Many of us have come to rely on technology for our work, home, or social life. It makes tasks more efficient and allows for remote socialization – which was important in 2020.
But what about changes in medical technology? Will doctors, surgeons, and other health professionals be using new and improved medical tech to provide care for their patients?
The short answer is yes – they will.
To find out more, keep reading for the top 7 medical tech trends expected in 2021.
1. Telehealth Expansion
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals decided to visit with their doctors through remote telehealth appointments. Non-emergency care was shifted online, which was efficient and convenient for patients and healthcare providers.
But there are challenges to this new healthcare technology. Medical professionals had to learn how to become HIPAA compliant while using online platforms to discuss private health information.
In 2021 patients will likely continue receiving some forms of healthcare remotely and others in person. There may also be a surge in telehealth platforms with better cybersecurity.
2. Artificial Intelligence
The healthcare technology conversation wouldn’t be complete without addressing the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Using AI will allow researchers, medical staff, and front-line workers to automate procedures to collect information. Then, they can use this data to provide higher-quality patient care.
AI also has the potential to automate cleaning and sanitation procedures in hospitals improving overall cleanliness.
During the pandemic, AI was used to detect hotspots for the virus. The technology can also help determine which populations are at higher risk. AI will also play a big role in tracking COVID-19 vaccinations.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Virtual reality isn’t just for gaming. The healthcare world hopes to use augmented and virtual reality technology to improve education and training for health professionals.
Students can see and experience what it’s like to care for patients without leaving the classroom. The education and training for doctors, nurses, and some specialists will rely on healthcare software and virtual reality for safe learning environments until COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available.
Virtual reality is also popular in senior care facilities. The technology allows them to feel connected even when they can’t socialize or visit with family in person. The other benefit is virtual reality can help trigger memories and support overall mental health and wellbeing.
4. Accessibility of Personal Health Information
In the past few years, many medical facilities have moved from traditional paper patient files to electronic medical records. It improves efficiency and quality of care when a patient’s information can be easily shared among different doctors and specialists.
This year, electronic vaccination records are going to be more important than ever. Using electronic records can help track who has been vaccinated and when.
We have also seen a shift in healthcare towards patient-driven care and better communication between doctors and their patients. Many primary care doctors have new healthcare software that allows them to send direct messages through a patient portal.
The growth of patient portals also means that personal health information and health records are more accessible. A patient can view their lab results or notes from their last doctor’s visit with just a few clicks.
5. Hospital Design
Hospitals will change in 2021. We have already seen an increase in sanitization measures and the use of AI to track everything from handwashing habits to fever detection.
Technology within hospitals will improve the health and safety of patients, medical staff, and visitors. The hospital design will change to reduce the possibility of spreading illness.
Physical changes to spaces like clear plastic barriers will help healthcare providers continue to visit with patients safely. The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that the hospital environment had to change if they were going to keep up with a growing number of cases and the internal spreading within facilities.
6. Genetic Mapping
Medical technology has made huge advances in genetic mapping and that is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond. With these discoveries, researchers have been able to identify the sources of several genetic disorders.
In addition to mapping genetic material, new medical technology allows genes to be edited for therapeutic reasons. It’s known as CRISPR technology and it is of the most notable and promising medical technology tools in history.
Diseases like cancer, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s may be entirely curable once gene editing becomes even more precise. Advances in gene-editing technology could help rid the world of several debilitating diseases and conditions.
7. Collection and Use of Data
The healthcare field will not only be driven by the consumer but by data. Current healthcare software can use data collection as a way to learn about health conditions, treatments, prevention techniques, and more.
Data can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and track the success of the vaccine too.
The healthcare field also relies on data for financial information. Insurance companies and healthcare providers can use healthcare software to predict spending on healthcare and budget resources accordingly.
On an individual level, health data is also becoming more important. Through the use of health apps, we can all track biometrics from smartphones or smartwatches. We can learn about our own health through data and play a more active part in improving it. Additionally, healthcare providers can use data points from wearable health devices to get real-time data on their patients.
In 2021 you can expect to see a big rise in health apps and health data collection in general.
Improving Healthcare Using Medical Tech
As you can see, there are many exciting trends in medical tech that will allow medical professionals to provide more accessible, higher-quality care for patients. Using extensive data and artificial intelligence will automate procedures and make healthcare more efficient.
Throughout 2021 we hope to see a healthier and happier population – and healthcare technology can help us get there!
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