To meet our new expectations for digital conveniences and environmental sustainability, healthcare enterprises will need a deep understanding of three layers that comprise the programmable world: The connected, the experiential and the material.
Many healthcare enterprises are already investing in and deploying the first layer of programmable world technology, creating a connected foundation. For instance, 80% of the healthcare executives we surveyed say the number of IoT/edge devices deployed in their organization has "significantly" or “exponentially” increased in the past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge of digital innovation to help providers safely deliver care to people virtually. Now the virtual world is a more comfortable space for people to receive and deliver care—and they are ready to delve in further.
The next layer of the programmable world is experiential. It has the ability to sense and change its own characteristics. Building on data collected by IoT and edge devices and processed at 5G speeds, digital twins are a core constituent of this layer. These digital models of the physical world give healthcare organizations real-time insight into their environments and operations and can transform people’s healthcare experiences in them.
The final layer of the programmable world is material and constitutes how things are made. It includes a new generation of digital manufacturing and smart materials, which will bring programmability into the physical aspects of our environments. Advances in digital manufacturing techniques are changing how and where physical goods can be made, making on-demand and hyper-customized products a reality in healthcare.
But being able to produce custom devices, tools, prostheses and tissues on demand is only half of this material layer. New kinds of smart materials and programmable matter will soon make it possible to customize or enable custom experiences with physical products after production as well.