The health tech landscape in the US has changed exponentially in what seems a relatively short time span. In the health informatics field, we are constantly excited and stimulated by the pace of change and progress being made in healthcare IT, fueled by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and an influx of Venture Capital into the field. This growth is exciting and challenging all at once; managing and processing patient data will be one of the biggest obstacles going forward. With that challenge in mind, here our predictions for the healthcare technology industry in the coming year:
2014 saw the mainstream popularity of wearables increase; 2015 will surely see the continued emergence of digitally savvy patients who will be embracing the tech available via their tablets and mobile devices to monitor and also research their own health statuses.
Digital health kits and a close collaboration between tech giants like Apple and those controlling EMR’s will also increase in popularity this year; these developments will help to improve medical outcomes for many, especially those with chronic diseases.
Providing real-time information on heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels for patients via an FDA approved device like the AliveCor heart monitor will offer vital and valuable data for both physicians and the patients.
Innovation in 3D Printing
The development of 3D printing capabilities will lead to a rapid upward curve in 2015 with exciting scenarios such as the ability to achieve 3D printing of organs. This would revolutionize how we interact with transplant lists and give greater hope to patients who have had to contend with an era of organ shortages until now. 3D printing is also already making enormous strides in child prosthetics.
Virtually every aspect of medical practice is experiencing a period of rapid change as a result of technological breakthroughs; bionics is yet another area where there are expected to be even more promising developments in 2015.
We have already seen bionic eyes implanted in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, restoring eyesight to those with negative prognoses.
Genome sequencing offers a great deal of promise in terms of providing better treatments and cures for both chronic diseases as well as a significant number of cancers. IBM’s Watson is using genome sequencing to work toward a brain cancer cure.
2015 could well be the year that witnesses rapid progress in this area of medicine, especially when you consider that genome sequencing used to take months to complete and was hugely cost prohibitive in the past. Though still costly, strides are being made to make data more accessible in less time.
There is work to be done in this sphere to gain the confidence of the FDA, but genome sequencing has the potential to be a game-changer in the battle against diseases.
Image via Flickr by UCL Engineering