Technology has always played a key role in healthcare.

As more and more systems are being developed to improve patient care and healthcare administration, and as that technology is continuously being improved, it’s only a matter of time before we see these systems integrated more frequently.

Here are five healthcare technology trends that you’re likely to see this year and for the foreseeable future.

1. Care Coordination Systems

In adopting a more patient-first approach to healthcare, more and more providers are likely to begin using care coordination systems.

These networks connect providers and specialists, opening up channels for them to communicate with each other and transmit patient information more seamlessly.

As one provider adds patient information to the system, the patient’s other providers are able to be alerted to the new information, get quick access to it, and then determine whether or not their offices should take any type of action.

If a patient is being referred to a specialist, for example, that specialist can easily locate the patient’s most recent information and take the proactive approach of calling the patient to schedule an appointment.

As providers use care coordination systems to work together as a healthcare community, this collaborative approach creates a better and more complete patient experience all around.

2. Electronic Health Records

The concept of the electronic health record (EHR) isn’t new technology by any means. In fact, many practices started making the transition from physical records to electronic health records years ago.

Today, many of these same providers have adapted even further, using systems such as the cloud for storing records. Many other providers, however, have struggled to adapt to the digitization of health records.

The inconsistencies between these methods have made sharing and transmitting health records difficult for offices. Those with physical records are unable to deliver them to providers who are already using EHRs without a great deal of trouble.

Over 85% of office-based physicians use some kind of EHR system. It’s time for the remaining 15% or so to catch up.

3. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has made it possible for patients to not only keep on top of their own health but also assist their own healthcare providers in gathering important information.

On a more basic level, most of us are familiar with the smartwatch, which allows a patient to monitor his or her steps, heart rate, and overall fitness.

Then there are devices, such as ECG monitors, that are able to detect and record important vitals and then report this information to a patient’s physician.

As this kind of wearable technology continues to become more popular, both providers and patients will benefit from being able to collect data at any time and place — rather than being bound to the traditional environment of a health facility.

4. Telehealth

For so long, one of the biggest challenges in healthcare has been bringing equal medical care to those who can’t typically get access.

It’s the people who live in these typically “unreachable” areas that are often at greater risk of dying from pulmonary disease, lung cancer, diabetes, and a bevy of other health issues.

Fortunately, the evolution of telehealth has allowed providers to finally break ground and reach those who have long been neglected — people in rural communities, prisons, military camps, and other remote areas all over the world.

Through this technology, providers and specialists can meet with patients, complete examinations, and perform various functions using little more than a portable hub and stylus.

As the ability to reach people in remote areas becomes even more feasible, medical professionals are likely to embrace telehealth technology.

In fact, it’s worth noting that between 2013 and 2018 alone, the number of telehealth patients rose from 350,000 to well over 7 million.

5. AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more and more popular throughout many industries; so it makes sense that healthcare would also be one of its primary frontiers.

In the medical space, this technology is already being used to assist professionals in diagnosing conditions and identifying appropriate treatment plans.

AI algorithms, for example, are able to not only identify different diseases and conditions but also compute the probability of other diseases and conditions arising as a result.

Not to mention, AI and machine learning have a significant role to play in patient relations. Many offices are already using chatbots to interact with potential patients online, provide education and resources, and even book appointments!

As this technology continues to alleviate the pressures typically put on administrative staff, you can expect the use of AI and machine learning to increase.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "5 Healthcare Technology Trends to Keep an Eye on," in Medicalopedia, May 2, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8789/5-healthcare-technology-trends-to-keep-an-eye-on/].