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In the year ahead, we can expect to see an insurgence in technology solutions that address patient engagement, data, and security throughout the healthcare system.
With the emphasis on accountable and value-based care, every stakeholder across the healthcare sector from payers to providers to patients is attempting to navigate new territory and relying on technology to withstand disruption.
In the year ahead, we can expect to see an insurgence in technology solutions that address patient engagement, data, and security throughout the healthcare system. Here are my top tech predictions for 2018:
Five years ago, most individuals went to the doctor when they did not feel well. Today, most patients have already researched their symptoms by the time they arrive at the doctor’s office, and are merely asking the physician to confirm their diagnosis and treatment options. As the trend of consumerism continues to grow and the provider role becomes more like a care partner, payers and providers will invest in developing platforms to help patients more actively monitor their health. Platforms with interfaces and design will move ahead of the competition as customer experience no longer becomes a nice-to-have, but an expectation of the patient.
In keeping with this patient engagement trend, wearables and IoT-enabled devices will become even more cost-effective and widely adopted by consumers of all ages. The use of these devices will be critical to help prevent costly acute health episodes and improve the life of chronic disease patients. As next-generation hospitals start encouraging patients to bring their own devices into the hospital room, clinicians will be armed with better knowledge through IoT-enabled apps and trackers, and patients can enjoy the comforts of home through on-demand entertainment and customizable room layouts. Healthcare equipment will require connectivity to share information across systems so patients, care teams, and insurance companies can access data. As more consumers begin monitoring their health through wearable technology, providers and payers will need to integrate this data with existing EHRs and patient profiles to gain a more holistic view of the patient and provide targeted, preventive care.
Next: What will happen with Big Data?
Providers will move away from solely relying on physician education and experience, and instead leverage population health and genomic data to diagnose and treat patients. In order to address the increasing amount of healthcare information, both payers and providers will need to invest in big data solutions to aggregate and analyze healthcare information to provide a comprehensive view of the entire member/patient database. With this data-enabled, holistic picture in place, payers will be able to better facilitate coordination and case management with providers to prevent costly readmissions and healthcare utilization. Healthcare organizations will shift from traditional “siloed” care models to more “connected” care models, so care teams can easily access data, increase effective communication, and decrease costly errors.
To further expedite data discovery and analytics, the industry will see an increase in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), and predictive modeling. Think about the amount of money that could be saved by utilizing machine learning and RPA to manage member/patient profiles, file claims or sort medical records. Providers will utilize AI and voice-enabled bots to provide treatment recommendations, increase medication adherence, and utilize precision medicine. Even leveraging predictive modeling to identify prescription drug abuse or fraudulent claims will become mainstream.
All of these technology-enabled predictions rely on secure platforms and systems to be effective. With the volume of data flowing in between physicians, payers, and patients, the entire industry lacks the infrastructure and tools to manage this amount of information. To move forward safely and securely, we’ll see payers and providers invest in hardening their security protocol to ensure a clean bill of health.
As the healthcare industry continues to transform, these predictions only scratch the surface of the impact technology will have on providers, payers, and patients. The entire healthcare system needs to fully prioritize digital transformation in the year ahead to keep up.
Eladio Alvarez is vice president, head of healthcare solutions and business development, EPAM.