Apple Recognizes the Importance of Healthcare Tech
Types of health information technology
The EHR is the central component of the health IT infrastructure. An EHR, orelectronic medical record (EMR), is a person’s official, digital health recordand is shared among multiple healthcare providers and agencies. Other keyelements of the health IT infrastructure are the personal health record (PHR),which is a person’s self-maintained health record, and the health informationexchange (HIE), a health data clearinghouse or a group of healthcareorganizations that enter into an interoperability pact and agree to share databetween their various health IT systems. Thanks to smartphones and othermobile devices, in the coming years, PHRs will grow in popularity as consumersbecome more comfortable with their digital health information. Thus, PHRs willneed to integrate further with EHR technology.As a result of the mountain of patient information that healthcareorganizations now sit on, data analytics has taken a greater role in day-to-day operations. The ability to aggregate patient information, analyze it andthen base treatments on the results fits in well with population healthmanagement (PHM) and value-based healthcare. Artificial intelligence will takeanalytics to a higher level, although, as of 2018, AI is not relied upon fordiagnoses. Analytics also raises the question of who owns the data: thepatient, the healthcare organization or the vendor that produced the analyticssoftware? Trends in healthcare point to patients ultimately becoming theowners.There are other important health IT technologies beyond EHRs. Picturearchiving and communication systems (PACS) and vendor-neutral archives (VNAs)are two widely used types of health IT that help healthcare professionalsstore and manage patients’ medical images. In the past, radiology departmentshave been the primary repositories of medical images, but PACS and VNAs areintegrating radiology into the main hospital workflow. And other specialties,such as cardiology and neurology, have also become large-scale producers ofclinical images. In some instances, VNAs have been installed as a way to mergeimaging data stored in separate departments’ image banks in a multifacilityhealthcare system.Improvements in health technology include patient portals, which are not newbut are enjoying a second wind at hospitals and physician practices thanks tomore consumer-friendly designs. In earlier days, a patient portal may havebeen a clunky site that enabled patients to view upcoming visits and perhapssee raw lab test results. By comparison, modern portals provide more contextto a patient’s care. The portals let patients securely communicate with theirphysicians, pay bills, check services against what an insurance plan allows,download full medical records, order prescriptions and possibly interact witha chatbot for other services.Portals may also integrate with telemedicine systems, which enable securevideo conversations between patients and providers. As the ease andconvenience of video conferencing improves, telemedicine will be an importantpiece of the healthcare experience for patients who may need to speak to aphysician or nurse face-to-face but do not necessarily need an in-officevisit.More recent innovations in health IT technology include the greater use of theapplication program interface (API) to improve interoperability, the abilityto access and interact with health data via mobile devices and furtherexploration of blockchain as a way to better access and secure medicalrecords.
Benefits of health information technology
While some critics say EHRs have led to clinicians spending more time enteringdata than conversing with patients and produced cumbersome federalregulations, there is broad consensus on the benefits of health IT. Theseadvantages include: * the ability to use data analytics and big data to effectively manage population health management programs and reduce the incidence of expensive chronic health conditions; * the use of cognitive computing and analytics to perform precision medicine (PM) tailored to individual patients; * the ability to share health data among academic researchers to develop new medical therapies and drugs; and * the rights of patients to obtain and use their own health data and collaborate in their own care with clinicians.
Other health IT challenges
Some major challenges persist in health IT. Chief among them are obstacles tointeroperability, including a lack of commonly agreed-on health datainterchange standards, although the health IT standard-developing organizationHL7 International (Health Level Seven) has developed and promulgated severalpopular standards — most recently, FHIR (Fast Health InteroperabilityResources).Also, federal officials and patient advocates have identified as a pervasiveproblem the alleged practice of information blocking by some vendors andproviders in an attempt to stymie the ability to share health data in theirsystems. Health regulators have made it increasingly clear that they will nottolerate information blocking.
