MedCity Influencers, Artificial Intelligence

Transforming healthcare practices and patient care in the digital era

While digitizing records has been a focal point for industry players in the past, investment in next-gen technology will become bolder and more widespread.

As we herald in the new decade—one that will be entirely driven by digital transformation and the agile integration of innovative technology at a rapid pace—enterprises across the board are re-evaluating their internal and external operations from the ground up. In the past decade, we have witnessed new technologies come to life—from cloud and edge capabilities, blockchain, to 5G connectivity and beyond. Industries are fighting tooth and nail to bring these technologies first-to-market, and oftentimes expand upon the previously-determined boundaries of what purposes these technologies were built to serve.

We’re at a vital turning point as we enter 2020, where organizations across all industries must not only continue to integrate innovative technology into their internal and external operations—they must reimagine their businesses entirely and rebuild their foundational infrastructure to adopt agility and the ability to pivot on a dime, for when the next big technological advancement undoubtedly rises to the surface.

The healthcare industry is no different.

To date, the healthcare industry has been actively digitizing at a rapid pace. In fact, a recent study shows that a whopping 84 percent of U.S. based healthcare organizations utilize digital health records.

The benefits of this investment alone have been far-reaching. Those healthcare organizations that have switched to digital health records deliver better patient care, provide patients with better outcomes on an individual basis, improve the workplace experience for staff members, and even are able to offer cost-efficient healthcare services—all in comparison to their non-digital counterparts.

Over the next decade, these organizations will not only continue to reap the benefits of their pre-existing digital transformation efforts but will begin to significantly invest in other next-gen technologies and capabilities to continue to bring new, innovative patient care solutions to the reshaping and hyperconnected healthcare ecosystem.

Digital Capabilities will Blossom
There have already been significant advancements in digital capabilities, beyond simply digitizing records. Healthcare leaders have successfully implemented other capabilities, such as remote and self-monitoring medical chatbots, smart pills, implants and more. Such innovation is a direct reflection of the highly-advanced levels of digitalization throughout the industry.

That being said, wider adoption of AI and automation has yet to be fully realized. In fact, only a mere 33 percent of U.S. healthcare organizations have adopted AI technology. That’s not to say that the ambition for adoption isn’t there. Back in 2018, over half of healthcare professionals believed that by 2023 there would be widespread AI adoption throughout the industry.

Going into 2020, we expect to see these ambitions become fully realized. AI is becoming increasingly mainstream in all aspects of patient care—from the overhaul of triage and administrative capabilities to diagnostics and beyond. It can then help doctors understand more about a patient, through the strategic analysis and activation of pre-existing patient data.

Personalized Medicine will Thrive
Our experience is that more than two-thirds (75%) of life sciences and healthcare organizations can customize products and services to almost every single interaction. This is an amazing feat for the industry at large—especially when considering the lack of AI investment to-date.

We will see these capabilities continue to grow in 2020, as personalized medicine becomes increasingly high-tech and data-driven. As AI becomes increasingly ingrained in the process of personalized and precise medicine, the personalized solutions that are developed will become smarter, more specific and more custom-tailored than ever previously imaginable.

Furthermore, in 2020 medical implants will become increasingly agile and be able to perform more functions to minimize patient input for treatment. Bioprinting tech will bring prosthetics and stent technology to new heights as well—as new materials and build processes become fully-realized. The aforementioned bio- and precision-tech will make medical implants significantly less invasive and safer than ever before.

While these personalized capabilities are certainly not new to the industry, a majority of Americans are not familiar with what personalized medicine even is. Additionally, those who are familiar express tend to express concern over the cost of personalized care, and increasingly other elements such as privacy and data concerns. As medical-tech and digital transformation further push personalized care to new heights, there will also be a significant effort to inform the public about what these solutions are, how they are beneficial to patients and how they can remain affordable as well.

The healthcare industry is at a significant turning point. While digitizing records has been a focal point for industry players in the past, investment in next-gen technology will become bolder and more widespread. AI will play an integral role in helping healthcare organizations take a leap of faith toward becoming fully-digital, hyper-connected and mass-personalized. It’s an exciting time to work within the healthcare industry, and a hopeful time for patients who will have access to smarter, better and more personalized patient services at lower cost.

Photo: Andreus, Getty Images

Nitin Kumar is the Global Head of Healthcare at Tata Consultancy Services, the leading global IT consulting firm. Nitin focuses on helping customers achieve their strategic objectives and business outcomes with the power of digital technologies and cross-industry learnings. As Global Head of Healthcare at TCS, Nitin is responsible for driving growth and transformation for TCS businesses in Healthcare Industry.

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