Today’s world is in a state of constant change and adaptation. The medical field is no exception. With the introduction of the internet and social media, medical research and clinical investigations have become easier to access, understand, or partake in.
From digital health records to blockchain technology, new opportunities are emerging every day for patients and doctors alike. New advancements appear on the horizon with every passing day and bring with them a wave of healthcare professionals scrambling to get their hands on these advancements. This wave, in turn, brings with it a series of what we know as “trends,” which are advancements that are popular with the masses for multiple reasons, such as convenience and development. You can attend an online consultation and book your deep teeth cleaning by a dentist in rockefeller Center from the comfort of your own home. The medical field is no different, with medical professionals opting to use these “trends” to their advantage and changing traditional methods at their leisure. So, let’s take a look at some of the trends that are transforming healthcare as we know it.
Healthcare Systems Engineering Degrees
Many medical professionals are now choosing to earn degrees in areas other than just medicinal and physical. These courses offer students an opportunity for specialized development in data analytics, software development, security architecture, big data analytics, bio-engineering, and much more. These degrees are now in high demand, as employers are actively looking for experts in medical technology to usher in an era of biotechnological advancement. The one field that has garnered serious attention by STEM field pursuers is healthcare systems engineering.
As modern-day medicine is dependent on matters other than just medicinal and pharmaceutical knowledge, such as technology and statistics, and healthcare systems engineering supports many of the preferred modern concepts. It can safely be inferred that this degree will soon evolve from just a trend into a staple.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Healthcare
Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic ever since computers were first introduced to the world. However, it only entered the healthcare industry in 2011 when IBM’s supercomputer “Watson” appeared to identify patients with cancer on its own. Since then, artificial intelligence has slowly taken over many aspects of medical treatment around the world.
Most notably, AI is being used for diagnosis and planning treatments by various research institutions across the globe. As technology advances and studies allow new data to be applied to medicinal and technological advances, we will see AI become even more involved in healthcare practices and establish itself far beyond the placement of being simply a trend to become a staple in medical practices.
Clinical Trials Tracking Systems
With the current rise in pharmaceutical investments, tracking information is critical in developing any new technology, especially for clinical trials. Currently, there is a rising demand for electronic clinical trial tracking systems to be utilized in the healthcare sector. These systems help reduce operational costs and provide transparency in clinical trials that were previously impossible to achieve during their duration.
Blockchain & Medical Records
With advancements in technology come new ways to organize and improve processes in all industries. This holds firm for the medical sector as well — blockchain-encrypted health records could be the next big thing when it comes to keeping medical information safe and secure from hackers and thieves while keeping patient records completely anonymous and accessible by only those who have permission.
Mobile Health Technology
Mobile health technology, also known as mHealth, is an important trend that is becoming increasingly popular in the medical sphere today. As its name suggests, mHealth involves using mobile technology to augment or replace traditional healthcare practices and strategies that medical professionals use daily. Quite like telehealth systems, mobile health technology is now being used in areas such as remote patient monitoring, instant diagnosis, and more.
Care-coordination teams are designed with the intent of streamlining processes in seriously ill or injured patients. As opposed to calling for help from an outside source, care coordination teams are specifically designed to act as a sort of “hub” where various doctors and medical professionals can work with each other without going through the initial process of getting permission via email or phone call.
Patient Experience Apps
In the early 2010s, patient experience sites such as GoCanvas were introduced for use by patients to rate their overall satisfaction with their doctor’s office. Patients were given the opportunity to provide feedback on their visit after it had been completed, and their reviews were posted online to inform other patients about their experience.
Later, patient experience apps became more advanced with the addition of features such as online scheduling and health trackers. This allowed patients to view their appointment information and mark themselves as being present at a particular location. Patients were also able to give reviews regarding the facility they visited, which helped doctors improve their overall patient care system. Today, in 2021, these apps have come far from their initial beta versions and are now increasingly being put into use worldwide, specifically in countries with advanced healthcare.
Tele-observation is a branch of telehealth, where instead of interacting with a doctor, patients can now opt to observe hospital employees through cameras placed in various areas. Doctors observing the patient through these cameras may see something that others might not, which could indicate further need for an assessment or re-evaluation of treatment options.
There are now specific instances where hospitals can perform surgery over a web cam. This allows doctors who are located far away to operate on patients without being physically present in the same facility as the patient. The only requirement for teleoperation surgery is that the hospital’s camera system needs to be well-established and working properly.
Mobile Medical Textbooks
With the growing popularity and use of mobile technology in healthcare, it comes as no surprise that mobile medical textbooks can now be downloaded and utilized on a smartphone. This allows medical students to access their textbooks from literally anywhere as far as they can access the internet. This has helped reduce costs for both companies and individuals in the education sector and has become highly sought-after in many universities worldwide. With education and information being readily available to those with merit alongside those with financial resources, the healthcare system will find a rise in doctors with skill, talent, and potential, rather than having the field saturated majorly by those who can afford expensive supplies.
These are only ten out of the many healthcare trends that are shaping our future, but it can be assumed that these ideas will continue to innovate and improve over the next few decades. While they may not be as large-scale and revolutionary a concept as the formation of the first hospital, which relied on doctors to use their extensive knowledge of anatomy to unravel mysterious diseases, they will still greatly benefit patients both in current and future generations. These trends are often just the beginning of landmark developments that might transform the field as a whole. Though these are just a handful of them, they are the ones with the most potential to change healthcare as we know it.
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