How Technology Is Digitizing The Healthcare Scene
Digital technology is changing every industry as well as almost every facet of modern human life in developed countries. However, few industries are seeing changes as profound and widespread as the healthcare industry. Here, we’re going to look at both technologies and technological trends that are influencing both how we provide and receive healthcare.
More intelligent medicine
While doctors may have to go through a lot of education and training to gain the expertise they do, there are some tasks that are too complex for even the best of human minds. Artificial intelligence is in its infancy in the healthcare world but already being used to impressive effect. Google’s Deepmind AI was recently configured to help with breast cancer analysis, becoming over 10% more accurate in diagnoses of breast cancer than the human radiologists it was paired against. The ability to eliminate human error from the diagnoses part of medicine could end up saving thousands of lives a year.
The big impact of big data
One of the somewhat more recent developments in data processing is that of Big Data: when organizations pull data from across disparate sources to end up with more complete datasets that allow them to make better predictions and decisions based on it. As the Big in Big Data symposium intends to show, Big Data is changing healthcare. It is allowing for remote patient tracking that can improve in-home care, allowing for better diagnoses through predictive analytics, and is even proving a big help in data-driven medical and pharmaceutical research, allowing for the quicker development of treatments.
Now, a doctor doesn’t always have to be present to allow for the most accurate and effective treatment. Remote medicine is being used more widely in a variety of ways. This can include telemedicine, such as having remote appointments using webcams. However, wearable health devices, healthcare trackers, and sensors have a huge role to play. These can track and record data that later becomes important in helping to make health care decisions. It can also help you set and track healthy lifestyle goals with your doctors based not on simple metrics but on specific recommendations.
A lucrative new target for hackers
Aside from being incredibly useful to those who can make use of it, the volumes of patient data collected by healthcare providers and agencies also serve as a tempting target for cyber-criminals. For ransom, fraud, and identity theft purposes, data is stolen from vulnerable systems. Health care institutions such as hospitals and insurance companies have become the targets of an increasing rate of cyberattacks. As such, there is a vital and urgent need for the industry to ensure that the right protections are in place to protect both the businesses and, more importantly, the patients whose data is at risk.
For better and worse, digital technology is likely to continue marching on, digging deeper into the ways that we interact with healthcare. It’s important for providers and customers alike to be aware that this means not only new developments but also new risks.