July 9, 2024

Healthcare Technology Trends [2024]

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Healthcare

Healthcare Technology Trends: AI, Telemedicine, Robotics and More

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Healthcare

Healthcare Technology Trends: AI, Telemedicine, Robotics and More

Technology development could not evade such a vital industry as healthcare. The aging population, understaffing healthcare system, and increased workload stimulate people to find solutions for effective and accessible healthcare institutions' work and management, better ways for patient treatment, and disease prevention. Implementation of healthcare technology trends is one of the bright approaches to follow.

Key Takeaways

  • The most advanced medical technology includes artificial intelligence (AI), telemedicine, AR/VR, wearable devices, 3D printing, robotics, and personalized medicine. Their applications and development are expected to grow over the next few years, and investors and healthcare professionals see them as future-proof.
  • Healthcare technology trends continue to evolve, changing the landscape of healthcare delivery. AR/VR, digital twins, and 3D printing facilitate better staff education and training. At the same time, telemedicine virtual assistants and robots provide better and more personalized patient care.
  • Updating legacy systems is vital for every healthcare organization striving for better treatment results, streamlining workflows, better data storage and analysis, and cost savings. Implementing technology trends in healthcare can help reap the benefits of technological advancements.
  • Whether updating the system, introducing new features, or developing a new app from scratch, a professional healthcare development services provider is needed. NEKLO specialists are ready to discuss your project and deliver quality results.

Artificial Intelligence for Data Management, Drug Discovery and Mental Health

AI in healthcare: better data management, drug discovery, and mental health diagnosis and treatment.

When we think about information technology advancements in healthcare, AI is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And for a good reason: today, artificial intelligence is widely used for diagnostics and disease detection, medical data management, and analysis.

Let's discover the main areas of AI implementation in healthcare.

Data management

Many healthcare EHR, EMR, and CRM systems use AI at one point or another. AI facilitates automation, document processing, wearable device data, and medical imaging analytics, improving workflow and health-related decision-making. It also assists with creating personalized care plans and can identify harmful drug interactions.

Drug discovery

Information technology advancements in healthcare also touch the pharmaceutical industry: here, AI is used to predict 3D protein structures, simulate biomolecular structures, and determine the drug's appropriate composition and stability. AI facilitates the discovery of new drug formulas that potentially can become cures for rare diseases. In addition, this most advanced medical technology reduces drug development time and cost.

Outstanding examples of AI use in big pharma include the drug discovery platform AtomNet for deep drug pipeline creation, Exscientia's platform that helps design molecules, the Cradle generative AI solution for protein engineering, and many more.

Overall, the key aspects of AI applications in pharmaceutical companies are:

  • Drug targets identification and validation
  • Clinical trials acceleration
  • Better medication management
  • Drug formulation enhancement
  • Regulatory compliance streamlining
  • Improved patient safety

Mental health

Recent technology trends in healthcare bring AI to mental health, providing better diagnosis, therapy development, and personalized treatment. It can monitor symptoms and reactions to treatment, helping to adjust individual treatment plans. AI also introduces personalized mental health exercises based on the user's activity, can detect illness symptoms based on chemical changes in the brain, and uses human speech analytics to search for early signs of dementia.

On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) is less enthusiastic about implementing AI in mental health diagnosis and treatment. It points out that AI still lacks transparency and encompasses methodological flaws. Yet, it accepts that AI is one of the cornerstones of the digital revolution, including healthcare.

Great examples of AI use in mental health treatment include the Woebot Health Platform. Built for professionals, it helps them increase patients' engagement and identify their rising mental health needs. Another example is Tess. The chatbot provides 24/7 emotional support and self-help chats. It can be customized for various audiences, such as patients, healthcare professionals, and non-profit organizations.

