“We believe consumer health technologies — apps, wearables, self-diagnosis tools — have the potential to strengthen the patient-physician connection and improve health outcomes.”— Dr. Glen Stream, Chairman, Family Medicine
The healthcare industry still embraces technology today. It may not happen as fast as in other industries, but we are certainly getting there.
Technology in healthcare has a lot of use cases: it monitors heart signals, creates breakthrough drugs, sees into the DNA, helps to treat patients remotely, finds more accurate diagnoses faster, and organizes the workflows of the hospitals nicely.
Basically, companies use machine learning, AI, web development, and other technologies to enhance any part of the healthcare industry with a little bit of tech.
Technological advancements and innovations are disrupting the healthcare industry. Smart health monitoring systems, apps, wearables and handheld devices are already in use.
What Is Healthcare Technology (HealthTech)?
Health tech (short for health technology) is a sector encompassing digital products and services that are designed to improve health and/or the provision of healthcare.
Healthcare technology refers to any IT tools or software designed to boost hospital and administrative productivity, give new insights into medicines and treatments, or improve the overall quality of care provided.
‘Healthtech, or digital health, is an umbrella term which refers to the use of technology to improve delivery, payment and/or consumption of care. Health tech’s main goal is to improve the overall quality of care provided, by boosting hospital productivity, gaining new insights into medicines and treatments or simply making healthcare more accessible.
According to the World Health Organization, Healthtech goes beyond technology to knowledge: it is “the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives”.
Currently being weighed down by crushing costs and red tape, the industry is looking for ways to improve in nearly every imaginable area. That’s where healthtech comes in.
The way we purchase healthcare is becoming more accessible to a wider group of people through the insurance technology industry, sometimes called “insurtech
What is Medical Technology (MedTech)?
Medtech technology is commonly used for diagnosis, patient care, treatment, and improvement of a person’s health. It is mostly used inside the hospital and is oriented toward diagnosing and treatment rather than prevention.
Medtech includes equipment, devices, machines, software, and tools. They have a regulated path to market since they may have a severe effect on people’s health.
This type was designed to create better treatment: faster and more accurate diagnosis, safer surgeries, less invasive checks, etc. Medtech includes all kinds of well-known tools: thermometers, laser surgery, prosthesis, inhalers, stethoscopes, surgery gloves, MRIs, etc.
What is biology – biotechnology (BioTech)?
Biotech is a technology based on biology, meaning that living organisms and biological shd processes are used in the production of biotech.
Biotech actually has a lot of use cases: it can be used in agriculture for creating sun-resistant species of vegetables, for example, or in the environmental industry where you can use natural processes for degradation or filtration.
When it comes to healthcare, it is mostly created to make new drugs, predict how they will affect people, based on their cell information, genetic testing, and artificial tissue growth.
Biotech is heavily regulated and must undergo numerous clinical trials before they reach the market. It is partly because biotech drugs may have an unexpected long-term effect and mostly because their side effects are deathly.
How is tech impacting healthcare?
In every possible way, you can imagine. The medical sector’s need for healthtech is to provide an easy and improved alternative to hospital-run healthcare programs.
Patients even consult healthcare professionals on social networks and share information from their automated readings. They can seek consultation from a physician during Q&A sessions or even reach for emotional support. Technology, such as big data, offers a safer and reliable alternative to patient care with better data management and security. For instance, doctors and nurses employ portable devices, such as tablets or computers, to document a patient’s medical history and deliver the right treatment. Additionally, patients may use apps to detect the correlation between their condition and medication interaction to make decisions on how to improve their health.
1. Wearable Technology for Patient Monitoring
One notable advancement in the health tech industry is the use of wearable consumer technology for the remote monitoring of patients. A smartwatch can already help track a person’s heart rate over time, giving their physician a more accurate picture of that particular health metric.
The functionality of such devices continues to become more sophisticated. In the coming years, for example, consumer med tech may allow diabetics to monitor their blood sugar with their smartwatch as their glucose monitoring device.
2. Increased Use of Telehealth
Delivering care through digital means such as video conferencing is becoming one of the more common results of advancing health tech. Telemedicine can increase providers’ reach to patients who wouldn’t usually receive care. With tech like e-prescribing, telemedicine makes it easier for patients to receive care more efficiently and with less inconvenience.
Electronic health records, or EHRs, can contribute to telehealth as well, by offering patients portals they can use to view their health information and perform tasks like scheduling health appointments or requesting medication refills.
3. Greater Application of AI
Artificial intelligence may represent the most significant upcoming wave of health tech. As EHR technology continues to mature, it is inundating us with information on individuals and populations. AI can help us actually make sense of that information through deeper analysis and ultimately use it to drive better healthcare outcomes.
