Even before COVID-19, the global healthcare industry was expected to increase in value. Now, the pandemic has put the industry in the spotlight. That trend is also true for India, whose healthcare industry is expected to reach US$133.44 billion (₹8.6 trillion) by 2022 according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).
A big reason for that increase in value is not just because of COVID-19, but also how we have adapted the industry to the 21st century. As with all other industries, technology has left a lasting impact on healthcare. Over the last decade, we have seen a massive shift towards technological solutions for every part of the industry – from manufacturing, to consultation and even medicine delivery.
Now 2020 has given technology an even bigger role to play. Social distancing and lockdown measures have permanently disrupted the healthcare industry, and there’s no looking back now. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the major technological trends that will transform the healthcare industry in the foreseeable future.
Big Data & the Cloud for Healthcare
Hospitals deal with a lot of data, often a few terabytes a day. Over a few years, an individual patient can also create a lot of data around his/her records. Managing and analyzing this isn’t an easy feat, which is why big data is necessary. Big data analytics, along with AI allows doctors and staff to easily reduce large data sets into small, understandable chunks.
According to IBEF, big data is expected to be worth US$16 billion by 2025. By adopting such analytics, the healthcare industry will be able to better segment patient profiles, understand side-effects of medication, prioritize treatment options and much more.
Of course, none of this will be possible without the cloud. Cloud computing is the backbone that will enable any technological disruption. It facilitates the safe storage of electronic health records, easy access from anywhere and improves management.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
IoT refers to network of smart devices that are capable of gathering and sharing electronic information. When applied to the medical industry, IoMT refers to a network of interconnected medical devices, applications and tools all synced to a central network. IoMT is valuable to large hospitals, as it provides doctors, nurses and admin staff with all the latest information, automatically across devices. That reduces management and paper work, but also helps to keep everyone updated.
For patients, IoMT devices like wearables or sensors allow them to view and share real-time health data. That’s highly valuable, as it saves them the effort of having to take regular readings, and share it manually with their doctors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
A device’s ability to learn on its own is critical to industries that deal with a lot of data, and the healthcare industry is one of them. By using AI, doctors can make better more informed judgements of a patient’s health. AI is also known to help identify serious illnesses like cancer, much better than humans can.
It’s also possible to use AI to predict results with high accuracy in clinical trials. As the world is struggling to create a COVID-19 vaccine, AI could play a major role. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) “India’s AI spending will grow from US$300.7 million in 2019 to US$880.5 million in 2023 at a CAGR of 30.8%.” If the healthcare market can tap even into a fraction of that, it could save millions.
Healthcare Industry’s Cyber Security Challenge
This rapid transition to digital does come at a cost. As the healthcare industry becomes more technologically-dependent, more patients will turn to digital apps and portals. That means that more data will be available on the internet, and thus become a golden target for hackers. The Verge has chronicled just how big an issue this is for the healthcare industry.
As we adopt more technology, it is of paramount importance we adopt better cyber security standards. Unauthorized breaches into hospital networks can have devastating consequences, from personal data being stolen, to even being altered. There’s a serious risk of permanent harm and even death.
That risk is something we at Onsurity understand well. Which is why our employee healthcare plan app is built with the latest industry-standards, so all your information remains confidential. That way, your data is safe from hackers and thieves. We are also big believers in the technological disruption of the healthcare industry. That’s why Onsurity has built a product that is digital-first. It’s a cost-effective, scalable and flexible solution for any business, no matter how big or small.