AI challenges in healthcare:

  • AI dependency on the quality of data it is trained on
  • Ethical considerations raised from personal data processing
  • Lack of transparency behind AI algorithms' decision-making
  • Responsibility for AI decisions' consequences

AI use cases in healthcare

More practical applications of AI in healthcare include:

  1. Blue Dot is a DaaS (data as a service) organization specializing in infectious disease spread detection, prevention, and risk management. The technology is based on data analysis with the help of AI, machine learning, cloud computing, and other emerging technologies.
  2. Freenome is an intelligent screening platform that facilitates early-stage cancer diagnosis through computational biology, machine learning, and AI. In February 2024, it received $254 million of investments to help the company improve its pipeline of single-cancer and tailored multi-cancer early detection tests.
  3. Suki AI is a healthcare enterprise assistant for clinicians that can generate notes, take dictation, recommend medical codes, answer questions, and more. It seamlessly integrates with major EHRs, is HIPAA compliant, and supports doctors across 99 specialties.

AI is a powerful tool that will bring more advancements in healthcare. Nevertheless, currently, it is widely used as a supplementary tool to professional human expertise due to AI challenges, such as the possibility of biased outcomes, data privacy and security issues, patient safety, and ethical concerns. The further development of AI is expected to overcome these challenges.

Telemedicine for Remote Patient Care

Telemedicine for Remote Patient Care

Quick refresher: Telemedicine delivers healthcare services remotely via modern communication means. This healthcare technology trend grew fast during COVID-19 and has not lost its position since then. So, what's new in the field?

  1. The growth of specialization applications. The apps for mental health, chronic disease management, dermatology, and other consultations.
  2. The emergence of hybrid care models. They will allow people to receive the required level of care in person and remotely. Through this comprehensive approach, patients can choose the most suitable variant of interaction.
  3. Specialized services development. Such as teleophthalmology, enables people to receive quality care on the far side through teleconferencing and digital imaging. Telesurgery enables healthcare professionals to conduct procedures remotely.
  4. Mobile health growth. It means increasing use of mobile device capabilities. Expect the rise of new apps focused on user engagement in self-care and encouragement to use mHealth apps for regular healthcare-related data contributions and preventive care.
  5. Deep EHR integration with telemedicine platforms. It will improve digital data sharing, streamline health records management, and care coordination between patients and healthcare providers.

Today, the use of telemedicine is forecasted to increase continuously in the coming years. Statista predicts that between 2024 and 2028, the online doctor consultations segment of the global digital health market is expected to grow by 13.7 million users, representing an increase of 11.74 percent.

Extended Reality for Medical Staff Training and Physical Therapy

Extended Reality for Medical Staff Training

You cannot imagine future trends in healthcare technology without augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which continue to develop and find more and more applicable scope. Let's take it more generally first.

Extended reality includes augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. They are all prospective for use in surgery assistance, improving telehealth apps, and remote patient support.

AR can help patients and medical staff to achieve better results through advanced training and exercises. The technology facilitates wound care management, access to real-time patient records, and seamless hospital navigation. The other functional areas include:

  • Medical education: Enhancing learning experience, creating immersive simulations of medical procedures, user instructions, and anatomy study.
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy: Creating interactive exercises, user engagement and patient guidance on rehabilitation journeys.
  • Surgery visualizations: A digital model of the entire surgery helps to plan the real one in more detail, process the details of every operation, and optimize its sequence.
  • 3D imaging: AR/VR transforms 2D medical images into interactive three-dimensional visualizations, allowing the detailed examination of complex structures.

VR can provide training scenarios for doctors and nurses to enhance their skills, from surgeon training with detailed anatomy visuals to blood sampling and CPR. The technology is a perspective for helping individuals who deal with phobias, creating an immersive digital experience.

AR and VR technologies also optimize healthcare workflows by streamlining data visualization and patient monitoring. VR is also quite helpful in patient education and effective communication — hyper realistic virtual models allow doctors to show information with great detail, facilitating patients' understanding of their condition.

Overall, the emerging AR/VR healthcare technology trend is expected to become more effective and accurate over the years, creating even more application areas.

