Six Healthcare Technology Trends and Their Impact on IT Infrastructure

healthcare tech
healthcare tech

Queues at medical providers will grow shorter thanks to patients using mobile and electronic technology to assess their health and self-diagnose problems. They can then make a phone call appointment with their doctor, and discuss any treatments they require.

Two tablets – one at either end – will guide their discussion as they review information from the patient’s self-diagnosis app. The medical provider’s assistant can then authorize medication for delivery by drone to the patient’s home.

The Importance of Healthcare Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the healthcare sector. As ideas develop and the capabilities of different wearable tech, apps and software evolves, we’re starting to see a huge upsurge in the number of healthcare businesses offering technology-enabled care. 

The rise of healthcare technology is beneficial for patients and healthcare companies alike. Not only does this highly specialised technology facilitate easier, faster decisions in care, it can significantly reduce the length of time taken to reach a diagnosis and make it easier for patients to access the treatments they need. There are considerable cost savings to be made, too, as healthcare businesses begin to offer patients cutting edge tech designed to reduce the time needed to provide treatments and manage conditions. 

As the capabilities of leading healthcare technology develop, we can expect to see technology being used more and more within the healthcare industry, to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of different conditions. 

The Role of IT Infrastructure in Healthcare

Technology is now becoming intertwined with a whole range of different healthcare processes, from data management and communication to diagnosis and the delivery of treatment. As a result, IT infrastructure is playing an important role in facilitating the latest and most groundbreaking healthcare. 

Healthcare providers are now reliant on a wide range of technology-based tools, which use everything from medical machine learning to artificial intelligence to provide the best healthcare for patients. Apps and software are also becoming fully integrated with healthcare provisions for many patients. 

IT infrastructure is now of the utmost importance to healthcare providers and businesses. Any unexpected downtime could have catastrophic results for patients, quickly lengthening waiting times for different treatments and affecting the quality of the service that they receive. Data protection is also crucial for companies operating in this field, with the risks associated with data security becoming ever more serious as healthcare technology develops. 

Healthcare companies must therefore ensure that IT infrastructure is completely fail-safe, and that they are doing all in their power to limit downtime and keep patients’ data safe. And as technology becomes ever more complex, it’s down to healthcare companies to make sure that their infrastructure is equipped to facilitate increased demand, with no detrimental effect on the service that patients receive. 

1. The Internet of Things Will Spawn an Internet of Health

The internet of medical things – as it’s increasingly called – already watches over our health in various ways. Take the wearables we use at the gym to monitor our blood pressure and breathing rate for example.

The Journal of the U.S. National Library of Medicine says this fresh approach is changing the way we remain healthy. Ordinary citizens increasingly use these technologies to track their sleep, food intake, activity, vital signs, and other physiological status, it says.

This activity is complemented by IoT systems that continuously collect and process environment-related data that has a bearing on human health. This synergy has created an opportunity for a new generation of healthcare solutions.

Deloitte’s Connected Health report confirms technology is transforming social and health care by reducing one-to-one patient visits by half. Moreover, they are also more likely to see their treatments through because their provider can monitor them remotely.

If your company engages with the healthcare industry in any way, then prepare for big data flowing in from millions of internet health things.

2. How Artificial Intelligence Will Bridge the Processing Gap

Vast amounts of data will flow from this paradigm shift from reactive to proactive and preventive medicine. This is a given necessity in the imperative to make decent medical treatment available to all.

Machines will rapidly learn how to process this information far faster than doctors and researchers ever could. This great gift of science is of inestimable value in emergency situations where informed decisions are critical.

McKinsey says data-crunching algorithms could slash medical and pharmaceutical costs by $100 billion annually. It imagines how cross-silo integration could lead to remarkable insights between researchers, patients and caregivers.

If your company engages with the healthcare industry in any way, then allow for increasing energy consumption from greater computer power.

3. When Healthcare Providers and HIPAA Face Up

The Deloitte’s report we cited earlier also comments on capacity challenges related to technology enabled care (TEC). These include quality, reliability, data overload, privacy and security issues.

Three out of every four millennials are interested in using a mobile app to manage their health, schedule medical appointments and access health records, according to Strategic Insights. However, new initiatives are tightening up on their data privacy rights too.

It’s becoming crunch time therefore for major healthcare providers, as they steadily come to grips with TEC in an emerging technology environment. Do they accept the reality of multiple data centers and their development costs, or do they do their machine learning on a cloud?

The U.S. Health Insurance and Portability Act (HIPAA) directs healthcare organizations to implement secure electronic access to health data, and remain compliant. Many cloud and colocation centers may already meet these standards.

4. The Edge Data Centers Rising to Meet This Need

Remote clouds are losing market to local facilities, because these are better able to accommodate big data without line speed loss but with faster response times. This may be the next logical step in the evolution of data processing technology, as we move from centralized mainframes through decentralized client-server-networks to hybrid cloud deployments.

Edge IT infrastructure is on the periphery of core processing, but never far away. It could be physically on your premises, or at a convenient colocation center nearby. The beauty of this approach is you can develop your AI learning without committing to your own facility until you are confident you know what you need.

If your company engages with the healthcare industry in any way, then perhaps you should consider an edge data center for your critical storage.

5. Why Healthcare Data Security Should be Uppermost in Your Mind

The U.S. Health Insurance and Portability Act insists on military grade security, because patient records contain lucrative information for cyber criminals. The stakes are high because the government has punitive sanctions if cyber defenses fail.

  • You must do a security risk assessment and address any vulnerabilities you uncover
  • You must implement appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards
  • You must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information.

The HIPAA Journal reports the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has increased enforcement in the light of escalating threats. It is also conducting audits of affected organizations to assess compliance and enforce improvements.

If your company engages with the healthcare industry in any way, then you need to take the confidentiality of patient information seriously. That’s because the pickings are potentially rich for cyber criminals, and they are getting smarter at it too.

6. Increasing Primary Health Care through Health Tech Technology

The Journal of the U.S. National Library of Medicine sees a powerful role for health tech in primary care. This is especially the case because multiple providers now address the various needs of individuals.

The sheer volume of data dictates they will research information and find medical solutions on data networks. It is becoming impossible to imagine a medical provider without access to this vast treasure house of knowledge.

Furthermore the new health technology and associated devices enable patients to take responsibility for daily monitoring their health, and obtaining advice from a caregiver without necessarily leaving their home, or bed.

The potential is immense for democratizing healthcare in affordable, sustainable ways. However there are data risks we must manage because of the overarching importance of protecting patient confidentiality.

We prepared this overview analysis because we believe technology-enabled care is the future, merging with the present for a newly empowered health industry.