US Healthcare Data Gets Personalised With Mastercard, Lumedic & Others
A US-based open community that works towards the exchange of personalhealthcare — Lumedic Exchange (the Exchange), formed by Lumedic, Mastercard,Cambia Health Solutions, Providence and others have joined hands to set up acommon set of digital identity principles and standards leveraging blockchaintechnology that will be used to enable individuals to share their personalhealth information in a secure, verifiable and trusted manner.Industry experts said that the National Digital Health Mission(NDHM) shouldalso explore implementing a blockchain-based data platform for secure andseamless exchange of healthcare data. “The NDHM sandbox does have provisionsfor “consent management as a service” and “digital KYC for healthcareprofessionals”. Decentralized identity management solutions, with privacy-first design and zero-knowledge proof, can facilitate consent in a trustedfashion,” informed Sharat Chandra, blockchain and tech evangelist.
What is healthcare technology?
Technology in healthcare commonly referred to as ‘health tech,’ implies theuse of new technology in health care for improving some or overall aspects ofthe healthcare system. Healthcare IT technology gives insights into newtechnologies in the medical field and provides updates about new technologiesin healthcare. The current US health industry is faced with cost problems andis finding ways to implement new healthcare technologies. That’s whytechnology for healthcare is gaining increasing importance. Tech in healthcareintegrates technology-infused tools in each step of healthcare experience todetermine quality and efficiency. Healthcare information technology is the future of medical care, and much canbe learned from the latest health and technology news. Technologies inhealthcare apply knowledge and skills in the form of tools and devices and newinnovations for resolving healthcare challenges. The main purpose oftechnology in healthcare is to improve health centers’ productivity, managestaff and operational processes, and enhance access to quality healthcare.With healthcare technology, the medical sector can deal with or improveongoing issues such as high costs, long waiting times, limited access toinsurance, and healthcare providers.
Trends in healthcare technology
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the US and global medicalsector in 2020. The healthcare technology trends indicate a slow, but ongoinggrowth and innovation in the health sector. Technological trends in healthcareare marked by advances such as AI and digital technology to deal with crisesand improve virtual care. Telemedicine, mobile health, virtual conferencing,and the internet of medical things (IoMT) are emerging healthcare technologytrends. Health technology trends of 2020 also observed an increase inhealthcare wearables and sensors, cloud computing, big data, and predictiveanalysis. These digital healthcare trends highlights that the healthcare industry isadapting to the changing environment to provide better care to patients. Inthe year 2020, the US and global healthcare industry faced new challenges butthese were also accompanied by new technology for healthcare. Tech predictionssuggest that health care technology advances will continue in 2021. Let’s havea look at the technology trend in healthcare and the latest healthtechnologies in healthcare that would rise in 2021
Top 5 future estimations for the healthcare technology
Patient First ApproachPatient First is a program to Develop healthcare IT Solutions for educatingpatients about healthcare. Patient First aims to educate patients and maketheir user-experience easy through responsive innovations in health andtechnology. Patients can learn about potential health concerns, the riskfactors, and what they can do to deal with such issues. The Patient FirstApproach aimed at making people self-aware and motivated towards healthcarewill continue to trend in 2021. It includes all the latest healthcaretechnologies, such as patient engagement, mHealth solutions, and UI/UXplatforms that are user-friendly. Online health insurance technology is alsoavailable from 2020, and it will also be popular in 2021. Better remote patient monitoringSince 2020, the association of technology and healthcare has seen a rise invirtual healthcare, which means more online appointments, real-timetelevisits, and remote care. Physicians would need to monitor vitals and keeptrack of health conditions of the patients. This can be achieved easily byremote patient monitoring (RPM). RPM tools include internet-based devices suchas health bands, blood pressure cuffs, blood-oxygen sensors, IoT glucosemeters, and IoT thermometers. Real-time data can be collected through thesedevices, which the physicians can receive and interpret online. Health EquityOne of the important focus areas of technology in healthcare today is healthequity. Health equity means eliminating unfair and avoidable differences inhealth among population groups based on social, economic, demographic, orgeographic factors. Disparities in health care access due to race, ethnicity,and geography increased during the pandemic in 2020. The emphasis on thesocial determinants of health and diversity equity and inclusion is expectedto rise in 2021. The need for new technology in healthcare also grew rapidly.Health technology news reported that health equity would continue to gainmajor attention in 2021. As per the tech predictions for 2021, providers,suppliers, and payers will invest time in addressing health equity to providebetter health accessible to everyone. Data sharing and interoperability2021 may possibly deal with more data in 2020 due to the tests and results ofCOVID-19 vaccines. Interoperability would be extremely important in healthcaretech this year and a major priority. Data sharing and interoperability will beintegrated into the ongoing advancements in the US health industry’s ITinfrastructure. Thus, we can anticipate that integrated care services will bemore accessible in 2021 because of the newest health care technology andimproved and secure data sharing and interoperability systems. Telemedicine for mental health careStudies in US tech and health have revealed that more than half of the USA’sadult population suffers from mental conditions but are unable to receivetreatment. Real-time care access was a major concern in 2020 when the worldfaced a pandemic situation, and health access was limited. Telemedicine soaredhigh in 2020 and is likely to be a popular technology for health in 2021.Telemedicine applications can provide easy access to quality care, which wouldgreatly serve the US’s mental health sector. Physicians can conduct counselingsessions or therapy through new technologies in healthcare like video-conferencing and can contact patients through the chatbox feature. Telehealthtechnology is a convenient and accessible way for patients with mental illnessto receive quality care anytime from anywhere.
