The future of healthcare could be with us within 10 years according to a new report which states that sensors, cameras and robotic scanning devices might make up more of our interactions than with doctors and nurses.
The ‘Building the Hospital of 2030’ report by data networking solutions provider Aruba, features interviews with senior healthcare leaders and futureologists. The interviews focus on the need for the healthcare industry to create smarter workplaces that integrate mobile, cloud and IoT technology to transform the patient experience and improve clinical care.
The study says that by 2030 the industry will have transformed in five key ways, including:
- Patient self-diagnosis: Patients will be able to use apps and wearables to monitor their health and carry out their own scans enabling them to self-diagnose a wide range of conditions.
- The automated hospital: Checking in at the hospital will include imaging technology that can assess patients’ heart rate, temperature from the moment they walk into the hospital. Sensors will also be able to perform a blood pressure test and ECG within 10 seconds and lead to automatic triage or diagnosis.
- Health professionals double their free time: Doctors and nurses, who are currently spending up to 70% of their time on administrative work, will be able to quickly analyse scans or patient records via their mobile device, freeing up huge amounts of their day to focus on patient care.
- Digital data repositories: Devices will automatically integrate with patients’ digital records, automatically updating their condition and treatment, giving caregivers a richer, real-time, readily-accessible data to make better decisions.
- Acceptance of AI: As artificial intelligence (AI) starts to play an increasing role in diagnosis and treatments, public support will grow to the extent that you will be willing to be diagnosed by machine – provided that services are designed and implemented around patients, the benefits are explained, and permission is sought.
Discussing the possibilities of AI, UCL Professor, Dr. Hugh Montgomery said: “Within ten years, you may be able to essay around 50,000 different blood proteins from a single drop, and make much quicker, or even automatic, diagnoses. That’s radical and in no way happens at the moment. I might get 30 variables, today.”
Speaking about patient self-care, digital health futurist, Maneesh Juneja added: “Let’s say you are diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in 10 years time. Once you’ve been diagnosed, a lot of the monitoring of how you’re taking your medication could be done without the healthcare system seeing you as frequently. They could track your data in real-time and know if you’re deviating from your recommended diet or treatment plan, then send you a digital nudge on your smartwatch or augmented reality glasses.”
The report mentions that these advancements in technology could be vital in supporting ageing populations.
“We’re in for a massive transformation and disruption in the next 5-10 years for two reasons,” Montgomery said. “Firstly, the technology’s changing that fast, and secondly, there’s this massive pressure to get it out there. Because if we don’t, health services are going to fall over.”
Healthcare organisations are already starting to utilise digital technologies, the report mentions. Aruba’s own research finds that nearly two thirds (64%) of healthcare organisations have begun to connect patient monitors to their network, and 41% are connecting imaging or x-ray devices.
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its connection with medical, wearable and mobile devices could lead to easier sharing of data information that could be used to provide better care.
However, 89% of healthcare organisations that have adopted an IoT strategy have experienced a related data breach. A key challenge for organisations over the course of the next decade will be to share data to strict security rules and to maintain visibility of all devices, Aruba states.
Morten Illum VP EMEA at Aruba, concluded: “The rise of digital health services is about improving patient experiences, and increasing accuracy and quality of care. Above all else, that is what we think healthcare providers and members of the public should be excited about. But data security risk is emerging as one big challenge here. That’s why these changes take time to deploy, and we expect to see healthcare companies partnering with technology providers to negotiate both technological and cultural change in the coming years. With the benefits that are on offer, it is certainly worth the effort.”