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How do you imagine the medicine of the future? A doctor from the office conducts an examination using a holographic projection, and intelligent devices order medicines themselves, monitor the state of the body online and give personalized recommendations. But is that future so far away? The top 10 digital healthcare solutions show that it is much closer than it seems.
Every year, IT solutions in healthcare are increasingly used. Modern information technologies in medicine are a set of methods and tools for processing medical data in integral technological systems for creating, using, storing, transferring and protecting an information product.
The digitalization of medicine is the process of introducing and applying IT technologies, and digital health strategies, which affects all processes – from the management of the healthcare system to the practical activities of doctors in the field. Digitalization implies a qualitative transformation of medicine, increasing its efficiency by optimizing and automating the system, and organizing the efficient work of all its links in both the public and private segments.
According to the latest data by Statista, the digital health innovation market is rapidly growing and is forecasted to reach $660 billion by 2025. The explosive growth of innovations in digital health is facilitated by new solutions in the field of AI for diagnosis, sensors, robotics, wireless communications, information processing and analysis, and augmented and virtual reality. The growth in industry demand for IT solutions is also associated with an increase in the proportion of patients with chronic diseases, and the need to provide them with constant monitoring and long-term care. The coronavirus pandemic has become a powerful driver for the development of digital health strategies.
NEKLO experts identified major innovative health solutions that are in demand right now and below we will overview them.
The market of healthcare digital solutions is quite large and includes various directions. Below are the main, largest market segments, based on the predominant use of the technologies.
Much attention is paid to biosensors, which are key elements of wearable devices such as fitness bracelets and smartwatches. They serve for the operational monitoring of individual indicators of the body and are especially in demand among patients with chronic diseases who need to constantly monitor several physiological parameters at once (blood sugar level, blood pressure, etc.). These technology solutions for healthcare can send the collected information to a doctor and, if necessary, even call an ambulance. They also stimulate more responsible users’ behaviour concerning their health and the spread of the concept of a healthy lifestyle.
Telemedicine has become one of the most popular areas for the use of digital health innovations on the market agenda, which is primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to comply with quarantine measures and social distancing, and the transition of most services online. Thanks to telemedicine solutions, it has been possible to significantly reduce the burden and costs of healthcare (according to experts, remote consultation is about 20% cheaper than a face-to-face consultation) and increase the availability of medical care. Meanwhile, the list of medical services provided remotely that patients can count on is still limited: correction of the treatment regimen, obtaining an appointment for additional studies or visiting narrow specialists. The diagnosis can be made only at internal consultation with the doctor.
Telemedicine is a trend that is already actively developing and will definitely continue to develop in the future. NEKLO is contributing to the development of sustainable healthcare and delivers HubChart – the first HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution for patient engagement and collaboration.
The triad of research priorities, which are also significant for the market, along with biosensors and telemedicine, includes electronic health records. The digital health platforms used to convert medical records to digital forms increase the convenience of providing medical services and the speed of transferring medical information, reducing the routine work of doctors, allowing them to concentrate on treating patients. Moreover, artificial intelligence algorithms can analyze data from electronic medical records and generate timely recommendations: notify about the need to undergo an examination or update a prescription for medicines. The development of this direction requires the creation of unified formalized approaches to the collection, storage and transmission of data, as well as ensuring a higher level of information security.
Brain-computer interfaces have a serious potential for restoring lost body functions. In particular, such ehealthcare solutions are used for the treatment of neurodegenerative and mental diseases and neurorehabilitation. Thus, based on such devices, neuro-controlled prostheses are being created for the movement of limbs and fingers. Completely paralyzed people can communicate with the outside world using such interfaces, controlling their smartphone with the “power of thought”. The development of neurotechnologies and a deeper understanding of the principles of the brain will allow the development of future interfaces for expanding human capabilities, for example, stimulating cognitive abilities or controlling the emotional background.
Big medical data accumulated both within the framework of electronic medical document management and in the course of clinical, genetic and other studies can be used to create clinical data management platforms. These healthcare innovation solutions also use artificial intelligence technologies, which can improve the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, these systems allow you to instantly check the patient’s tolerance to prescribed medicines, and their compatibility with medicines that a person is already taking.
Today, worldwide there are more than 6.5 billion smartphones. Thanks to the widespread penetration of smartphones and the development of ubiquitous Internet access, mHealth applications are increasingly spreading. Now among them, the most popular are those that help lead a healthy lifestyle (track physical activity, calorie intake, stimulate adherence to healthy habits, etc.).
In the medium term, such healthcare IT solutions are especially in demand among people with chronic diseases, providing them, including with the help of a wide range of biosensors, the function of continuous monitoring of various body characteristics (blood glucose levels, blood pressure, etc.) can become leaders. Patient-oriented services are also being developed that allow you to quickly find the right doctor and make an appointment, as well as intelligent chatbots for collecting anamnesis and searching for medical recommendations. Using such applications, people are increasingly involved in the process of maintaining their health, and their level of compliance (treatment adherence) increases.
Robotic surgeons appeared in the early 2000s. Now robotic systems are actively developing, they are used in almost all areas of surgery. These IT healthcare solutions are becoming more complex, acquiring new functions (flexible robotics, 3D visualization, voice control, etc.). As a result, the accuracy of surgical interventions is increased, the level of traumatization during operations is reduced, and the recovery time for patients is reduced.
Various assistive products make it possible to compensate for lost functions and organs, help people with disabilities lead an active lifestyle, and realize personal and professional ambitions. Worldwide, there are already more than 1 billion people experiencing significant disability, and by 2030 this number could double. To restore muscle activity and increase mobility, exoskeletons, robotic prostheses are used; systems based on virtual reality technologies are used to train motor skills. Intelligent voice assistants, assistant robots, and smart glasses with augmented reality help people with visual impairments. Special robots take care of patients, helping them get out of bed, sit in a wheelchair, and solve simple everyday tasks. Thanks to an assistive IT solution for healthcare, the burden on health and social care systems is reduced, and the need for the services of guardians and carers is reduced.
Another promising digital health solution is the analysis of medical images using computer vision algorithms, for example, in the detection of pathologies from X-rays, CT scans or mammograms, which increases the accuracy and speed of diagnosis. To train such algorithms, it will be necessary to form datasets containing a sufficient number of high-quality images.
Due to the development of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), it has become possible to combine various devices and sensors into a coherent ecosystem. The data in it is transferred in a formalized form to cloud storage, to which multi-user remote access can be organized. Combining the features of continuous monitoring of human physiological functions and timely tracking of critical changes reduces the number of studies conducted with the participation of medical staff, the cost of treatment, and the possibility of medical error. In therapy, the IoMT is used for smart devices: insulin pumps, smart pills, etc. In addition, such digital health solutions are used to optimize and control the work of medical institutions, for example, to assess the state of technology or accounting for medicines.
Digital transformation in the field of medicine determines its transition to the 4-P model, which implies the prediction and prevention of the development of diseases, personalization of therapy and patient participation while guaranteeing accessibility and high standards of medical care. Thus, the development of wearable biomonitoring devices can shift the focus from the treatment of diseases to their prevention or preclinical detection.
If you are thinking about the development of a digital healthcare solution or if you are interested in fostering the digital transformation in healthcare, NEKLO can become your reliable partner – just contact us through the form on our website and let’s create a solution for a better future together.