Technology plays a major role in healthcare development around the world and we saw more proof of that in the past year. This year, we can expect to see technology dramatically change people’s entire healthcare experience. Here are 4 ways technology will dominate healthcare in 2015.
1. Investments in Technology
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is changing the healthcare industry by putting the focus on consumers. This will force health insurers to shift strategies from old business models using employer-sponsored products and services to more consumer-focused offerings.
In an article on TechCrunch.com, Joe Riley, a managing member of the healthcare investment firm Psilos, stated that he predicts a “surge in acquisitions in 2015 as the insurers add technologies, products and services that deliver a differentiated consumer experience on price, quality and service. Significant investment will be required throughout the health insurers’ value chains, from research to product development, to operations and to marketing and sales”.
Among the technological solutions that Riley predicts companies will focus on this year include automated claims adjudication and payment software, population health management tools, mobile and telecommunication strategies such as online appointment scheduling, prescription ordering and direct payments, and a 24/7 customer service software.
2. Healthcare Data and the Cloud
In order for healthcare providers to improve the quality of their services and at the same time manage costs, they will have to create more comprehensive patient profiles. Cynthia Burghard, Research Director from the research firm IDC, in an article on EnterpriseInnovation.net, predicts that “15 percent of hospitals will create a comprehensive patient profile by 2016 that will allow them to deliver personalized treatment plans”. This calls for improvements in data collection and management, which will encourage more healthcare providers to make use of the cloud.
In the same article, Judy Hanover, Research Director at IDC, also stated that “by 2018, 80 percent of healthcare data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime, as providers seek to leverage cloud based ecologies and infrastructure for data collection, aggregation and analytics and decision-making”.
3. Wearable Devices for Fitness and Healthcare
There has been huge growth in the wearable devices market in recent years. According to an article on the IBTimes.com, Juniper Research estimates 19 million devices in the market last year, and this number is expected to reach 70 million by 2018.
Wearables are not only able to help users track their heart rates but also monitor other facets of their health. This year, though, we can expect to see wearable devices to expand from wrist devices to other products such as biometric shirts and headphones that track heart rate.
What is more interesting though is the movement to transition from just fitness to healthcare. One of the major goals now is for physicians to be able to monitor data coming from these wearable devices in order to make healthcare decisions.
4. Healthcare Apps
As more and more data are collected from wearable devices, there is also a corresponding increase in the development of healthcare apps that provide storage for and management of this data. Some of the apps available in the market now are the Apple Heath and Google Fit platforms. Since patients nowadays are also more empowered to take charge of their health, more healthcare apps are predicted to come out in the market soon.
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