Why does healthtech matter?
The world is growing older day by day, and technology helps every person lead a comfortable and safe life. The doctor-patient relationship’s new dynamic requires collaboration and business models and a revised understanding of the healthcare company’s role in a value chain that helps healthtech development. Moreover, healthtech development is the source of connecting health organizations, which plays a vital role in making things easy for health practitioners and hospitals.
By implementing EHR (Electronic Health Record), doctors can measure and track patient data for an extended period. It helps to identify the people whose medical and preventive check-ups are due. Alongside this, EHR also helps monitor each patient’s certain requirements around vaccinations and blood pressure readings. Similarly, HIMS, Pharmacy Management Software (PMS), Medical Practice Management Software (MPMS), and more telemedicine offerings help healthcare companies manage their key operations and stay compliant with standards, such as HIPAA, HHS, ONC-ATCB, HITECH’s MU-1 and MU-2, and HL7.
Healthtech also provides critical and urgent help to patients who live in backward and rural areas. Healthtech improves healthcare delivery quality, increases patients’ safety, reduces medical errors, and improves healthcare providers’ and patients’ interaction. On a similar note, the future of healthcare will likely be a consumer-driven market with a holistic approach to health and personalized treatment.
How can technology transform the healthcare industry?
Healthcare providers, for starters, can benefit from technology by improving their administrative processes. The other is consumed by documentation, medication administration and coordination of care (e.g. contacting other physicians and other health care team members for a response). With the right tools in hand, administrative processes can be automated, allowing nurses and doctors to dedicate more time to patients.
Healthcare receivers (i.e. patients), on the other hand, value convenience now more than ever, and are increasingly looking for more flexible digital health solutions. ‘Digital-first’ healthcare gives opportunities for self-scheduling, remote health monitoring, as well as virtual routine checks, which are not only convenient for patients, but also quite cost-cutting for medical providers.
Pharmaceutical companies can utilise technology. This can free up a lot of valuable time for scientists to focus on the more intellectual and challenging tasks. In addition, artificial intelligence has been used to identify drug candidates against a specific target, reducing the time it takes to start clinical testing.
Benefits of technology in healthcare
Improving patient care and experiences
Using technology to measure and capture data across the whole system of patient care gives health organizations a big-picture view of how they’re performing. Technology also helps to automate that measurement so organizations can continuously review their results, spot issues that need to be fixed and uncover ways to enhance care and the patient experience.
Real-time information exchange
From clinicians to patients to payers, many different groups need to be able to access health records for different reasons. Traditionally, organizations have had to maintain different records for each group. But with new technology that makes it easier for digital patient records to be standardized and stored securely, more organizations are integrating their data so that authorized people can access the records they need at the time they need them.
Flexibility for patients and clinicians
Patients are busy and finding time for appointments can be a struggle. Telemedicine technology and patient portals provide more ways for people to communicate with health professionals. Wearable technology, like heart monitors, also gives clinicians more ways to evaluate the well-being of their patients and provides them with more options to record and evaluate symptoms as patients go about their lives.
What are the Health Tech industry challenges?
Privacy protection is proving to be a major roadblock to Health Tech development: by preventing or limiting the sharing and distribution of data, the digital healthcare industry could be starved of the basis for future of technological development.
The proliferation of data is incredibly important for the future of Health Tech and it is vital to the continuation of solutions to disease prevention, patient communication services and consumer wearables technology.
And unlike other industries, the stakes are a lot higher in healthcare.
Many new industries become complacent on lean approaches to innovation, but the fail fast attitude which many have adopted cannot so simply apply to the healthcare industry and digital health startups.
In this way, ethics of Health Tech does not relate to ethics within other digital sections. The final major challenge is how the Health Tech industry plans to grow beyond domestic or national borders.
Many companies have potential for their services or products to be utilized within hospitals across the world, or to deliver information to patients in distinct regions, but healthcare regulations differ from region to region.
Health Tech will become truly global only once it can manage the expectation set within each country.
What is the future of HealthTech?
To conclude, Health Tech as an industry is in an enviable position as its financial and consumer backing promises a strong and continued growth chart over the coming years.
The promise of technology to innovate and update comes at a time when healthcare needs to respond to the growing demand of resources, and the digital health revolution is in a strong position to not only create solutions, but deliver them as well.
The sector is still young, however, and fragmented, and for the current Health Tech industry to grow further, the regulatory environment in particular needs to evolve alongside digital health in order for them both to benefit the public which they have been designed to achieve.