Top 5 Healthcare Tech Trends of 2018

Here is a list of how technology has aimed to more seamlessly connect healthcare organizations in 2018.

The top word for healthcare technology in 2018 is connection. Below is a list of how technology has aimed to more seamlessly connect healthcare organizations in 2018.

1. Apple Health connecting patients to their health records

In June, Apple released its Health Records application program interface (API) to developers and researches that allows them to use data collected from Apple’s HealthKit data.

HealthKit interfaces with EHRs in more than 500 hospitals and clinics and gives patients the ability to view it on their Apple devices. Apple states that mobile apps and other developments stemming from the API will give users a more personalized healthcare experience by using their iPhones and iPads.

It also collects personal health, nutrition, sleep, and fitness information on Apple device users, and allows them to opt-in to research projects and studies from some of the leading research institutions in the country. Some of the projects in the works include an accurate medication tracking system, chronic disease management, nutrition planning, and other medical research.

2. Voice-operated tech

More healthcare organizations are using voice-operated platforms to make hands-free communication easier for both patients and providers. Because more consumers are already using Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant, fitting the same technology for healthcare settings is adding value to patient engagement.

Vocera Communications, Inc., offers a clinical communication platform that enables hands-free communication, secure text messaging, alarm management, analytics, and other patient engagement solutions. The intelligent platform puts contextual information about the patient and care team at the clinicians’ fingertips on their devices of choice to enable real-time situational awareness. Interoperability between the Vocera platform and more than 140 clinical and operational systems helps simplify workflows, reduce alarm fatigue, accelerate response times, and improve patient care, safety, and experience.

3. More comprehensive diabetes management

Options for diabetes monitoring continue to grow as healthcare organization are seeking ways to help patients stay empowered and compliant with their treatments. For patients with type 1 diabetes, continuous glucose monitors have become more accessible and easier for patients to operate, and some experts believe a type 2 diabetes model may be in the pipeline.

Related article: Top 5 Healthcare Technologies of the Future

The ‘artificial pancreas’-which runs as a closed-loop system-has applications for patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, depending on their needs. Smart pens, which inject insulin and are connected to smartphone applications, provide an easy-to-track and use option for those looking to monitor insulin levels closely.

4. Remote monitoring and telehealth services

As CMS works to expand reimbursements to include remote patient monitoring, more healthcare organizations have started using the technology to communicate with patients who have a harder time coming in for office visits.

About one-third of health of healthcare providers are using some form or virtual care, including remote patient monitoring and video or telehealth services, according to a 2017 survey by HIMSS Analytics and KPMG, LLP. The experts say the trend will continue to grow as more patients in rural areas or those who are bedridden seek care for chronic conditions. Another growing use for virtual services: about half of providers using video services are also utilizing the technology for consultation with other providers.

5. Increase in value-based care

More payments are being based on value metrics, and the trend upward will continue to grow, according to a October 2018 report by Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The most recent data suggest that 34% of payments come from value-based care, while 41% are still based on volume. Those value-based payments come from two categories-population-based payments and alternative payment model, which is a reward system based off of fee-for-service treatment.

Donna Marbury is a writer in Columbus, Ohio.