You can’t discuss the development of the healthcare industry without discussions on technological progresses. And the advancement in healthcare technology has become more important than ever amid the global trend of aging populations.
Healthcare is also a field of great interest for us at Samsung. Bio-pharmaceuticals and medical devices are among the five businesses that we identified in 2010 as new engines for growth. They are also in line with our goal to create products and services that help create a better society.
So what are the latest trends in healthcare technology? We took a look at what industry experts and media expected to see next in healthcare technology.
Healthcare Meets Gaming and Social
Consulting firm Accenture anticipated that healthcare will become a theme for two unlikely areas: gaming and social.
According the Accenture whitepaper, reported by BusinessSoultions, healthcare professionals have begun to exploit people’s natural tendency to play games in order to improve their cognitive skills and change their behaviors. The paper cited as an example the WiiFit – an exercise game developed by Nintendo.
The paper also predicted that healthcare-specific social networks will help practitioners deliver services and enable patients to play a more active role in their care by sharing experiences with others with similar conditions.
Telehealth and Middlewear Among Top 10 Watch List by ECRI
ECRI Institute published the 2015 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List, including such technological developments as telehealth, middlewear, and three-dimensional printing.
The report noted how the modern telehealth system – allowing the use of phones and standard videoconferencing systems to connect patients with doctors, nurses and other health specialists – enables organizations to reach outside of their walls and provide critical specialty or primary care to needy patients while reducing the need for lengthy travel times and crowded waiting rooms.
ECRI also took note of the increasing use of “middlewear” – software that filters and manages alarms and alerts before they reach the physician’s smartphone. Middleware can help prioritize alarms, route notifications to the most applicable recipient, and analyze multiple streams of information to give early warning about emerging trends in a patient’s health.
Technologies Changing Home Healthcare
InformationWeek identified eight technologies that help people age at home rather than seek help from nursing home and assisted living care. The technologies are sensors, GPS, mobile apps, remote monitoring tools, big data, household staff, staying social and telehealth.
When seniors are away from home GPS-tracking technologies allow families, health workers, or law enforcement professionals to locate them in case of emergency. For elderly patients who need regular monitoring, various devices that connect to their smartphones can reduce time-consuming and expensive doctor visits. In addition to many kinds of fitness bands that track sleep, diet, and steps taken, there are a growing number of devices that measure glucose, blood pressure, heart rate and other vital measurements.
Healthcare Startups Receive Record Funding in 2014
Attesting to the increasing importance of healthcare technology, venture funding for startups that focus on the intersection of healthcare and technology hit a record $4.1 billion in 2014 in the U.S., according to CNBC.
That represented a 125 percent jump from a year earlier, according to Rock Health, which provides seed funding for startups and conducts research in this area.
“Technology can improve the quality of care dramatically,” Malay Gandhi, managing director of Rock Health, said. “Its time has come.”
(Photos are from the above mentioned sites.)