The 90’s saw the Internet and the World Wide Web entering commercial markets as a result of major advancements in Information Technology (IT). Another huge development was later followed when mobile devices connected to the Internet became a rage in late 2000’s. Today, we’re in the middle of the next major leap, i.e. the next generation of intelligent (IT). (1)

These leaps will not only continue having a significant impact on our personal lives, but they will also introduce new business models and product and service opportunities. The ever expanding technological progress is taking ahead the scientific knowledge, thus reducing costs and presenting the healthcare industry with innovative medical devices and procedures to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. (2)

Big data has already transformed almost every aspect of life, including healthcare; and it’s time we implemented data-driven healthcare in our routine. Advances in data collection, storage and analytics have been accompanied by the proliferation of data; for e.g. from sensors and devices, clinical information systems and electronic health records (EHRs). Simultaneously, widespread application of data standards and interoperability is being observed, thus allowing developers to find more functions for health data. (3)

As a result, many healthcare organizations, including pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals as well as medical devices firms; are turning these recent and emerging technological advancements to good account, thereby providing innovative solutions using mobile health applications, sensor technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. The last decade has also witnessed the steady growth of venture capital investments stimulating medical technology (MedTech) products, especially in areas like bioinformatics and biosensors. (2)

In addition, the volume of data produced by healthcare organizations is expanding and it is facilitating the delivery of cancer treatments, personalization of medical interventions, prediction of chronic diseases, driving behavioral changes through next-generation analytics technologies such as big data, cognitive computing and machine learning. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly evolving and improving. Today, technology exists to capture data from incongruent sources and provide a real-time view of a patient’s health. All the associated technologies are evolving faster and continuously, such as mobile, cloud, analytics and the Internet of Things, to deliver solutions in advanced AI. As a result, the global predictive analytics market is expected to grow by almost 20% a year, reaching $6.5 billion by 2019.(3)

Sensors and connected devices capturing all kinds of data are omnipresent. The worldwide market for wearable technology is expected to rise from 45 million units shipped in 2015 to more than 125 million by 2019. (4) Digital consumer devices entering regulated markets have increased in numbers, with expected FDA approvals for these products to triple in 2018 (relative to 2014 levels).(5)

Next generation intelligent devices are creating immense opportunities for traditional healthcare as well as medical device companies. For instance, the smart contact lens has been developed by Novartis and Google to monitor glucose levels in people with diabetes. Another example is recently launched LOGIQ E10, the next generation radiology ultrasound technology by GE Healthcare. In LOGIQ E10, the digital system incorporates AI, cloud connectivity and advanced algorithms to gather and reconstruct imaging data faster; thus significantly improving image quality and giving clinicians better confidence in their diagnoses, particularly in difficult cases. (6)

Big data can be derived from mobile medical health systems, wearable devices, and other next generation mobile communications technology and can be further used to integrate the primary medical services and improve primary healthcare quality, residents’ health index, control the growth rate of a variety of common acute and chronic diseases and increase residents’ awareness of health management and disease prevention. (7,8) Therefore, the next generation IT systems can most certainly be used into healthcare field to overcome worldwide health problems such as uneven distribution of medical resources, the growing chronic diseases, and the increasing medical expenses and can help provide patients with overall better quality of care.

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References

  1. Glaser J, et al. The Next Generation of Intelligent Healthcare Information Technology. Convergence. Sept 15th, 2017. 
  2. Next-generation “smart” MedTech devices- Preparing for an increasingly intelligent future. Deloitte Analysis.
  3. Reily T. How data is making healthcare better. World Economic Forum.
  4. Worldwide Wearable Market Forecast to Reach 45.7 Million Units Shipped in 2015 and 126.1 Million Units in 2019, IDC.
  5. Patient Engagement: How the Colossal Clash Will Disrupt the Digital Health Landscape – Infographic.  Accenture. 
  6. Monegain B. Artificial intelligence powers GE Healthcare’s next-gen ultrasound system. March 2nd, 2018. 
  7. Li G. Big data related technologies challenges and future prospects. Inf Technol Tourism 2015; 15(3):283-285.
  8. Ma Y, et al. Big health application system based on health Internet of Things and Big Data. IEEE Access 2016; 5:7885-7897.

Written by: Ms. Tanvi Laghate

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