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Nextech Blog

Healthcare Advancements To Be Thankful For

Posted On 11/20/2018 by Shannon Woodworth

iStock-803235612As the healthcare industry moves forward with the shift into value-based care, there is a lot of discussion, frustration and confusion within the community around how this change will improve the current and future state of healthcare. These shifts and regulation changes are creating many pain points for healthcare organizations across the country. However, as we enter into the holiday season, we’d like to pause and think about areas of advancement for which we should be grateful. We live in an era of unprecedented access and discovery for medicine, and we sometimes lose sight of the amazing things we have achieved. Each one of the following trends is moving the needle toward more quality-driven, patient-focused care. Taken together, they stand to transform the industry in ways that have yet to be fully imagined.

Artificial Intelligence.

While this technology is being used to create “smart” medical equipment and biological products, such as enhanced image analysis, its application within healthcare is rapidly moving into more expansive functions. For example, as AI is incorporated into electronic health records (EHRs), it will go a long way toward optimizing patient care delivery and reimbursement.

Potential opportunities include:

  • Highly-intuitive interfaces that let providers work more efficiently and accurately
  • Routine process automation that speeds operations while improving accuracy
  • Voice recognition tools for faster charting
  • Virtual assistants that can help providers quickly respond to after-hours issues.

AI is also poised to reimagine data analytics, making it less retrospective and more predictive, allowing providers to get ahead of potential health problems and prevent them from occurring.

Telehealth.

Solutions that connect patients with providers outside of the care episode are transforming the patient care experience. Not only does this technology facilitate remote patient appointments, but it also enables robust vital sign monitoring, between-appointment communications and information sharing. These kinds of solutions can be especially beneficial in rural locations where access to providers—in particular, specialty providers—is sometimes difficult. Telehealth solutions can limit the need to drive long distances, but more importantly they can help physicians keep track of their patients between appointments, understand patient health challenges quicker, and be more proactive about care interventions and overall wellness.

Precision medicine.

The idea of using a patient’s genetics to focus treatment and care is evolving quickly, especially in the area of cancer therapy. As advancements continue, innovators are looking to apply what they’ve learned in oncology to other specialties as well. Going forward, this could play a role in helping ophthalmologists target treatment for genetically-linked eye conditions, including glaucoma and cancer. Dermatologists could also use it to better direct skincare interventions to more efficiently clear up eczema, mitigate the risk of cancer and address other more serious skin conditions.

It is truly a time to be thankful in the healthcare industry. Despite all the challenges and changes within our space, there are bright spots that are re-visioning the way we approach patient health and wellness. It will be exciting to see how current and emerging technologies will inspire the developments that will unfold over the coming years, such as the expansion of AI or precise medicine into further specialties. In the meantime, we share our gratefulness for how far healthcare has come and extend our gratitude to our clients for helping advance care every day through what you do. Here’s wishing everyone a happy – and healthy – Thanksgiving holiday!

Topics Technology Trends, Healthcare IT, Holiday

Shannon Woodworth

Communications Coordinator