The pandemic has drastically changed the medical care system. To respond to the need for modernization, the industry has embraced technological advances. Across the healthcare industry, we can see the use of new technologies to fight disease, develop vaccines and medicines, and help people lead healthier lives.
Since 2020, many technology companies have focused on using their expertise to solve the problems arising from the global pandemic. Healthcare is considered a sluggish industry in many ways. However, during the pandemic, many companies in the industry turned to technology and its ability to transform how their products and services are delivered.
The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the healthcare industry. The HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report reveals that 80% of healthcare providers plan to invest more in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. The rapid adoption of wearables, telemedicine, genomics and personalized medicine, with organizers using artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR), Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing to develop and deliver new treatments and services, will do so lead remain a prominent feature of the industry.
Let’s decode the top five post-pandemic medtech trends and opportunities.
Remote Health and Telemedicine
In the first months of the pandemic, the demand for remote medical consultations increased from 0.1% to 43.5%. This was because no one was willing to see a doctor in person, increasing the chances of spreading the virus. Leaving communicable diseases aside today, there are many other reasons that highlight the need to remotely screen, diagnose and treat patients. In places and regions with doctor shortages (India and China), the telemedicine trend has the potential to save lives by greatly expanding access to medical treatment.
Wearable health devices
IoT plays an important role in the growth and development of the healthcare sector. Wearable gadgets such as implants monitor patient transit time data on device applications for critical healthcare needs. These devices use medical data to save precious lives when it matters most. They shorten the time for regular check-ups and allow patients to detect abnormalities in their bodily functions. Patients can then report these changes to the responsible physician without visiting them.
The electronic devices have sensors that track calories, steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, etc. This real-time data is sent to an app that allows users to monitor their health. Wearable IoT devices have become vital for healthcare and positive impact on people’s health.
AI is disrupting healthcare
Artificial intelligence is a popular inclusion in various industries and healthcare is not left behind. AI is used together with IoT for healthcare services. Technology has improved versions of traditional medical instruments. Artificial intelligence synchronized with patented monitoring algorithms and real-time data has enabled physicians to analyze patient data and provide timely feedback to physicians. For example, with Bluetooth-powered artificial heart pacemakers, physicians can monitor accurate patient data logs in real time. As a result, it is easier for doctors to manage patient health crises.
A trend in healthcare that is revolutionizing the industry is the use of big data. Big data is changing the way available information is analyzed. As the amount of patients’ medical records and medication data increases, big data is of immense importance to create the patient’s treatment plan and relatively reduce their diagnostic costs, thereby improving the overall well-being.
In addition, big data analysis and advanced data mining techniques help treat rare diseases with the existing drugs and treatments available.
Personalized medicine and genomics
Traditionally, medicines and treatments have been developed according to the unitary principle. Studies have been conducted to optimize the effectiveness of drugs with the highest number of patients and the fewest number of undesirable side effects. With modern technologies such as AI, digital twins and genomics, there is an opportunity to take a more personalized approach. It can help to customize treatments according to individual needs.
Genomics, the study of genes and the use of technology to map individual genomes, are helping to develop personalized medicine. They help identify new treatments for serious diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Post-pandemic medical technology trends will quickly invade people’s daily lives. Their benefits are significant, as is the value they add to the lives of patients and physicians. You can improve the quality of life in the future. Wearable tech devices can monitor health, while AI and big data make it possible to make more concrete decisions related to a health issue.
Healthcare technology is advancing rapidly, and advances in medical technology and scientific innovation will redefine the healthcare industry.
(The author is the Chancellor and President of DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai)