The deployment of ICT and cloud-based networks have brought in areas of globe in one interconnected network
By Ashutosh Tiwari
The year 2018 has been iconic for the global healthcare industry, where medical innovations and various healthcare technologies brought new hope of healthy, disease-free life for everyone. With new innovations like Nobel award recognised cancer therapies, artificial pancreas, IoMT (Internet of Medical Things), ICT breakthroughs, and drug manufacturing advancements, 2018 has created new foundations to build a better healthcare ecosystem in future. The legacy will continue in 2019 with value-based care supported by AI, big data science, block chains, and medical R&Ds. Some of the innovations that will create new benchmarks in 2019 are:
Electronic health records
Healthcare for all has been the top of the list of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and this is finally taking the shape of reality with EHRs. The deployment of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and a series of cloud-based networks have brought almost every area of the globe in one interconnected network, especially benefitting the healthcare penetration across geographies despite all odds. Telemedicine is tapping more people across the globe with EHRs. These cloud-based and block chain based EHRs have enhanced the efficiency of remote patient monitoring, resolved infrastructure concerns and balanced the doctor-population disparity across the world. Australia is going to be the first nation to avail EHRs for all in 2018. The trend will be followed by many other developed and developing nations including India in 2019. These medical records will be accessed by doctors for more effective treatment of patients.
EHRs have not just facilitated healthcare for the larger population but have also brought alive the concept of precision medicine. This next stage of telemedicine will allow doctors to prescribe treatments based on their complete medical history and genetic understanding. Instead of experimenting with different drugs and drug dosages to monitor and cure diseases (both CDs and NCDs), doctors can analyse the patient’s symptoms, vitals, immunity level, and medicine response with help of EHRs and AI based medical analysis tools to prescribe targeted medicine. Precision medicine will have a greater role in the treatment of NCDs and diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiac issues, and others.
The year 2018 witnessed breakthroughs in retinal treatment through gene therapy and treatment of various other heredity diseases through genomics. Gene editing tools like CRISPR (Clustered, Short Palindromic Repeats, Regularly Interspaced), and other gene makeup technologies have been successfully developing. The year 2019 will be marked with widespread implementation of these gene therapies to cure numerous diseases in different stages of human life – from embryos to matures.
Healthcare cyber security
The development of ICT in healthcare came along with the threats of cyber security. Healthcare industry is more likely to face intrusion attacks in the coming year as well. Hence, cyber security has become as important as the implementation of EHRs and healthcare access. Until recently only finance, retail and security sectors were strengthening their cyber security systems but the rising threats have given a clarion call to build better healthcare cyber security as well. With better IT fortification and new security measures, 2019 will see enormous growth in telehealth and e-medicine.
AI-powered equipment and wearables
AI and ML (Machine Learning) are continually shaping the future of the healthcare industry. With greater investment and collaborative R&Ds, the healthcare sector will become the largest industry for AI-based activities. Robotics and deep learning have also eased up a number of surgical procedures including invasive and non-invasive therapies. Besides AI- enabled health monitors, the cloud-based connection of wearables and smart sensors are also playing a crucial role in health diagnosis and recording vitals. The SaaS/PaaS based digital healthcare models will realise the dream of quality healthcare for everyone across the world in 2019.