IoT and Wearables for Remote Health Monitoring

IoT and Wearables for Remote Health Monitoring

In healthcare, the IoT concept involves connecting devices such as medical sensors, smartwatches, and fitness trackers to the Internet, enabling them to send and receive data. Wearables, as the name suggests, include devices you can use as accessories or wear on your body. They continuously collect patients' vital signs and other valuable metrics and transmit them to healthcare providers.

IoT and wearable devices applications:

Wearables enable remote patient health status monitoring via a fitness tracker or smartwatch. The data generally include heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen saturation level, and blood vitals measurements, such as volume and composition.

IoT implies connecting various devices and systems via healthcare organizations. It allows for faster medical equipment and inventory management, temperature and humidity monitoring automation in healthcare facilities to ensure proper storage conditions and remote patient monitoring.

Recent technological advancements:

  1. Bluetooth-enabled thermometers to facilitate temperature measurements for children and grown-ups. It comes in the form of disposable patches and provides doctors with a more efficient way of temperature monitoring.
  2. A comprehensive platform for addiction recovery treatment that includes health monitoring devices, telehealth support, and clinical dashboards. The project's goal is to make patient's recovery treatment more effective.
  3. The device helps to track the baby's vitals: pulse rate, blood oxygen level, wakings, and sleep trends in real time. It collects and stores health data, shows trends, and allows valuable insights to be gained.

The main challenge for wearables remains the same: accuracy. Wearable technology comes with limitations and may not be 100% precise. Each device manufacturer uses different algorithms and methodologies for sensors. Thus, other devices can display different results even when the real metric is constant.

Personalized Medicine for Tailored Care

Personalized Medicine for Tailored Care

Personalization is becoming the key factor in clients' attraction and retention worldwide, and this is also true for healthcare organizations. Modern means of collecting, transmitting, and analyzing patient personal health data enable healthcare organizations to provide more tailored prescriptions and recommendations for each patient, improving patient care quality.

Personal patient data allows the creation of personalized care plans based on lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors. The diversity of data accessible for analysis has rapidly increased over the years. It now includes medical imaging, test results, EHR diagnostics data, data from home testing kits and wearables, and even DNA testing.

The further development of personalized medical care will be aimed at:

  • Improvement of data quality, including medical imaging, lab tests, and data from wearable devices.
  • Enhancement of data integration and accessibility, combining various applications and technologies to create customized healthcare solutions.

Virtual Assistants for Health Advisory and Task Administration

Virtual Assistants for Health Advisory

While chatbots emerged among healthcare technology trends years ago, they remain in the lead positions in the domain. With the potential to further improve patient care, reduce costs, and streamline administrative tasks, they continue to develop close ties with AI, machine learning, voice recognition, and data analytics technologies and tools.

Virtual healthcare assistants and chatbots can make doctors' work and patients' lives easier. They provide seamless, patient-centered care, decrease the number of administrative tasks, and encourage patients to seek qualified help, acting in the field of preventive medicine.

Virtual assistant's key features include:

  • Medication and appointment reminders
  • 24/7 patient interaction
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Administrating tasks
  • Health advisory

The main concerns about using chatbots and virtual assistants are misinformation and errors that can lead to incorrect self-diagnosis. Additional common issues include ethical and privacy considerations. Nevertheless, chatbots provide timely medical advice for patients and reduce clinic waiting times. Future chatbot improvements will give them more human-like responses and increase speech recognition capability.

Digital Twins for Drug Development and Surgeries

Digital Twins for Drug Development and Surgeries

Digital twins as a technology trend was applied as far as in the 1960s by NASA, but recently expanded to the healthcare industry. The idea of digital twins is to create a virtual interactive model of the real thing — organ, bone, or system, for example, and analyze their work, characteristics, and behavior in certain simulated situations.

