March 07, 2016
By: Geir Prestegård

This time round, I’m taking a look at one of the most exciting trends in this space – the collaborations that can take place at the intersection of humans and healthcare.

'Workforce reimagined'

We’re increasingly seeing doctors and healthcare workers using machines to be more efficient, provide better care and take on increasingly more complex tasks. Healthcare is starting to embrace both as critical team members.

Advances in robotics enable machines to communicate with humans, and also work side-by-side with them. Technology is augmenting human work and improving the effectiveness of healthcare. It provides doctors with new devices, and it enables new treatments and procedures. Technology can even help manage risk by monitoring and assessing risk related to a patient’s vital signs and adherence to their doctor’s treatment.

Crucially too, thanks to accelerating digitisation, patients can actually start to care for themselves, relieve the burden of the delivery system and get a better result. That’s partly what we mean by a ‘workforce reimagined’ – where a patient can become a part of his or her own care-giving team.

Whether through their Apple Watches, Fitbits, or a host of other health-related devices, apps and monitors, patients are becoming more empowered with better information and tools to manage their healthcare. More widely, we’re seeing consumers becoming increasingly engaged, taking on tasks like updating their electronic medical records and using digital productivity tools for self-guided decision-making or appointment scheduling. Innovations that shift work from the provider to the patient, or from people to technology, can help to control the spiralling costs of healthcare.

Automated appointment scheduling is expected to grow substantially at health systems within the next five years. Patients will be able to share their electronic medical record (EMR) with the specific caregivers they want without going through their doctor. Technology will make it easier for patients to develop their own caregiving team when, via social platforms, they connect with healthcare professionals or peers facing similar conditions.

Ingestible or implantable devices will collect newfound levels of data that can better inform a doctor’s care plan. And surgeons will use wearable devices (like Google Glass) to get real-time access to data from monitoring equipment, enabling them to make more informed decisions about the patient during a procedure, without even turning their head.

Get ready for future healthcare

The future of healthcare is in continuous evolution and, as in many other areas, the speed of change is increasing, both in the medical area itself and in the technology supports it. Patients should be in the centre of these developments. They are looking forward to safe, user-friendly and easily accessible healthcare service that can keep pace with the modernisation of other services that are increasingly taken for granted in their day-to-day lives. In this context, a modern infrastructure platform to support this development is not a choice, but an obligation.

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