In Part II of this series, the article detailed the invasion of technology into healthcare, and its profound significances on the changing of healthcare in human lives.

Even so, the belief of technology replacing healthcare professionals (HCPs) is still fiction and human input is still valuable. Hence, human judgement and computer logic needs to work synergistically and must be perceived as complementary to each other.

Through this method, the future of the healthcare industry will be redefined and continue to advance further. Looking into the future, what will become of the future for this industry?

1. Emerging cloud as core platforms

With the ability to provide services on demand with access anytime and anywhere, more are adopting cloud technology across the healthcare industry. Not forgetting more revenues will be opened up for drug and device companies.

According to BCC Research, a compounded annual growth rate for cloud computing in healthcare is expected to have an increase of 11.6% between 2017 and 2022 in the global market.

Cloud-based solutions will be a greater investment in the near future for convenient and fast data-sharing.
Cloud-based solutions will be a greater investment in the near future for convenient and fast data-sharing.

With cloud computing, instant online access to patients’ images and reports will provide better diagnostic quality. Even now, several countries have been using electronic health records (EHR) to better manage patients’ database – including Singapore and Malaysia.

However, the transition of ‘traditional’ healthcare systems to a cloud-computing environment will be an intimidating process for many.

“Investing in cloud for healthcare providers represents a cultural change that will require time to realise,” says Michael Sullivan, BCC Research Senior Editor for Information Technology (IT). “But even still, BCC Research expects a greater portion of total healthcare IT spending to migrate to cloud technologies.”

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2. Precision medicine over traditional medicine

With the growth of the cloud platform comes the availability for bigger data storage and data analytics. In addition to the Human Genome Project, precision medicine has progressed rapidly and will continue to do so in the IT sector of healthcare.

Precision medicine is commonly used in treating cancer. According to a study last October, it has made more progress in the cancer field.

Though precision medicine does not yet apply to everyone, it is hoped that it will one day be tailored to the genetic changes in each person’s cancer. Photo credit: National Cancer Institute at NIH
Though precision medicine does not yet apply to everyone, it is hoped that it will one day be tailored to the genetic changes in each person’s cancer. Photo credit: National Cancer Institute at NIH

"While at present only a small proportion of cancer patients benefit from targeted therapies," Professor Ze’ev Ronai, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), Canada explains, "great efforts are ongoing to extend the scope of precision oncology to a broader spectrum of patients."

Although precision medicine needs to go beyond genetic analysis to understand the multiple factors influencing health and diseases, it can be seen to be entering mainstream medicine in the near future.

According to Professor Michael P Snyder, Director of the Centre for Genomics and Personalised Medicine at Stanford University, California, currently very few things are measured and done infrequently. However, “in the future, we will be making many measurements, hundreds if not thousands, every time we sample someone. Many measurements will be continuous using wearable devices,” he adds.

3. Wearable devices reshaping healthcare

Wearable devices for healthcare is becoming more popular in the market. Real-time data about the patients can be generated, allowing the wearers to report their subjective symptoms more accurately.

Wearable technology will shift to new markets and applications, and not just on smartwatches and smart eyewear. Photo credit: Smart Insights
Wearable technology will shift to new markets and applications, and not just on smartwatches and smart eyewear. Photo credit: Smart Insights

Wearable technology has been mainly boosted by fitness, such as the Apple Watch with a heart rate monitor, or an electrocardiogram (ECG) that will soon be inserted. These gadgets have been successful as they are handy to users and easy to integrate into their daily lives.

According to a survey conducted in 2016, customers trusted health organisations, including doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies – the most – when referring to wearables. As such, this indicates a big opportunity for healthcare organisations to partner with technology companies to create connections with the consumers.

Furthermore, with virtual reality applications providing experience-based applications for clinicians and patients, wearables will continue to evolve. This market is predicted to increase eight times by 2020, with healthcare seeing the biggest gains.

4. Greater obstacle in maintaining security

As more data transition is heading towards the digital era, privacy, confidentiality and security will pose more problems to the healthcare industry.

Looking only in 2018, cyberattacks are said to have doubled, despite increased attention and investment on security. This in turn poses a major risk to medical technology and device companies.

On the other hand, with cloud being accessible by almost everyone, “the trust factor for the cloud is definitely an obstacle,” says Austin Justice, Vice President of Justice IT Consulting. “The top two concerns for the cloud are security and ownership of data,” he adds.

Even so, more than 80% of information technology (IT) organisations in the healthcare industry are using cloud computing today. The challenge is to develop a security solution that provides the optimal trade-off between security, usability and cost. MIMS


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Sources:
http://www.healthexec.com/topics/care-delivery/10-predictions-healthcare-industry-growth-2018
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/this-is-what-the-future-of-healthcare-looks-like/
https://getreferralmd.com/2018/01/future-healthcare-technology-advancements-2018/
https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/01/30/1314084/0/en/New-BCC-Research-Report-Estimates-Global-Market-for-Healthcare-Cloud-Computing-to-Reach-35-0B-by-2022.html
http://searchcloudprovider.techtarget.com/feature/Cloud-for-healthcare-What-is-the-role-of-IT-channel-firms
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/precision-medicine
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319875.php
https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/wearables-statistics-2017/
http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/managed-healthcare-executive/news/top-10-healthcare-wearables-watch