Many exciting things are happening in the health tech industry. This post highlights a few key health tech trends to watch in 2017 and beyond.
Healthcare Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
Chatbots and virtual assistants are a key health tech trend to watch in 2017, and most likely for many years to come.
Chatbots and virtual assistants have been a hot trend for quite some time, and there are now tens of thousands of chatbots and virtual assistants available across a variety of industries. Chatbots are especially popular, and today you can find banking chatbots, travel chatbots, restaurant chatbots, customer service chatbots, social chatbots, and the list goes on. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the number of healthcare chatbots is on the rise.
For example, Baidu, a China-based web services company, recently launched a chatbot for patients and doctors called Melody. Melody has been integrated with the Baidu Doctor app, and the chatbot helps doctors gather patient information, provides suggestions to doctors about possible treatment options, and helps save time in online discussions between patients and doctors.
HealthTap, Florence Bot, and Your.MD are a few more examples of healthcare chatbots, available on Facebook Messenger.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications
With the availability of an advanced holographic computer technology like Microsoft HoloLens, augmented and virtual reality healthcare and physician apps are key trends to watch in 2017, and possibly for years to come.
Holographic computer technology has the potential to transform the healthcare industry. The technology makes it possible to build augmented and virtual reality applications for a variety of healthcare use cases such as presenting 3-dimensional views of patient data, generating virtual simulations that guide physicians through complex surgical procedures, and creating virtual environments for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring.
It will be interesting to see how augmented and virtual reality technologies are used to enhance physician apps and improve patient health outcomes in the future.
Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring
Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring (RPM) are health tech trends worth watching.
Most modern consumer wearables (and some smartphones) are equipped with physiological sensors, accelerometers, and GPS technologies that can be used by apps to provide detailed health information. In addition, nearly every smartphone includes audio and video communication capabilities.
Today most consumers own smartphones and wearables are more affordable making it possible for many hospitals and physician offices to provide telemedicine and RPM services to a greater number of patients. In the past, physicians could only obtain detailed patient health information using traditional medical devices only accessible at physician offices and hospitals. Today developers can build physician apps that leverage wearable and smartphone technologies so that physicians can provide patients telemedicine and RPM services.
Data Analytics and Predictive Modeling
Data analytics and predictive modeling are tech trends to watch in all industries including healthcare, and likely for the foreseeable future.
Breakthroughs in machine learning and other advanced technologies have made it possible for many health tech companies to build applications that can ingest and analyze massive streams of public health data and patient data from multiple EMRs. Many health companies have also built applications capable of predictive modeling and analytics.
Data analytics has been a key component of health information management (HIM) for quite some time. Some HIM companies are now using predictive modeling and analytics to help physicians provide highly personalized quality healthcare.
Health Tech Trends to Watch
Chatbots, virtual assistants, augmented and virtual reality, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, data analytics, and predictive modeling are just some of the health tech trends worth watching in 2017 and beyond.