Healthcare: Six Digital Trends for 2019 and Beyond

4 January 2019

Healthcare industry today is dynamically developing. Its rapid perfection puts medicine in the most advanced position. Undoubtedly, this is directly related to the social aspects of the field. Everyday innovations in medicine increasingly affect the quality of life of the population. Many healthcare projects certainly belong to the category of innovative medical technologies. We have long been accustomed to the transplantation of human organs, stem cell transplantation, and hearing about cloning processes. Modern technologies daily return the health of tens of thousands of patients, thanks to the introduction of information technology.


  1.    Artificial Intelligence

The medical industry, previously focused on the treatment of acute diseases, is paying more attention to chronic diseases: obesity, depression, and diabetes. Detection of heart failure, autoimmune disorders, and cancer in their early stages saves the lives of many patients but complicates the task of doctors. For medical geniuses with professional intuition and experience, it is not easy to make the right decisions, because with each passing hour the volume of medical data grows rapidly. To quickly solve problems, physicians need to use, in addition to their own, another intellect – artificial.

By artificial intelligence (AI), experts mean the ability of a machine to imitate rational human behavior. The machine must accept changing information and make optimal decisions.

Assistant to the doctor. With the help of machine learning algorithms, AI classifies a specific case, quickly scans the scientific literature on a given topic that has come out over a certain time interval, examines similar cases in the access and offers a treatment plan. The AI is able to provide an individualized approach, taking into account information about the patient’s genetic characteristics, patterns of movement collected by his wearable devices, previous history of diseases and the entire history of his life. AI probably (at least at the current stage of technology development) does not replace a doctor, but may become (has already become) a useful tool, an assistant in diagnostics and treatment.

AI in medical research developments. It takes more than 12 years to develop and market a new drug. Preparations are complex organic compounds whose structure is searched for almost blindly. The scientist changes the molecules in the original compound and checks the body’s response to the drug. Before entering the market, the drug passes a lot of inspections by regulatory bodies. But the most thorough tests do not guarantee it will be effective. Nearly half of the new anti-cancer drugs do not give noticeable therapeutic effects. Artificial intelligence more accurately simulates drugs. In the future, scientists will be able to set the desired properties of a chemical compound, and the computer will form the necessary molecular structure.

Automation and improvement. As for the automation of routine procedures, here the AI, for example, can help the doctor analyze visual information: X-rays, ultrasound, and so on. Experts say this information makes up 90% of the total volume of all medical info, and its study takes a lot of time from the doctor.

  1.    A lot of Information

AI can process several thousand pages per second when searching for necessary information. Almost every twenty minutes worldwide, there is a new article about medicine. The MEDLINE catalog over the past year has been replenished with 870 thousand links. To help physicians, a decision support system has been recently created. This AI-based CDSS combines information and data on patient health indicators and their medical history.

  1.    The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of different devices connected to the Internet, controlled through it and connected with each other.  In medicine, the IoT benefits both physicians and patients, especially seriously ill patients and chronicles. It is important to constantly monitor them, track their location and condition (monitor pressure, pulse, temperature, and other physical indicators). If a person goes to the doctor every day, it is a short visit, and the rest of the time, he remains without observation. A significant increase in the number of wearable electronics devices included in the IoT network to monitor the state of the patient’s body leads to the fact it becomes easier for doctors to make a primary diagnosis and subsequently monitor the patient’s condition.

  1.    Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the connection of medical information between distant points, between patients and doctors, and between individual medical institutions. Telemedicine refers to the use of telecommunications to connect medical specialists with clinics, hospitals, primary care physicians, remote patients for diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and continuing education.

Southwest Medical company has issued the NowClinic service. Сlients have the 24/7 possibility to connect with a doctor using secure live chat and converse face-to-face using webcams. Doctors are able to remotely diagnose the patient’s disease, prescribe the necessary treatment and monitor the patient’s health.

  1.    VR&AR in the Healthcare

Basically, virtual reality finds an application in the field of entertainment, but this technology is expanding the scope of its applications. Virtual reality is not only entertainment. Recently, the scientific community has seriously discussed the prospects of “virtuality” in medicine. Let’s examine concrete examples of the areas of medicine VR technologists have begun to introduce.

Diagnostics. Having three-dimensional info about the patient (this information is provided by tomography, three-dimensional data from X-ray machines and ultrasound), doctors are able to create interactive models to predict the consequences of surgical or medical intervention in the human body.

Surgery. Augmented reality technology helps surgeons in real-time to get all the information about the clinical picture of the person being operated on.

Education. Creating simulators based on virtual reality technology improves the quality of doctors’ training and reduces costs and the number of medical errors.

Therapy and mental rehabilitation. The direction of VR, which is actively developing in medicine, is toward simulating an artificial world for patients with mental disabilities and cognitive disorders.

As the medical community delves into innovative avenues for therapy and mental rehabilitation, VR takes center stage in simulating artificial worlds for patients with mental disabilities and cognitive disorders.

In this context, individuals exploring mental health solutions are increasingly considering the potential effects of CBD. With its purported calming and stress-relieving effects, CBD is becoming a subject of interest in mental health discussions.

As VR continues to carve its path in various medical applications, the exploration of complementary solutions like CBD underscores the ongoing commitment to holistic approaches in healthcare, aiming to enhance both physical and mental well-being.

  1. Blockchain

What can be useful for keeping data on blockchain for medicine? Blockchain is used in healthcare to solve at least two tasks. First, the technology allows you to securely fix every word in the history of the disease. For medicine, this plays an extremely important role, since any deviation or distortion of information leads to a different interpretation of the diagnosis. For example, if a patient has an allergic reaction to certain medications, this information enters the distributed registry and always accompanies the patient.

Secondly, blockchain can significantly reduce the number of counterfeit drugs. While this technology is at the initial stage, several startups are developing projects, according to which the entire supply chain of medicines can be entered into the blockchain registry. This allows anyone to trace the origin of meds and determine counterfeits.

To Sum Up

The availability and variety of gadgets and software are growing every year, and it is predicted, with reasonable confidence, new technologies will be increasingly used in medicine. We’ve represented some medical trends which are important parts of the medical industry.

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