The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted digital transitions in many industries. Healthcare, for instance, has responded to the pandemic by rapidly adopting digital solutions and advanced technology tools to cater to patients and address issues.
The Digital Embrace
Digital technology footprint of the healthcare industry is growing. With the help of emerging technologies, organizations are creating services such as virtual doctors, online pharmacy, etc. to provide convenient experience to the customer. These include mobile phone apps, wearable devices, chatbots, voice-interface systems, and mobile sensors such as smart watches, oxygen monitors, or thermometers.
Patients as well as organizations understand the benefits of this digital embrace and it’s unlikely that they’ll want to completely return to business-as-usual. Patients are using mobile apps as their preferred choice for medical assistance, and organizations are offering quick and virtual services with faster and better access to the customer along with all their personal and medical data.
A recent report by McKinsey highlighted that, alone in the United States, healthcare spending has surged to 250 billion dollars and would soon touch a trillion dollars globally.
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Tech Trends in Healthcare
Let’s take a look at technologies that are having an impact in the healthcare industry to counter the effects of the pandemic:
Healthcare industry has seen a rise in robots that can help professionals in multiple redundant tasks such as disinfection, medicine supply, vital monitoring, patient’s food intake tracking, and so on. It helps professionals to save more time each day and attend more patients.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI helps to facilitate instant diagnosis and risk prediction of COVID-19. For instance, in China, an AI-enabled CT service is used to detect COVID-19 pneumonia cases. It processes CT images in seconds, differentiating COVID-19 from other lung diseases and speeds up the diagnostic process substantially.
- Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
IoMT refers to the inclusion of IoT in medicine, where smart devices help organizations to generate, collect, analyze and transmit data. It also helps in building an infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems.
- 3D Printing
3D printing has helped the healthcare industry in many ways. Due to a surge in demand, there was a shortage of ventilators, nasal swabs, masks, and had to be addressed immediately. Supply chain had limitations and worked at its own pace. Some Hospitals leveraged 3D printers to quickly build these equipment in-house without having to wait for the stock to arrive.
Telemedicine has been the most demanded service in the healthcare industry. Customers are preferring hospitals with quick and virtual assistance such as chatbots, online doctor visits, virtual care calls, online medicine delivery, etc. It helps customers as well as healthcare professionals to maintain distancing and prevent the spread.
2021 has turned out to be the year when digital technology has been successful in disrupting and reshaping the healthcare industry. COVID-19 has certainly driven many developments and the digital health community will continue to navigate ways to bolster healthcare measures. Healthtech is a trillion dollar industry in the making, and the value derived from the digital disruption and their offerings will be worth those trillion dollars.