From science fiction to real world: Emerging technologies poised to disrupt healthcare
In the original 1960s Star Trek television series, doctors use a medical tricorder, a mobile device that collects vital information about patients and helps diagnose diseases.
“These tricorders were just a figment of someone’s imagination and wound up in the Star Trek shows. No one ever thought they would become part of our reality. But that was proven wrong,” said James Hoshor, senior mobile strategist and solutions architect, Propelics. “The healthcare industry is now using all kinds of medical devices – and tricorders are now being piloted in the industry.” More specifically, consumers can now use DxtER™, which was originally designed by Basil Leaf Technologies for the global $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition, to diagnose and monitor illnesses in the comfort of their own homes.1
Indeed, a variety of emerging technologies from blockchain to gaming to virtual reality (VR) to chatbots to artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to change the way healthcare services are delivered. The move to this futuristic environment, however, appears to be a welcome one – as 78 percent of consumers ages 25 to 34 said they would use some form of gamification in their treatments, according to PwC’s Top Health Industry Issues of 2017 report.2
“These emerging technologies are poised to provide significant value for healthcare organizations and patients alike,” Hoshor said. As such, healthcare organizations are looking to adopt these technologies to create better patient experiences. For example, AI-empowered chatbots can be leveraged to help patients quickly get answers to their questions about various conditions, while VR can help provide training that will help healthcare professionals deliver improved care.
“But the use of these disruptive technologies is opening up the healthcare industry to risk. The security risks and malicious threats are becoming more and more prominent,” he pointed out.
The challenge, then, is to create an environment where the patient data emanating from mobile devices can be easily and securely accessed and shared. To start, organizations should conduct an information technology readiness assessment to determine if the network, security and infrastructure can support the adoption of myriad disruptive technologies.
For example, a trusted partner would be able to help healthcare organizations “develop an enterprise mobility strategy that includes defining what an organization’s IT readiness and current state look like and what the future state would look like,” Hoshor explained. An analysis would lead to recommendations on how to help healthcare organizations develop a roadmap with practical, actionable items, which consists of organizational resources and process improvements and new technology.
Organizations need to understand where they are at from a business and IT maturity level, have a well thought out actionable plan, and leverage the right resources to make sure that they can not only deliver better services and patient experiences, but also protect themselves as well as their patients’ data,” he said.
Perhaps most important, healthcare organizations need to find a way to securely integrate the plethora of data emanating from all of these new technologies. What’s needed is an integration platform that can help healthcare organizations securely access, integrate and exchange data obtained from mobile devices and other emerging technologies with the information contained in legacy IT systems such as electronic health records.
“There’s huge growth in the amount of health data that is being generated. There is great value in this data, but without the adoption of the right integration platform to bring the right data together and make it accessible, it is difficult to derive value from all of these new data sources,” said Joanna Gorovoy, senior director of industry solutions marketing at Axway. “If you can’t get seamless, secure access to data at the point of care when and where it is needed, you aren’t maximizing the value of this growing pool of data to impact outcomes.”
- Basil Leaf Technologies. A New Kind of Consumer Medical Device. http://www.basilleaftech.com/dxter/
- PwC. Top Health Industry Issues of 2017: A year of uncertainty and opportunity. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/top-health-industry-issues.html