Making it simple, the digital twin technology consists of 3 parts:

  1. A physical object
  2. A virtual copy of this object
  3. Data flow between real sensors and virtual model

The technology sparked interest in giants such as Microsoft and Nvidia, who now try to improve and make it more accessible. But there are real examples already accessible on the market! Twin Health uses digital twins technology to help people mitigate chronic metabolic conditions.

First, it analyzes an individual's health data to identify the condition. Second, it gathers real-time patient data using smart devices and wearables. Third, Twin Health develops a personal whole-body digital twin that indicates a person's metabolism and other characteristics. Finally, the company issues lifestyle recommendations, ongoing feedback, and support to improve current health conditions.

Digital twins are a promising healthcare technology that could revolutionize personalized care, drug development, and medical operations.

3D Printing for Medical Training, Personalized Prosthetics and Implant Manufacturing

3D Printing for Medical Training, Personalized Prosthetics and Implant Manufacturing

3D printing is one of the most advanced and dynamically developing medical technologies. It allows the manufacture of 3-dimensional objects through an additive process. It shows great potential in healthcare, opening the perspectives for organ replacement, prosthetics, medical equipment design, and more.

3D printing technologies implementation in healthcare:

  • Manufacturing of surgical tools and implants
  • Creation of product based on patient-specific anatomy
  • Use of 3D printed models for training complex surgical procedures
  • The potential for organ and tissue printing
  • Creation of customized medication dosages
  • Personalized prosthetics for a perfect match

3D printing ideas that have already come to life to some extent include printing blood vessels, heart valves, and living tissues of various organs and replicating human ears and noses. However, the domain faces many challenges, like the lack of regulation, the high cost of printers and materials, and the need for more trained personnel.

Robotics for Surgery Assisting and Recovery Support

Robotics for Surgery Assisting and Recovery Support

In the 1980s, the first robots in healthcare provided surgical assistance in the form of robotic arm technology. Since then, the world has changed. Today, robots not only assist in complex surgeries but also support medical personnel and enhance patient care. Robotics and automation help to cope with previously manual, repetitive, and high-flux tasks, allowing professionals to focus on high-priority and strategic tasks.

How exactly can robots help healthcare organizations?

  • Cleaning and sterilizing
  • Home patient care
  • Recovery support
  • Sample transportation
  • Virus testing
  • Surgery assisting
  • Medication serving
  • Person-to-person contact limitation

Robots can reduce personnel workloads, streamline clinical workflows, and improve patient care in understaffed clinics and hospitals. Regarding infectious diseases or pathogen disposition, robots can maintain a safe work environment by transporting supplies to and from unsafe areas.

Surgical robots become more precise each year. They help surgeons perform complex operations and contribute to surgical robotics training. In the future, surgical robots are expected to better implement AI and, hopefully, take over small subprocedures.

Legacy Systems Upgrade

Legacy Systems Upgrade

Outdated systems updates or their complete replacement are also considered information technology advancements in healthcare. Healthcare providers should innovate to keep pace with time and secure protected patient information. Each year, the healthcare software market offers more advanced and secure solutions for better data management and improved patient care outcomes. Without timely updates, the healthcare organization risks losing efficiency and being outrun by competitors. That is why legacy healthcare system upgrades are trendy.

How clinics and hospitals can upgrade their EHR/EMR/HIS or telemedicine systems:

  • Migration from legacy systems
  • Switching on to modern healthcare systems
  • Partial rebuilding and update of legacy systems

To succeed, healthcare providers must have a clear strategic direction and instigate a cultural mindset shift. The modern healthcare system facilitates seamless data exchange, data collection, and analysis and allows one to gain a competitive advantage.

Wrapping Up

In the future, we will examine further advancements in actual trends in healthcare technology and perhaps new ways of implementing it. Today, such technologies as AI, telemedicine, and AR/VR facilitate the work of millions of healthcare workers worldwide, bringing quality patient care.

If you need a reliable partner for healthcare software development, NEKLO professionals are ready to provide top expertise and find the best solution for your business. Contact us to get a free consultation on your project.