1. Better cloud integration with existing technologies
Although devices collecting digital data are important to healthcare, how that data is shared is the most essential part of the equation, Lawry says.
More than 90% of healthcare organizations are widely utilizing the cloud to host applications, according to a 2017 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey on cloud use. However, the industry is still using the cloud for separate functions, such as clinical apps, data hosting, and backup, and not in a holistic fashion. The HIMSS survey found that though there is a high level of cloud usage at healthcare organizations, the functionality is still limited.
Use of cloud integration has allowed for data from different healthcare silos to be shared, and as more organizations continue to connect those dots, Lawry says that it will transform the industry.
“Everyone's digitizing their data, whether that's electronic medical records or X-rays. But digitizing data doesn't do anything other than that. It changes data from one form to another instance,” Lawry says. “The transformation that's brought about by the cloud and bringing that data together, allows for all kinds of interesting things. That to us is the number one transformational aspect going forward for the next few years.”
2. Deeper AI infusion
Artificial intelligence has been a part of the healthcare for years, but experts believe in the next decade it will be a regular part of the industry.
A survey of 200 healthcare professionals by Intel Corporation, released in July 2018, found that 37% of respondents were using AI in limited ways, and 54% believe that there will be widespread AI adoption in the next five years.
John Doyle, director of business strategy for Worldwide Health Industry at Microsoft, says that moving forward we should expect to see AI infused into all aspects of clinical and operational workflow.
“We are early in the journey for cloud and AI adoption today, but we are already starting see some amazing progress being made and we expect this continue and with a broader adoption of applied AI in areas such as the clinical interpretation of complex datasets, intelligent medical images, voice integration, and real-time insight of streaming medical devices and sensors data,” Doyle says.
As a new generation of consumer-focused services aim to merge patients and consumer journeys, applied AI will disrupt how patients engage with healthcare providers today, Doyle says.
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“Applied AI has the potential to reduce the complexity of how healthcare data is captured and analyzed, examples of this include how intelligent voice integration and bot technologies are being used during virtual consultations to reduce the time spent entering data by both patients and clinicians, and how pre-trained clinical knowledge can be applied at the point of care,” Doyle says.
3. Infrastructure upgrades that make healthcare more accessible
The ability for clinicians to meet with patients via web and mobile portals is essential for chronic care management, says Rhonda Collins, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer at Vocera, and founder of the American Nurse Project.