MedCity Influencers, Artificial Intelligence

From Data to AI: How these 4 tech trends are reshaping healthcare

The rest of 2020 and heading into 2021 will be defined by duality of data security and data integration, and providers’ ability to execute on these priorities. That in turn will, in many ways, determine their effectiveness.

Healthcare is undergoing an incredible digital transformation that is altering virtually every aspect of the industry, making the once-impossible probable and reorienting everything from diagnosis and treatments. It’s evident that, in the years ahead, this sector will continually and increasingly be defined by the development and implementation of new technologies.

Healthcare providers indicate as much in their spending trends. By 2027, global healthcare storage is expected to have a collective market of more than $9 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2018. Similarly, both Forrester and Gartner expect that many providers will boost their technology budgets by nearly 10% in the years ahead.

Of course, tech is a big tent industry, and some trends will be more impactful than others. Here are four trends that are making a significant impact.

#1 Bigger, Better Data
Popular devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit have significantly increased both patient awareness of various healthcare metrics, but, increasingly, that information is making its way into healthcare records, improving patient care along the way.

The number of people wearing health-focused devices has tripled in the past four years, and more than 80% of people say they are willing to wear such a device. Collectively, the wearables market is expected to reach $52 billion in the next three years.

When coupled with other data collection initiatives, healthcare providers have more and more precise data than ever before, and this will transform both the way patients and doctors communicate and the ways that providers can collect patient data.

#2 Data Privacy, Finally
The incredible amount of data created by these devices and other efforts of the digital age are creating an astonishing deluge of data. In this case, the ancient adage “information is power” is particularly apt. More information can lead to faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment approaches that will ultimately save lives.

However, many providers are collecting mountains of information that can be difficult to use and even more challenging to secure.

Healthcare data breaches are increasingly common, and they are, by far, the most expensive of any industry. According to IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the healthcare industry boasts the highest average cost of a breach, reaching $6.45 million this year. At $429 per record, the cost of a compromised healthcare record is nearly twice as high as the next most expensive industry.

As a result, privacy is poised to be a major theme in the year ahead. In addition to industry regulations like HIPAA, national data privacy standards including Europe’s GDPR, California’s Consumer Privacy Act, and New York’s SHIELD Act will further increase the impetus for providers to prioritize privacy as a critical component of quality patient care.

#3 Accountability for Insider Threats
Given that patient data is one of the most valuable digital assets, 2020 is the year that healthcare providers make significant progress toward securing that data. Increasingly, that means accounting for insider threats.

From accidental data sharing to intentional heists, healthcare providers are recognizing that the biggest threat to securing the mountains of data they collect isn’t defending against an outside, existential force. It’s the employees working in their offices.

These stories routinely make headlines. For example:

In the year ahead, healthcare providers will be accountable for insider threats. Just as a bank wouldn’t leave tellers unaccountable for what happens to their financial resources, companies are waking up to the reality that data is a valuable commodity in the digital age, and they need to similarly secure it.

With plenty of software platforms offering compelling solutions in this regard, 2020 is the year that they will make significant strides in securing patient data. Of course, if they are unwilling, the laundry list of privacy regulations promise to prod them along.

#4 AI & Machine Learning Infiltrate Healthcare
For good reason, few technologies elicit as much excitement as AI. Each of the above initiatives will be supported by AI, which is increasing its capabilities in everything from diagnosis to data management.

According to several studies, computers are already as capable as doctors at diagnosing diseases, which is almost certain to bolster their implementation in the years ahead. The Harvard Business Review estimates that the technology will become prevalent in 90% of hospitals, even as patients struggle to trust technology with their most critical medical diagnosis.

Regardless, AI and machine learning will make a significant impact in several ways, including:

  • Chatbots will provide medical advice.
  • Smartphones will deliver additional data for computational analysis.
  • Integrated data silos will open up new analytical possibilities.

Ultimately, like other sectors before it, healthcare is poised to become a more data-driven operation that offers better, more specific patient care at scale. However, those benefits are predicated on their ability to protect this critical and incredibly valuable information. Consequently, the rest of 2020 and heading into 2021 will be defined by duality of data security and data integration, and providers’ ability to execute on these priorities will, in many ways, determine their effectiveness.














Isaac Kohen is VP of R&D of Teramind, a leading, global provider of employee monitoring, insider threat detection, and data loss prevention solutions. He recently authored the e-book: #Privacy2020: Identifying, Managing and Preventing Insider Threats in a Privacy-First World. Follow Teramind on Twitter: a href="">@teramindco.

This post appears through the MedCity Influencers program. Anyone can publish their perspective on business and innovation in healthcare on MedCity News through MedCity Influencers. Click here to find out how.