5 Hottest Trends in eHealth for 2017
We've suveyed the industry and identified the five hottest trends in e-health.
Big Data and AI
For some time now healthcare providers have used Google Trends to determine whether it’s time to prepare for a new outbreak of norovirus or to top up stocks of chlamydia tests, or if there will be a run on the local emergency ward that night. By keeping tabs on what people are googling, or how many people visit the medical advisory service’s website, they can predict future demand for medical care.
By combining this pre-emptive principle with AI (i.e., what is now known as data science), advanced linguistic analysis and large amounts of data (a.k.a. big data), in the future we will be able to both map and predict disease, risk factors, side-effects, diagnoses and costs. Patient journals represent an unparalleled "gold mine" of medical information and, in Sweden, thanks to the use of national identification numbers, we're also able to track a person’s health throughout their lifetime.
New technological aids have altered traditional information structures and the relationship between patient and caregiver has also changed. Patients can now google information about illnesses and treatments, read their digital patient journal online, learn of their doctor’s findings and take responsibility for their own care in a completely different way than in the past.
The use of digital and mobile IT solutions in healtcare means that care is no longer available in only a few specific locations. Nowadays, patients have the right to choose where they wish to seek care and, in the future, this will not only include choosing which local healthcare centre to visit, but also whether to hold their appointments via video link or to treat their depression using online therapy.
Apps and mobile technology are already a natural part of our everyday lives. The introduction has paved the way for many exciting products that combine this kind of technology with smart materials and assistive devices.
One of the many eHealth applications now available is the digital diary which allows patients to record measurement data and appraisals or to note down their thoughts during the day. They can then forward this information to their caregiver. Apps like this also give patients a simple means by which to take greater control over their own well-being, whether related to blood-sugar levels, blood pressure, or mood. Presently, healthcare providers make little use of all the rich data that this type of smart device can provide. However, through projects such as the Swedish eHealth Agency’s Health for Me and other platforms that allow patients to collect their health data, an attempt is being made to both understand and find ways to utilise this digital "treasure" for the benefit of both patients and providers.
One major feature of eHealth is large IT systems. These are designed to suit a broad user base, however, which invariably makes it difficult for them to cater specifically to any one user. The future lies in creating smaller, customised systems that can communicate with one another through their interoperability. Custom-designed digital solutions entail opening up the market to small-scale actors and utilising the entire ecosystem during development.
Courage and Determination
While not really a trend per se, decision-makers, users and patients will need courage and determination to successfully move eHealth in the right direction. On the other hand, given that we’re staring down the barrel of an ageing population and escalating healthcare costs, do we really have any other choice than to boldly seize the solutions eHealth offers?
Want to Know More?
Download Strikersoft’s complete trend report for more information and get inspired to embrace eHealth in 2017.