Every year, there are exciting new developments in medicine and technology in healthcare. 2019 promises to be no different. Technologies that were in development in 2018 are set to deploy this year to improve patient outcomes. Laws and regulations are also changing, driving a shift in how care providers think about and deliver treatment.
Patients’ role in their own treatment is also evolving alongside these technologies, allowing them to be more involved in their own treatment plans. These changes are coming just in time, as the healthcare industry is anticipating an influx of new patients from the Baby Boomer generation and a talent shortage. So what tech trends can we expect to see in hospitals this year? These 8 may have the biggest impact.
Trend 1: Improvements in Patient Care
After a few years of uncertainty, healthcare organizations are starting to get more comfortable using analytics and leveraging them to improve patient care. In 2019, more organizations will likely be using analytics to improve outcomes and streamline hospital processes. Automating billing, identifying the best treatment options according to possible outcome and cost, and identifying high-risk patients to help improve community health are all ways analytics will allow the healthcare industry serve patients more effectively in 2019.
Trend 2: Consumer Driven Testing Is on the Rise
Thanks to the nearly unlimited amount of information available online, patients are more informed than ever about their health concerns. They’re getting so informed that they’re starting to take control of their own care and testing. Consumer-driven testing, which allows patients to order tests without going through their doctor, is on the rise. Experts forecast a 30-percent growth in consumer-driven testing over the next five years.
Trend 3: Changes in How Providers Are Paid
Value-based care is a healthcare model that rewards providers for healthcare outcomes, rather than services provided. It’s an advantageous model for both patients and providers since it encourages simpler preventative care over costly interventions. This model is expected to become more popular in 2019 as technology and regulations change the healthcare landscape.
Trend 4: New Online Electronic Technology and Record Portals
Telemedicine is becoming increasingly important as technology improves, and this option will continue to grow in 2019. Remote appointments allow people in rural areas greater access to healthcare and help to reduce the number of in-person appointments that clinics and hospitals handle. Electronic record portals are also becoming an important tool for organizations, allowing them to educate patients, provide transparency about billing, and give them access to their healthcare information all in one place.
Trend 5: Blockchain Security Becomes a Reality
The healthcare field has been excited about the possibility of blockchain security for several years, but in 2019 it is likely to finally become reality for a few organizations. Commercial implementation will begin in 2019, paving the way for better security in the future. This “distributed ledger” system first created for bitcoin transactions will help increase cybersecurity in an industry plagued by data breaches.
Trend 6: Artificial Intelligence Spending Skyrockets
Facing a shortage of healthcare workers as the senior population of the United States grows, organizations are doing everything they can to streamline their operations. This includes pouring money into the healthcare AI market at an astonishing rate. The AI market for healthcare IT applications is expected to hit $1.7 billion by the end of the year. The most popular applications for AI in healthcare in 2019 will focus on risk analytics, diagnostics, and drug discovery.
Trend 7: Patient Care Will Improve
Patient care is likely to improve this year thanks to new technology and an emphasis on building a bigger talent pool. Healthcare analysts forecast that there will be a 30-percent increase in available advanced nurse practitioners by 2020. These professionals can serve as a solution to the nation’s growing healthcare talent shortage.
Trend 8: More Medical Technology Advancements Will Emerge
In the past few years, medical technology advancements have been focused on mobile and remote monitoring, since these solutions help to keep patients out of the hospital. This will be key as more Baby Boomers need long-term care and monitoring and hospitals become overcrowded. Recognizing that remote patient monitoring is an essential facet of patient care, we are likely to see these technologies advance in 2019.
2019: A Year of New Beginnings in Healthcare
It’s important to note that many of these trends are still in their early stages. We’ve only scratched the surface of what AI can do in hospitals, and it will be years before the majority of organizations are using the blockchain for security. Even once these technologies advance, there will still be a need for great minds to manage technology and create new healthcare solutions. 2019 is a year for new beginnings in medical technology—but we’re sure to see even more in coming years.