Healthcare is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the more complex 'artificial' ecosystems that the human species has developed. As an ecosystem, healthcare involves innumerable parties – from patients to hospitals, from governments to taxpayers and everyone in between.
Another reason why healthcare is such a complex system is that it costs a lot of money to cure people and to manage their various conditions. Also, management strategies and techniques vary from one healthcare organization to the next, leading to further complications and, quite often, problems.
Finally, we cannot forget the fact that we are talking about the most precious and extreme aspects of human existence here – life and death.
The good thing is that healthcare has traditionally been at the forefront of innovation and technological advances. This is a trend that is more and more observable over the last couple of decades with various advancements that have all but revolutionized the way people are being treated and their health outcomes improved.
Watson for Oncology could not work without data, that is clear and simple. However, there are many more uses for big data in healthcare today and it is not difficult to see why it holds so much potential for everyone involved in the healthcare ecosystem. In fact, there are organizations that have already started utilizing big data to improve their results.
Insurers can ensure that money is spent only on treatments that work. Doctors gain access to far more data than ever before, especially once medical data gets standardized. The real beneficiaries of this will be patients who will be getting more precise diagnoses and enjoying more positive outcomes thanks to the increased influx of data and tools that are used to analyze it.
It should be pointed out that the A.I. solutions that are being increasingly used in modern healthcare are still quite a few steps away from actual artificial intelligence, but still, for the majority of people, the term is close enough.
IBM's Watson 'A.I' has been making waves in the world of healthcare for several years with oncologists trusting its diagnoses and often listening to its treatment suggestions. The speed with which Watson for Oncology accesses ridiculous amounts of data, past research and everything else that might affect a decision is something that a human being would never be able to do. It then provides doctors with a number of options, along with percentages that represent the expected success rate of every possible treatment.
As its name would suggest, 3D bioprinting is a practice of printing out living tissue in three dimensions, used for a variety of purposes. At the moment, the most widespread use is in the testing of new drugs and procedures on tissues that have been printed. This way, it is possible to further test the safety of certain drugs and procedures before they undergo human trials.
Several companies around the world have also started printing various tissues such as skin and bone which will eventually be used in actual treatments. The future of 3D bioprinting probably holds printing entire organs that will be used in transplants, enabling the perfect match every single time and doing away with the need for organ donors and risky procedures.
To make things a bit more grounded and current now, we should probably say a thing or two about new technologies that are revolutionizing HR in health care. It may seem like somewhat of a let down after all those truly progressive technologies we talked about earlier, but new HR tech is actually doing wonders to save money and increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for patients and everyone else involved.
For one, new technologies in healthcare HR allow doctors, nurses and everyone else involved to spend far less time on paperwork and needless admin so that they can dedicate their time to patients. A modern nurse scheduling system will ensure no nurse is overworked (thus reducing chances of human error) and that the hospital is not wasting resources at times when there is not that much need.
Thanks to new recruitment practices and technologies, hospitals and other institutions are also far more likely to hire the right people for the job, thus increasing the positive outcome rates.
Finally, this new HR technology keeps much better track of data which can then be used in synergy with the aforementioned big data analytics and even AI systems in order to create a superbly functioning system where everyone benefits.
The various new technologies that are changing healthcare at the moment vary in their applicability right now. That being said, all of them will contribute to a healthcare ecosystem that will be more democratic, more efficient, more responsible and, what is more important, better at keeping people healthy.