5 Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Health Informatics

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Health informatics represents the intersection of information technology and design and delivery of health care services. As new health care technologies emerge, a wealth of data is available to help professionals provide quality patient care. It’s important for health informatics professionals to understand how to leverage data, build effective information tech systems, and share insightful discoveries and information access across organizations.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the University of Illinois- Chicago’s Health Informatics & Health Information Management program.

Infographic on 5 Emerging Technologies and the Impact on Health Informatics

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is tech designed to mimic the human cognitive processes. This form of deep learning utilizes neural networks with multiple layers which can analyze large volumes of complex data.

AI Market Projections

The global AI market is projected to increase from $21.46 billion in 2018 to $190.61 billion by 2025. The AI healthcare market is predicted to grow from $667.1 million in 2016 to $7,988.8 million in 2022.

How it’s Used in Health Care

There are several AI applications already in use. This is partially due to Google DeepMind Health, which builds AI and mobile tools that mine medical data to improve how hospitals and health care pros deliver patient care.

Together with London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital, DeepMind is researching how an AI algorithm trained with thousands of retinal scans can analyze eye scans more quickly, accurately, and efficiently than human specialists. DeepMind is also working with London-based UCLH to research how AI technology can efficiently identify cancerous and health tissues on CT and MRI scans of patients with head and neck cancer for more targeted radiotherapy treatment.

DeepMind is not alone in this quest. Atomwise uses deep learning neural networks to identify effective pre-clinical drug candidates for chemists to discover and develop drugs more precisely and accurately. The Atomwise AI technology analyzes billions of chemical compounds to optimize the discovery of effective compounds, greatly reducing research and discovery time.

Robotics

Robotics is the design, engineering, and use of robotic machines to perform partially- or fully-automated physical cognitive functions.

Robotics Market Projections

The global robotics market is predicted to increase from $71 billion in 2015 to $135.4 billion in 2019, an annual growth rate of 17%. The market revenue for robots in health care is also projected to grow from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $2.8 billion in 2021.

How it’s Used in Health Care

One of the robotic machines on the market today is da Vinci, a robot-assisted, surgeon-controlled surgical system. The system uses minimally-invasive surgical instruments and 3D high-definition visuals to enhance accuracy and control.

Wearable robots are also poised to proliferate onto the market. These devices, such as robot protheses to replace missing limbs or robot exoskeletons to aid paralyzed people are used to rehabilitate or enhance a patient’s physical capabilities.

Robotics can also work in conjunction with health informatics to enable autonomous collection of data, which can provide accurate and continual data for health informatics pros across numerous health care areas, like surgery, drug delivery, and cognitive rehabilitation and patient management.

3D Bioprinting

3D bioprinting is the printing of solid, three-dimensional objects from a digital file with an additive process utilizing different materials like liquid metals, polymers, ceramics, epoxy resin, or living cells.

How it’s Used in Health Care

Bioprinting living human tissue using stem cell bioink has the potential to reduce the shortage of organs for life-saving transplants. This is a work in progress: The company Organovo made a human liver model out of 3D bioprinted liver tissues, which are being used for drug testing and development. Additionally, 3D-printed drugs can be tailored to specific patient needs, such as the FDA-approved Sprintam.

3D Printing Market Projection

The global 3D bioprinting market is projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2027. There’s good reason for this growth. 3D bioprinting further the study and research of the molecular basis of diseases via testing models manufactured with 3D-printed human tissue cells.

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine uses nanotechnology – that is, the study of molecular structure – for developing precise devices to advance biomedical research and clinical practice.

How it’s Used in Healthcare

Nanorobots injected into a patient’s bloodstream can be used for drug delivery and disease monitoring. Therapeutic nanoparticles also have multiple applications in cancer patients, like improving circulation and delivering more sensitive diagnosis and imaging.

Nanomedicine Health Informatics

Nanomedicine informatics is necessary for integrating large, complex data sets at the nano level, implementing nanoparticles in living organisms, and smart drug delivery. The National Cancer Institute’s Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) project established a collaborative research network for sharing cancer research data.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing enables the delivery and access to computing services and resources over the internet, including developmental platforms, databases, and analytics.

Cloud Computing Market Projections

The global market revenue for public cloud services is poised to grow from $219.6 billion in 2016 to $411.4 billion in 2020. The global market for cloud computing in health car is projected to increase from $20.2 billion in 2017 to $35 billion in 2022.

How it’s Used in Health care

Cloud computing has diverse applications in the health care field. Its capacity for high-volume data storage can result in lower costs for health care organizations. Real-time information sharing can also lead to better communication, especially in times of disaster. Additionally, remote patient monitoring and doctor interactions can produce better patient care. Finally, faster data sharing can lead to improved medical research.

Cloud Computing Health Informatics

Health informatics rely on access to vast amounts of medical data and patient electronic health records (EHRs). Cloud computing allows for safe and affordable data storage with portable access to health informatics pros.

There’s greater access to large amounts of patient health and medical research data than ever before. Health informatics is a necessary field for managing this data and making it available and useful for health care pros.