We live in exciting times in terms of technology, new scientific breakthroughs and healthcare structural changes. Three key aspects play huge roles here: the digitalisation wave, advancing technologies and rising market demands and patient expectations. Nowadays, various tech platforms are changing healthcare delivery, healthcare quality and service accessibility. The importance of the private sector is constantly growing, and governments seek ways to successfully cooperate with it and currently work on implementing digital healthcare strategies on national levels.
Working in a bespoke software development company focused on creating a meaningful impact in our world through software solutions allows me to notice how much healthcare is changing. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, doctor’s visits were in person, but now a virtual consultation with a physician is becoming an essential part of the new normal. We now know that preparing for such unexpected future scenarios is obligatory for the healthcare industry. Thus, the rise of platform business models in healthcare only seems like the next logical step.
So what are healthcare platforms exactly? Digital healthcare platforms promise to disrupt healthcare delivery and to establish new rules of information sharing between patients and providers. Healthcare executives are investing in platform development to achieve business continuity and replace the old ways of paper-based medical records and file systems.
Tech platforms target multiple pain points within the healthcare value chain by empowering client self-service, relieving stress on doctors, their employees, and their physical facilities and keeping personal information readily available and secure.
Disease-specific platforms, e.g. for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or HIV, are paving their way into the new normal. For example, Digitalhealth.net reports the launch of a special tech platform for cancer recovery by Perci Health earlier this year. Patients can obtain valuable information about coping with cancer-related problems such as chronic fatigue or needed dietary adjustments. The platform also offers free sessions with a cancer nurse and other qualified medical staff.
Research Supporting Platforms
Knowledge sharing is a driving force behind innovation, problem-solving, and scientific development in our increasingly digital world. Recently, drug discovery and drug research platforms are enhancing collaboration between pharma companies, independent scientists and external business partners.
Healthcare research platforms accelerated the development of the Covid-19 vaccines by assisting teams to track and peer review clinical trials, protect patient data and design effective vaccines. Thanks to technology, such platforms can also help companies recruit new patients, educate them, and keep them more engaged. Last but not least, future tech platforms will aim at reducing the defragmentation across the healthcare industry and enhance the patient journey by aligning key players. Such a digital platform will be a collaboration between Microsoft and AXA.
Many of the already available platforms serve as organisational platforms, personal health managers or entry points to doctor appointments, e.g. scheduling platforms. Some of their efforts go digitalising paper certificates and prescriptions, helping patients keep track of planned doctor and vaccination appointments as well as tracking medication intake or logging menstrual cycles.
Given the ever-rising patient needs and demands, many traditional and new market players seek ways to deliver more value by designing patient-centric platforms to provide medical information, organise medical news. In our attention economy, social media platforms also play an increasingly vital role in engaging in an open dialogue with patients. Last but not least, all-in-one fully integrated platforms are solving is the defragmentation of the patient journey throughout the healthcare system – from a doctor’s visit to the reimbursement from insurers.
AI and ML Platforms
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are two of the most viral IT topics. Expectations are that AI will better our lives, but it should also provide new insights into almost all branches of science. Many ongoing discussions revolve around particular use cases of AI and ML platforms in the healthcare sector. But what healthcare problems can AI and ML solve effectively?
Although these technologies are utilised in many medical areas, some of them stand out. For instance, medical fields like radiology, but AI is already present in robotics for surgery, nursing, rehabilitation and orthopaedics. Further, AI and ML help in biomedical image analysis, e.g. tracing the wires of the brain in Alzheimer’s and individualising treatment plans. ML technology, in particular, allows healthcare experts to deal with enormous amounts of data, automate manual processes, recognise existing patterns and drive powerful insights.
Virtual Reality in Healthcare Delivery
Estimations for virtual reality’s value within the healthcare industry are that it would make a significant impact. According to expert predictions, the VR market for healthcare will reach more than 40 billion USD in the next five years. Oculus, a spin-off of Meta, has already disrupted the social experience of game playing and has the capacity to transform the healthcare industry as well.
As a cutting-edge technology, virtual reality bears a vast potential to assist young aspiring professionals in their medical training. For example, future surgeons with a VR headset can practice complex procedures before entering the operation room. Another promising use case of VR in healthcare is in treating chronic pain. Together with S.O.L.V.E Health Tech and AppliedVR, the University of California has researched how playing VR games and relaxing in a virtual environment can help alleviate chronic pain.
NFTs in Medicine
Many say NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are currently experiencing the hype-hope dynamics. Their rising popularity across the art industry creates high hopes for other future use cases of this blockchain technology trend. NFT in a medical record – always up to date, secure and accessible from the hospital in emergency cases. In such situations, when time is of the essence, medical information such as allergies, long-term treatments or diseases would be life-saving.
NFT platform can help close the communication gap between healthcare providers and give the ownership of personal data back to the patientс. For example, Aimedis is an ehealth platform and the first of its kind medical NFT marketplace launched in 2017. The company offers B2B medical & scientific data, IoT integrations, pharma research, digital healthcare and therapy services all based on blockchain tokens.
Author Biography Aleksandrina Vasileva
Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company, and is keen оn innovative technological solutions with a positive impact on our world. Her teaching background, mixed with interests in psychology, drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and an enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.