The Stunning Growth of Tech in Healthcare
In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed intolaw. This bill provided economic stimulus in areas like tax relief, socialwelfare provisions, and unemployment benefits. Included in this $787 billionlegislation, 20% was allocated for healthcare improvements with $19.2 billionreserved exclusively towards advancing electronic health records and theoverall exchange of health information. In order to effectively implementARRA, also referred to as ‘Meaningful Use’, the United States governmentincentivized eligible healthcare professionals to participate. And by 2015,issued penalties for organizations non-compliant with the policy- taking formin a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursements. This legislation, coupled withthe demand from patients, has led to the acceleration of health informaticsand the need for health informatics working professionals.
Apple Recognizes the Importance of Healthcare Tech
In 2014, Apple stepped into the healthcare ring with the launch of the Healthapp and HealthKit platform. Providing an opportunity for consumers to monitorthings like personal health data, fitness metrics, calorie intake/output, andsleep patterns. The Health app brings these measurements to life on yourdevice, all in one place to review and share. While HealthKit serves as thedeveloper platform underneath, gathering data from users different health andfitness apps to make it visible through the Health app. Following thesuccessful launch of the Health App and HealthKit, Apple introduced the AppleWatch in 2015. The Apple Watch not only offered an alternate and abbreviatedway to access personal health information but shortened the gap betweenphysicians and patients.Now able to offer a platform and a product, Apple began exploring the waysthey could encourage healthier behaviors from customers. Appealing not only tothe ‘worried well’ but more specifically to patients with long-term medicalconditions, like diabetes or atrial fibrillation. Apple began researchingpartnerships with insurance providers and health companies, like American Welland Glimpse, to create a one-stop shop for personal health data through Appledevices. Offering users the ability to store prescriptions, allergyinformation, and health conditions, as well as, share with their physicians.“Give patients their data and let them control its destiny.” – DavidBlumenthal, President of Commonwealth FundIn 2017, Apple joined forces with AliveCor to build the world’s first FDA-cleared Electrocardiogram (EKG) for Apple Watch. By simply placing your thumbon AliveCor’s KardiaBand sensor, Apple’s SmartRhythm technology produces aninstant analysis to evaluate heart rate and physical activity. Apple has alsoteamed with Dexcom, one of the largest global leaders in glucose management,to pair Apple devices with Dexcom technology for users to track and monitorglucose levels making continued visibility to this health metric possible.As Apple enters into this new era of healthcare, chief among their prioritiesis consumer privacy and security. And as they develop new products to enhancethe patient experience, they must meet FDA regulations in the U.S. and MHRAregulations in the UK before offering devices as a consumer-facing solution.And although Apple currently has software in place at 39 U.S. health systems-many of which are among the most prominent in the nation-users eagerly wait tosee what’s next.Read more: Is Health Informatics a Good Career Choice?
