The Next-Gen Technology Landscape of the Healthcare Sector

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The healthcare sector is expected to touch $390.7 billion by 2024. Let us discuss the next-gen technologies that are going to impact the healthcare sector.

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Sensor-embedded devices exchanging information over the internet (IoT devices) are finding their way across technology landscapes. These have found usage in the healthcare sector and are making a profound impact on the health of users. By redefining or reshaping diagnostics, disease management, and preemptive care, IoT devices, including the wearables, will become more common in future. To ensure the success of these devices so that they are able to manage life threatening conditions, healthcare software testing should be the norm. Let us understand how IoT devices can be of help in the healthcare sector in the days to come.
    • Tracking locations in real-time: One of the major challenges the healthcare staff needs to grapple with is locating medical devices in real time. For example, portable devices like nebulizers, scales, defibrillators, and ECG devices, among others, are often moved across the healthcare facility. They are often left at places where finding them can become a challenge, especially when there is an emergency. However, should these devices or apparatus be equipped with IoT sensors, they can be easily monitored in real-time. This can help the stakeholders to monitor and manage the healthcare environment.
    • Share health data: Physicians are often challenged by the lack of data concerning the vital parameters of patients. These may include blood pressure, heart rate, and calories burnt, among others. In the absence of such data, carrying out correct diagnosis can become difficult leaving the patients in limbo. However, wearable IoT enabled devices can allow the sharing of vital parameters of patients leading to a quicker and accurate diagnosis. To make sure these devices perform to their optimum and do not suffer from glitches, conducting healthcare application testing becomes a critical requirement.

As IoT based devices capable of providing real-time data become commonplace, efficient diagnostics and care will increase. They will help healthcare professionals in saving lives with the help of data, analytics, and better decision making.

  • 3D Printing: This technology is used to create physical objects from digital data. The examples of 3D-printed prosthetics and human heart model are helping amputees and medical professionals, respectively. The global market for this technology is expected to reach $2,319.5 million by 2020. Let us discuss the latest innovations in 3D printing.
    • Prosthetics: One of the major challenges amputees face in wearing prosthetics is a lack of customization. Prosthetic devices made in the assembly line are made as per general measurements. This is where 3D printing has come as a godsend for physically-challenged patients. Here, patients’ exact specifications concerning the body part(s) are obtained digitally and personalized variants of prosthetics are built. These provide greater maneuverability to the patients, helping them lead their lives with ease.
    • Tissue engineering: The technology helps to recreate damaged tissues and intricate body parts – printed ears, hands, livers, eyes, or hearts. This can be of great help in trauma cases where patients have lost a body part, organ, or tissue. Tissue engineering helps to create functional constructs for damaged tissues or organs. Here, engineered materials combined with stem cells can create the required cell type.
    • Surgical tools: Surgery is becoming more precise with less incisions to be made. This calls for personalized surgical tools to help surgeons in making precise incisions and implanting medical devices. 3D printing with its disruptive application can bring about greater personalization and cost benefits.
  • Artificial Intelligence: This is defined as machines induced with intelligence having the ability to mimic human brain functions. The healthcare sector can benefit immensely by embracing AI. It can drastically improve patient outcomes with medical professionals leveraging AI-enabled medical knowledge. AI-enabled systems can help medical professionals with real-time, relevant, and quality information to derive suitable inferences. These can help in reducing the cost of treatment, elimination of unnecessary procedures, streamlining workflows, and building patient-centric treatment protocols.

AI systems can help in diagnosing chronic health conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer, among others, within minutes. They can do so by analyzing the vital parameters of patients saved in electronic records. Thus, the systems can reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies or even surgeries to diagnose a condition. However, these systems must be subjected to intense healthcare compliance testing to ensure they function as per the expected outcomes.

  • Liquid biopsy: Today, the diagnosis and monitoring of cancer are costly, time-consuming, painful, and invasive. With liquid biopsy, cancer cells can be extracted from a blood sample without having to conduct costly and painful recurring biopsies. The technology will help to monitor tumors in a non-invasive manner even better than a CT scan.

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is going to face disruption thanks to the advent of advanced technologies. To ensure these technologies perform to their optimum and deliver expected outcomes, they should undergo healthcare QA testing. Moreover, since technology is not always flawless and can engender a number of glitches, even driven by human factors, healthcare tech QA can be of help. It can ensure continuous testing of the devices or built-in software as part of the delivery pipeline. Healthcare tech QA can lead to reduced technical errors, better compliance with regulations, and save lives.

 


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