It’s typical for improvements to the healthcare industry to be filed under “wouldn’t that be nice,” but being on the front line of the coronavirus crisis has bumped up some technological improvements to “how do we get that implemented yesterday.” We’ve once again teamed up with our friends at Career Karma to examine a few tech trends changing the healthcare industry, particularly with regard to COVID-19 response.
When we went from outbreak to pandemic back in March 2020, scientists and healthcare professionals soon realized that artificial intelligence algorithms could solve many of the challenges of a global pandemic much more efficiently than our human minds could.
One clear application of AI in healthcare that has become essential in fighting the pandemic is using machine learning algorithms to predict outbreaks. A Canadian startup was one of the first to raise the alert on the increase of patients with respiratory illness in Wuhan, China. And it continues to use its software to give airlines, public health officials, and hospitals insights into what they can expect from the virus.
And in addition to speeding up the research portion of developing a vaccine - huge thanks for shortening that usual years-long process - algorithms can help in the recovery that will follow those vaccines being widely administered. Hospitals who stockpiled PPE at more than 1000% of its normal price are now looking for ways to offload that financial dead weight before it expires. AI can determine where that product will be used and when.
One of the main healthcare trends that accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic was telemedicine. Remote work became the norm in many industries, and healthcare administration was no exception. But actually providing healthcare is a difficult task to get done over Zoom.
Telemedicine became the way many people “went” to the doctor, and that probably won’t change when the pandemic subsides. It was only a matter of time because tech is present in every aspect of our lives, and patients will expect the same from this industry. The challenge for hospitals specifically was keeping patients and staff alike safe while performing elective procedures. Part of that problem can be solved by…
Because of the need for distancing measures when the virus became a pandemic, the use of people to do certain jobs became impossible. Many people saw robotics as the perfect solution to this issue. Except that, as far as robotics has come, the field still hasn’t reached a point where robots’ usefulness is greater than the economic cost and the time necessary to prepare for adoption.
The need for reduced risk to human lives helped lessen the impact of both of those objections. Hospitals worldwide are increasingly using robots of all shapes and sizes to assist medical staff by monitoring patients, screening visitors, offering sanitation, and more.
For example, UVD Robots is a company that offers robots that can disinfect areas with UV lights. The opportunity that this provides for reducing exposure risk in public spaces - not just hospitals - is tremendous.
The Internet of Medical Things
The Internet of Medical Things is the term that describes the internet of things applied to the healthcare sector. It includes all the technology and devices used in healthcare that are connected between themselves and the internet. These can be sensors, monitors, machines, robots, wearables, and any other device that clinical and administrative healthcare staff use to assist them in their job.
One of the most important applications of IoMT is tracing outbreaks. Patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 could use their phones to trace back to all the places they were in the last few days, as has successfully been deployed in countries like New Zealand and Australia.
A software using data from many users in the same location could determine the possible source of the outbreak and advise people who were in contact with the patient to self-quarantine. That is one usage of the technology that’s recently become relevant, but IoMT has also become key in monitoring patients and improving telemedicine experiences.
Technology has been essential in fighting COVID-19, especially what the healthcare sector has been able to adopt and deploy in a short time. If you are interested in increasing your skills with any of these technologies to serve your community better and combat the problems that will continue to challenge the healthcare industry, check out Bootcamp Rankings to learn more on how you can start.