Improving hospital metrics
Penetration into the healthcare is already high and will grow exponentiallyover the next five to 10 years, according to Robert Krohn, partner andhealthcare practice lead at ISG. Starting with electronic health records andmoving to IoT, the quality of predictive analytics and real-time analytics, aswell as digital offering that enhance the patient interface, which youngerpatients are migrating toward, are growing daily, he says.What this all means for hospitals is improved patient outcomes and patientsatisfaction, both of which increase Medicare payments, as well as lower costsand higher margins due to operating efficiencies, Spearing says. But while ITfirms are shaking up healthcare with AI and automation and helping doctorsbetter tailor patient treatments, he hesitates to call them disruptive justyet.“As long as the same decades-old issues continue to plague healthcare — lackof interoperability, questionable security, over-regulation, over-employment(driven by the tedious manually intensive approaches to administration, claimsprocessing, testing, auditing) misdiagnoses, etc. — I’ll be pessimistic of anyclaims of disruption,” Spearing says.
Putting patients first
As hospitals and health systems expand their palette of digital partners,should they be thinking and acting more like them? T2C’s Spearing thinks so.“Responsiveness, efficiency and user experience … are just a few traits oftoday’s successful technology companies and their products, and I don’t thinkany of these immediately come to mind when a patient recounts theirexperiences with hospitals, health plans and the ‘patient portals’ offered byeither.” Spearing says.* * *“I believe that patient experiences and outcomes, as well as the hospitals’bottom line, would improve if hospitals were to ‘act’ more like techcompanies.”Derek SpearingSenior Manager, Top Tier Consulting* * *Pointing to Yelp, Spearing says complaints of long wait times, lack of pricetransparency, billing issues and patient privacy could also be addressed andeased — to some extent at least — with digital solutions.Organizations should identify their core competencies and where they caninvest their people to achieve the greatest return on investment toward theirmission, which is caring for people, according to Delaney. Large technologycompanies do infrastructure well, so it’s a waste of good talent to focus anorganization’s IT staff on reproducing that.Delaney recommends that organizations leverage the platforms tech companieshave to offer and then innovate on top of that to create “that last mile ofcapabilities” that improves patient interaction and operations.“Partnering with the large multinationals, assuming you’ve got appropriatescale to do so, is the appropriate approach,” Krohn says. “That being said,you can’t be blind and immune to the emergence of technologies. You need tounderstand what it is that your partner does at a level where yourappreciating it and figuring out how it can help your overall business modeland your patient experience, while not necessarily trying to recreate it.”Technology Trends in Healthcare in 2021: The Rise of AICOVID-19 has become an unprecedented disruption to all facets of thehealthcare industry in a very short amount of time. Although the healthcaretechnology industry has been slow growing in the past, innovation is needed todeal with the pandemic. AI in healthcare, as well as other importanttechnologies, are critical to resolving the crisis and for generating futuregrowth.To better understand where the healthcare technology industry is going,studying key tech trends is paramount. Although proven systems are oftenpreferred for their reliability, businesses are always looking for new ways toimprove their performance, productivity, and efficiency.Now, let’s talk about healthcare technology trends in 2021.
Trend 3: The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Various devices and mobile apps have come to play a critical role in trackingand preventing chronic illnesses for many patients and their doctors. Bycombining IoT development with telemedicine and telehealth technologies, a newInternet of Medical Things (IoMT) has emerged. This approach includes the useof a number of wearables, including ECG and EKG monitors. Many other commonmedical measurements can also be taken, such as skin temperature, glucoselevel, and blood pressure readings.By 2025, the IoT industry will be worth $6.2 trillion. The healthcare industryhas become so reliant on IoT technology in 2020 that 30% of that market sharefor IoT devices will come from healthcare.With the arrival of new delivery methods, such as the first smart pillapproved in 2017 by the FDA, practitioners will have many interesting optionsfor providing care in a more effective manner.Providing consistent and effective communication with numerous medical IoTdevices is one of the biggest challenges that the sector faces. Manufacturersstill regularly utilize their own proprietary protocols for talking todevices. This can present problems, especially when trying to collect largeamounts of data by servers.Connectivity issues are also still common, as the collection of data bymicrocontrollers and smartphones can be disrupted by a number of factors inthe environment. Buffering methods on local microcontrollers need to becomemore robust in order to maintain better connections. Potential securityconcerns also need to be addressed, as indicated by a report from the PonemonInstitute’s Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of HealthcareData that showed that 89% of healthcare operations had been the subjects of atleast one data breach.