From the Internet of Medical Things and telehealth to smart medical technology, such as predictive analytics and conversational AI, there are certainly major technology trends disrupting the healthcare industry worldwide. But is digital disruption enough for people to enjoy healthier and
As a regulated sector, healthcare is prone to the effects of developing technology, and lately we have seen the pace of disruption accelerate as more and more large tech companies merge and invest, making their way into the healthcare sector. In this respect, the newest trends involve, among other things, predictive analytics and conversational artificial intelligence that can reduce tedious work for hospital administrators and enable smooth functioning, as well as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). The IoMT is the incorporation of applications and medical devices that are connected to healthcare IT systems. Using networking technologies, the IoMT enables the transfer of medical information over secure networks. Telehealth is also getting a lot of attention. By combining mobile technology and document sharing, telehealth provides better healthcare access and is rapidly making its way into the ICU. But what does this all mean for patients?
There is certainly an upside to digital disruption for healthcare organizations and the healthcare sector in general, healthcare providers and patients alike. More tools and advanced technology means better care, right? Well, almost. Digital disruption in the healthcare sector should not only mean technological evolution but should include many other necessary factors and improvements across the healthcare ecosystem. Unless we also invest in patient education and involvement, as well as patient access to the new technology, all these new tools could be only partially utilized.
There’s no better example to illustrate this point than vaccines. Vaccines have been around much longer than the technological advances described above. They were nevertheless cutting-edge technology when they were first introduced to the market. Since then their beneficial effects in providing artificial immunity to diseases and shielding the human organism have been unequivocally proven and well documented. Yet, targeted misinformation has created doubt, which has spread like wildfire, resulting in epidemics caused by diseases that we thought had been eradicated decades ago. By investing in patient education, healthcare organizations and more directly healthcare professionals can impart information to patients and their caregivers that will guide and perhaps alter their behavior toward the healthcare system, helping them shed misconceptions, build trust in new technology, and improve their overall health status. Patient participation is a key component in the healthcare process as a means to improve patient safety, as well as optimize the ethics, relevance, accountability and transparency, communication, promotion and implementation of new technology. The effects on the real economy are also to be considered as primary and preventive care due to patient involvement greatly reduces future health care costs.