Technologies Shaping the Future of the Medical Industry (Part 1 of 2)

01 August 2019

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Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
What is it?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, i.e. visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making…

Machine learning (ML) is the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves

How will it impact the Medical Industry?

AI and Machine Learning are already having a dramatic impact on many industries and are set to shape Healthcare advances in many areas, particularly data analysis, diagnosis, and detection.

Wait, computers will take over our Jobs?

Not exactly!

Humans and computers are good at different things and will need to work together to deliver top-quality medical care. Decisions will still be at the hands of a human practitioner informed and advised using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

AI and ML are extremely useful when provided vast amounts of raw data. Some computers can crunch tens of millions of patient records in minutes! Wow! Smart algorithms also ‘learn’ from this data and analyse it harder, better, faster, stronger (in the words of Daft Punk) the next time that they do the same task. Hence, Machine Learning!

Crucially, AI and ML will help physicians, care providers and ultimately patients themselves. Taking the uncertainty out of image scan analysis or giving decision support in non-absolute diagnoses and smarter treatment options are just a few examples.

It is truly incredible how powerful these advancements will be. Assuming a secure structure to share data and future revolutions in computing power (such as quantum computing) it could allow a computer to analyse practically every CAT scan in existence! Incredible!

What does this mean?

We will have more accurate and effective ways to analyse data. Physicians will be able to make better informed diagnostic and treatment decisions. It will reduce the number of mistakes and misdiagnosis and increase the chances of disease detection.

Which Areas are leading the way?

  • Medical Imaging

  • Medical Software

  • Diagnostics

  • Remote Monitoring and Virtual Medicine

Virtual Care / Telemedicine

What is it?

Virtual Care refers to all the methods when patients and doctors use digital tools to communicate in real-time as part of a connected Care system adopted by Healthcare Providers

Telehealth / Telemedicine is the treatment of conditions and the process of healing a patient without seeing them in person

Advances in video conferencing technology, the expansion of mobile internet and the explosion of wearable devices have made telemedicine and Virtual Care one of the most identifiable trends in medical technology right now!

Doctors can use live video, audio, or instant messaging to address a patient’s concerns and diagnose their condition remotely. Utilizing a mobile device and two-way camera, care providers can have one-on-one encounters with patients from practically any distance!

Health monitors such as wearable devices can check for heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation and this information is linked to the Virtual care platform or system, allowing the physician visibility before offering advice.

Patients can receive instructions, at-home exercises and remedies that relieve their condition or be referred to a local hospital.

How will it impact the Medical Industry?

This will have a huge impact on both patient care and the way it is delivered by Healthcare providers.

Geriatric Medicine is the largest medical speciality and for older people living alone, regular check-ups can help avoid strokes, heart attacks and other adverse events as well as a remote interaction minimising the risk of exposure to other diseases.

Even the most routine telehealth visits could save lives, and the availability of a physician remotely is better than not at all.

Predominantly Virtual Care will likely be for treatment such as dealing with chronic pain, relieving symptoms and talking to patients about their health concerns.

Healthcare providers will compete to integrate new systems of Virtual Care in order to provide a better experience to their patients. Patients are calling for Virtual care systems right now more than clinicians so the pressure will build to start integrating Virtual Care more widely in years to come, particularly for Private Healthcare Providers.

What does this mean?

Barriers to care such as transportation, language, and geography can effectively be removed. This can allow more people to receive treatment and care efficiently and be more connected to physicians or healthcare advice. Useful for patients in rural areas or unable to secure transportation to a Healthcare facility.

As the technology improves and incorporates augmented and virtual reality, usage will develop from virtual check-ups and chronic pain management to a whole fleet of medical procedures and with the aid of robotics, fully-fledged remote surgery!

Which Areas are leading the way?

  • Digital Health

  • Telecommunication

  • Patient Care

  • Geriatric Medicine

  • Chronic Care

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Technologies Shaping the Future of the Medical Industry (Part 2)

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