As we work with our clients in the HealthTech (or MedTech) industry, we get a first hand look at what the future holds. The following are our picks for the most interesting ways the intersection of healthcare and technology will shape the coming year.
- 3D Printing
3D Printing or “additive manufacturing” is poised to change the world of medical devices as we know it. The power to create bio-compatible, custom devices specifically suited to an individual has been unleashed. We have seen early adoption in connection with dental applications, prosthetics and hearing devices. Just recently, doctors in China successfully implanted 3D printer-created vertebrae. 3D printed organs are on their way. What comes next is only limited by our own imaginations.
- Further Cloud Migration
Cloud-based services are becoming more widely adopted in the healthcare industry and we expect that trend to continue through 2015. According to PR Newswire, analysts forecast the Global Healthcare Cloud Computing market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.95% between 2014 and 2019. Driven by the enormous amount of data created in patient care and the desire to harness it, increased demand for cost cutting, renewed focus on patient access, the adoption of electronic medical record systems, and an increasing desire to modernize communication, SaaS services are becoming more and more appealing and more acceptable in an industry that is typically slow to accept change.
- Big Data
While many industries have been successful in harnessing big data, the healthcare industry is only starting to dip its toe into the water. 2015 could be the year they begin to hit their stride. Wearables and remote devices will provide more data points enabling doctors to better monitor their patients from afar. Electronic Health Records will provide researchers with easily accessed information over long periods of time. With the growing understanding of the potential for predictive models to solve medical mysteries, there is great optimism that Big Data will pave the way toward creating healthcare efficiencies and solving unanswered medical questions.
- Connected Devices
The use of wearables and home health monitoring devices is on the rise and with good reason. On the facility side, as healthcare providers adopt this technology the potential for efficiencies is staggering. Staff will be freed from some of the more mundane data collection functions (such as taking a patient’s temperature or monitoring their blood pressure) to focus on more meaningful aspects of patient care. Patients may find hospital and doctor visits can be reduced as active monitoring takes place from afar. Add the potential for embedded devices which not only collect information but have the ability to control medical interventions and the changes to healthcare experience revolutionary.
- Patient Engagement
While the term “ Patient Engagement” has been around for quite some time, there seems to be a renewed buzz around the topic. On the patient side this may be driven by increased expectations of data access in general, a growing sense that access to medical information may give the consumer an ability to have meaningful opinions about their care, and a growing unease of inaccuracies in medical records due to human error and identify theft. On the provider side, there is a growing understanding that a patient’s greater engagement in healthcare contributes to improved health outcomes and even cost savings. Patient and provider attitude convergence are met in 2015 with the technological tools to make it happen. Secure e-mail and texting, advances in mobile devices, photography, and file sharing make it possible for doctors to interact outside of office hours, and for records and health conditions to be shared in real time. In 2015 patients want access and transparency. Healthcare providers seem poised to provide it.