In a bid to keep up with other industries on the market, the healthcare industry has seen a vast change to its digital innovations in recent years.
After decades of slow growth, we are finally beginning to see digital healthcare innovations receive the attention they deserve.
This is great news for the healthcare executives and government officials who have willed this change for a long time, but it hasn’t come without its challenges.
One such challenge is security, and the question of how patient data will remain secure as technological advances in the industry continue.
Could it be that we simply have not discovered the solution, or is there a technology on the market that could do this that is hiding right under our noses?
To answer this question, we need to look into some of the recent digital healthcare innovations to understand why security in healthcare is getting harder, and whether any of these new technologies could potentially help this.
Artificial intelligence is all about using specially coded computer programs or machines to think and learn to perform functions that are usually reserved to human intelligence.
Although largely unheard of, it’s technology that most of us use on a daily basis, to do things like booking a flight or a takeaway delivery.
Despite this, healthcare has been extremely reluctant to use this technology until recently.
In the last decade or so, however, many researchers have begun using the technology to gain a greater understanding of complex diseases.
This helps them to find better treatment for stubborn conditions, like dementia.
It can also be used to speed up diagnosis in people suffering from a number of different cancers, improving patient outcomes over time.
Future predictions hope that artificial intelligence will eventually have an everyday use within the healthcare system, and will be particularly important in providing independence during end of life care.
This growing market is something many countries want in on, with Europe set to invest $24bn into the technology by 2020 in an attempt to catch up with research by the US and Asia.
Telemedicine has quickly gained popularity in the US healthcare system as a convenient alternative to traditional, in-person doctor’s visits.
Essentially, it provides people with a way of accessing treatment from anywhere, provided they have a device that connects to the internet.
This practice is so popular that many insurance policies will allow telemedicine appointments to be billed to the company directly.
Currently, the telemedicine market predictions in the US say it should be worth $22bn by 2022, but this could easily rise as interest increases.
Legislation could also increase the market value of telemedicine, with federal legislators already exploring ways to make these services easier to practice across the country.
Wearable Health Devices
We live in a society where people are constantly demanding control over their own health, and one technology that has helped people to do this is wearable health devices.
Sometimes called smartwatches, these devices allow people to monitor their vitals and other lifestyle factors from home.
Occasionally, the data from these devices are shared with a patient’s clinical team so that symptoms of a more serious issue can be picked up on earlier.
More often than not, however, people will purchase these items themselves out of curiosity or in a bid to improve their own lifestyles.
It’s these people who have led to a vast increase in worldwide unit shipments of smartwatches, which is predicted to reach 51.73 million by 2022.
These devices improve the healthcare industry as they allow people to treat conditions before they get serious, which could have a potentially drastic impact on healthcare costs in the long run.
Genomics refers to the branch of molecular biology that focuses specifically on our genomes, otherwise known as our DNA.
This is where the information about our body is stored, including our predisposition to certain conditions and genetic link to other people.
This gained momentum with the rise of commercial DNA testing kits such 23&Me and Ancestry, which could be responsible for the sharp rise in market worth, from 16.5 billion in 2018 to 41.2 billion by 2025.
Genomics has uses other than genetic matches, however, often being used to test whether someone is predispositioned to a certain condition, like breast cancer.
It can also be used to determine whether someone is a carrier of a condition which could potentially disable a child they were to create.
As you can see, technological advances in the healthcare field have led to the digital world engaging with a significant amount of sensitive patient data.
This puts an almost incomprehensible strain on the current digital security measures available to us, but Blockchain could change this.
Digital Authority Partners explains the technology as ‘a secure open ledger to record digital transactions, managed by a peer-to-peer network’.
Essentially, it is a decentralized list of digital records that are linked together through cryptography, making it almost impossible to hack into.
Originally, this was used in cryptocurrency to protect the bank details of those buying bitcoins.
In recent years, bitcoin has successfully merged into different industries, with healthcare being one of the main ones.
This is well needed in an industry where the vast majority of Americans have had their personal health information leaked, with data breaches becoming more common every year.
According to HealthcareWeekly, the full adoption of blockchain technology could save the healthcare industry up to $150 billion by 2025.
This would be great news for a healthcare industry struggling to maintain the trust of the American people, and would also help with continuing the development of future digital innovations in the healthcare space.
As this article proves, there are a number of digital innovations that have attempted to provide solutions to some of the biggest problems currently facing the healthcare industry.
Unfortunately, a lot of these changes come with risks that put patient data in significant danger.
The good news is that blockchain could solve this, with an unhackable system that prevents information from being altered or stolen unless verifiable.
This would allow current technologies, like artificial intelligence and wearable health devices, to continue advancing, and make way for new technologies that wish to do the same.
In a digital landscape where any industry not prepared to adapt are struggling to survive, we definitely think blockchain could save the healthcare industry for good.
This article was written by Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling a medical coding company