Interviews & Features
The digital revolution in the health sector has long promised a future of a smoother, faster healthcare system: a new reality where hospitals’ clinical workflow will be streamlined, where interactions with insurance companies will be automated, and spreadsheets and fax machines will become relics of the past.
The concept of patient privacy is at least as old as the Hippocratic Oath, fragments of which date back to the third century. Today, it is as relevant as ever. Not only does privacy remain fundamental to patient-provider trust, but it’s also taken on new meanings. Health apps, fitness trackers, and electronic health records (EHRs) are all part of an explosion of health-related technology that, unified by the internet, has created a torrent of personal health data stored in various states of security.
Virtual reality simulations, augmented reality tools, and advanced medical software are driving transformation in medicine, offering hands-on experiences that allow students to practice complex procedures and develop sound judgment without real-world consequences. This educational technology cultivates confidence and proficiency and deepens understanding of patient care nuances.
For more than 4,000 years, humans have been keeping medical records. Everything from examinations, treatment plans, outcomes, and follow-ups have been charted on papyrus, tablets, and ancient books. In more modern times, paper charts have been the gold standard till they were replaced with electronic health records (EHRs) in 2011. These records have served individually to care for individual patients and aggregately to inform decisions system wide.
As artificial intelligence (AI) has become more advanced in recent years, technologists and healthcare professionals have noticed many opportunities for AI-based tools to improve the healthcare industry.
Not all medical devices talk to each other or to a particular EHR system, making it difficult for healthcare providers to access and analyze patient data leading to gaps in patient care and missed opportunities to improve outcomes. The lack of interoperability is a major challenge in integrating medical devices with electronic health records, and any potential solutions must address IT and OT security issues to ensure patient health records are secure, not only for privacy reasons but also HIPAA requires it.
Medical technology has come a long way since the invention of eyeglasses and the stethoscope. The broader availability of mobile internet, the expansion of a more affluent middle class, and an aging global population are all driving change in the healthcare industry, and the associated technology is changing faster than ever before.
Bias in medicine is pervasive and results in systematic errors or prejudices that can influence medical decisions, research outcomes, and patient care. These biases, conscious or unconscious, can be towards race, gender, socioeconomic status, or personal beliefs of healthcare providers. While healthcare providers can be made aware of their bias and develop techniques to combat it, bias in medical technology can only be addressed by changing the hardware or software.
Working in healthcare is one of the best ways to ensure that one’s work has a daily, measurable impact on people. While many may think they need to study for years to get the very best healthcare jobs, the truth is that there are many careers in the field that require less educational investment, yet are in high demand.
Modern healthcare runs on data. In 2018, the healthcare industry generated approximately 30 percent of the world’s data volume. That share has likely only increased in recent years, with the growing adoption of wearable tech, remote patient monitoring, and electronic health records. But raw data is only as valuable as the insights one can derive from it.