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Trends That Will Transform The Connected Health Industry Outlook in 2020

1) Consumer Digital Health Devices

The automobile industry is responding to healthcare trends and initiatives that call for health care monitoring. Any part of the car that has contact with the human body can be a biometric sensor to measure and check vital signs. The data will instantly go to the cloud. A camera system will monitor the driver’s head movements and neck along with their posture, temperature, and heart rate to prevent the driver from falling asleep.

The popular wearable bluetooth connected healthcare device applications track statistics during physical activities and sleep stages. They monitor and transfer information to the physician of patient calorie and medical intake, glucose levels, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation. Manufacturers are making these devices more miniature and are available in watches, eyeglasses, contact lenses, jewelry, wristbands, and clothing. They attempt to incentivize consumers to change habits and take more personal responsibility for their own health.

Hearing aid manufacturers have enabled bluetooth connected healthcare device technology.

The internet of things wearable device technology continue to develop better quality devices with FDA guidance and directives. Some manufacturers have achieved medical grade readings. Devices classified as a medical device can be used by physicians and hospitals for improved cardiac care.

2) Customer Service

Medical offices are more conscious of providing good customer service by accurately scheduling patients, so a long office wait time will not inconvenience patients or waiting weeks for an appointment.  Offices are creating the online ability to book, change, cancel appointments, and access transparent pricing.  They are connecting to third-party online scheduling with platforms such as Google and Yelp.

Physician offices use text messaging for appointment reminders, test results, prescription refill notifications, promoting specials, and monitoring patients with serious illnesses.

Social media is the new “go to” platform to get healthcare information. Medical offices use social media to cultivate patient relationships and encourage patients to give online feedback.

Healthcare providers are responding to this ability of informed consumers to choose healthcare options and physicians.  Referral MD says online site reviews are more relevant than primary healthcare provider referrals. Based on their own research and relying more on online reviews, consumers choose physicians, healthcare organizations, and treatments.

Medical offices are improving their website presence with relevant health algorithms and exceptional content, emphasizing their expertise, integrity, and reliability.

3) The Human Factor

More attention is being paid to the human factor when designers, engineers, and manufacturers develop new digital connective devices. They realize the greater human impact in healthcare trends as one device becomes a tool to interact with another device. The answers to the following questions are integral to product success.

  • Who will be the actual user who operates, reads, handles, or communicates with the device?
  • How will the device impact the environment? Are there safety, lighting, or noise distraction issues for other healthcare team members?
  • Who does the data belong to? Does the patient or the doctor or the healthcare organization own the data? Does patient authorization have to be given to use the device?

4) Remotely Evaluate Health Conditions and Digital Therapeutic Treatment Model Healthcare Trends

Virtual care digital trends escalate advanced applications in health care modules including rural areas and mobile emergency response units to be able to instantly compare and evaluate health conditions and treatment models. Remote patient monitoring, implanted medical devices, distant medical software, and mobile health applications are all advancing virtual technologies in the connected health environment.

Electronic patient treatment technology is being driven by chronic health conditions and baby boomer volume. Digital electronic care will apply to wellness therapy, behavioral and mental health, nutritional guidance, dental care, and drug prescription management including Medicare’s electronic prescribing program.

5) Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Technology

Artificial intelligence with advanced analytic capabilities is on board to:

  • Increase the speed and efficiency of diagnostic imaging
  • Discover new medication and cures for diseases
  • Advance regenerative medicine
  • Evaluate risk assessment of eye disease
  • Automate patient reminders for medication
  • Deliver dosage based on individual body chemistry and environmental factors
  • Identify high-risk people such as opioid addicts
  • Study voice patterns to diagnose chronic diseases over the phone
  • Process data from multiple sources with accurate predictive analysis in real time for emergency triage teams

Notable in robotic surgery:

  • Robotic surgery was named as a top new technology at the Cleveland Clinic for 2019.
  • Develop robotic technology for use in the mental and physical healthcare of elderly patients.

6) Data Organization and Management for Collaboration Among Healthcare Organizations

Cooperation has been gaining ground among healthcare organizations to collect, share, and analyze voluminous amounts of data. With connecting technology, they collaborate to investigate drug usage, discover a variety of treatments, locate available clinical trials, overcome inconsistent billing practices, determine the effectiveness of self-care in chronic illnesses, identify individuals at risk, and direct patients to the lowest cost treatments with the best results.

Automated connecting systems and procedures for the patients, insurance companies, and medical professionals will:

  • Replace and integrate expensive data management applications within one health information management system that will create easier access to patient records
  • Streamline patient records requests
  • OCR technology will extract large amounts of patient records with easy access
  • Automate the completion of patient record input accurately, quickly, and easily without scanning
  • Locate and make use of data previously hidden in documents
  • Make use of the cloud for inventory or backup of data
  • Synchronize billing and accounting data in one system

7) Voice Technology

Voice technology application use is advancing in chronic pain management and elderly care.

Voice technology of Vocera Smartbadge won the 2019 award for breakthrough healthcare technology. Physicians, nurses, and the entire healthcare team can receive and handle critical information instantly without the use of hands at the point of care. This device goes beyond voice and includes texting and accessing data without annoying alert and alarm noises.

Alexa technology devices are new applications for connected health convenience. Medical professionals and patient interaction assist with post-surgery instructions, appointment updates, and other specialty health information.

Voice-enabled medical transcription applications are acceptable for short pieces of information.

8) Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are collaborating with manufacturers to give away wearable tracking devices. They collect and use the data to identify lifestyles and detect body abnormality information. They interact with policyholders to adjust premiums and offer discounts to reduce their risks and claim costs.

One company offers a smart toothbrush to policyholders. With the data retrieved the insurance company monitors and compares the toothbrushing habits of the user with standard practices. They send reminders of ways to improve their dental hygiene and hope to reduce dental insurance premiums.

9) Blockchain Technology

The blockchain-based network has been developing connected health platforms for all sectors of healthcare. The blockchain network collects, assembles, verifies, and manages the integrity of massive volumes of sensitive patient private information across the entire industry. Here a few ways the blockchain technology is expanding and connecting healthcare services:

  • Precision medicine DNA data
  • Drug research discovery, development, and distribution
  • Clinical trials
  • Diagnostic devices and procedures
  • Healthcare compliance of regulations
  • Research and analysis
  • Marketing
  • Patient convenience in filling out forms before hospital admittance
  • Contracts between insurance providers and healthcare organizations
  • Contracts between hospitals and patients
  • Healthcare plans with incentives
  • Verify credentials for physicians and other medical professionals
  • Accounting and financial reporting
  • Claim processing
  • Managing patient rights

10) Risk Management

Nothing in connected health is more important than assessing and managing the risk vs. benefit of all of the connected digital health devices. All medical conditions and the lives of all target populations are impacted. Guidance procedure risk analysis include:

  • Intended use
  • Limitations or restrictions
  • Responsibility
  • Outsourcing
  • Compliance
  • End-user secure access and delivery
  • Review and documentation
  • Task performance
  • Information flow
  • The severity of possible harm
  • Probability and frequency of event occurrence

11) Standardization

Digital assistance devices are facing the challenges of fragmentation in the new technology which can become a hodgepodge of diverse operating systems that may or may not work with a competitors’ device. Efforts are underway to establish standardized platforms in the connectivity of medical application use. This will allow consumers to conveniently and seamlessly add devices to their internet of things.

If you re searching for more in depth information on the connected health market view our guide to connected health.