data is required, and these calls can complicate the procedure.
Organ Care Technology & Bioprinting
Organ transplants are an essential element of the healthcare sector, with the global transplantation market expected to reach $26.5 billion by 2028. Every year, around 2,000 heart transplants are performed in the United States, according to Matthew J Everly. However, over 50,000 people are predicted to require a heart transplant. What can be done to assist all of these heart disease patients?
Improving organ care technologies is one solution to this problem. This entails looking after the organ when it is not in the body. The Transmedics Organ Care System, which is in operation at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, is a fantastic example. Through adequate care, heat, and nutrition, this gadget can keep a heart, lung, or liver outside of the body for several hours.
It’s likely that the future of this technology will rely on artificial intelligence to take action without the need for a doctor’s assistance in order to keep the organ alive for longer periods of time.
More crucially, machine learning may be able to better evaluate whether or not an organ that is being kept is acceptable for transplantation. The sooner this can be determined, the more lives that can be saved.
Other options should be considered in addition to keeping organs alive outside of the body. Despite the fact that it may sound like science fiction, 3D printed organs are a very real, albeit still developing, technology that has already been put through clinical trials. Organs such as the ears, corneas, bones, and skin are all undergoing clinical trials for 3D bioprinting.
The procedure is similar to that of regular 3D printing. To begin, make a computer model of the tissue. Because the materials utilized in the printing process are literally live cells termed bioink, careful attention to resolution and matrix structure is required. They must then use stimulation to test the organ’s functionality.
Using the cells of the patient requesting transplantation is one technique to prevent organ rejection. These cells can be cultured and then developed into the bioink required for printing.
Bioprinting has been attempted in the past, but it has yet to gain traction in the mainstream. Organs could be better tailored to be compatible with their new hosts using AI analysis of organs and recipient patient features.
As the year 2022 approaches, healthcare technology will continue to advance in all areas. Although security will improve across the board, threats will continue to evolve and must be addressed through prevention rather than reaction. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and extended reality, among other revolutionary and emerging technologies, will continue to improve the quality and efficiency of care.
Time and money are both on the line when selecting how to update your healthcare company. It’s critical that you work with a software engineering team that understands your demands and goals.
Tsymbal, O. (2022, January 25). Healthcare Technology Trends and Digital Innovations in 2022. MobiDev. https://mobidev.biz/blog/technology-trends-healthcare-digital-transformation