2017 Healthcare Technology Trends and What to Expect in 2018

In January of 2017 Healthcare IT News released their top ten picks for trends in healthcare.  Of the top ten picks for this past year, I would have to not that the push of artificial intelligence and UV-C lights may be the most noteworthy.

As predicted Ultraviolet LED option comes in strips, sanitizing wands and UV disinfecting cabinets for mobile devices.  Why is there such a focus on disinfection?  Are hospitals not as clean as one would hope?

The need for better disinfection and sterilization options in hospitals is pressing. Globally, 700,000 patients suffer from hospital-caught infections (the equivalent of one in every 25 patients). This leads to an estimated 75,000 deaths annually. In seeking to stem this tide, hospitals have turned to solutions ranging from the basic — reinforcing hygiene routines and enforcing the use of hand sanitizer gels — through to higher-tech options.

According to the CDC, microorganisms and viruses have developed numerous resistance mechanisms that enable them to evade the effect of antimicrobials and antivirals, which makes them resistant to almost every available means of chemical treatment—all of which contributes to the rise in HAIs. The need to protect hospital patients and clinicians from harmful, drug resistant pathogens and life- threatening infections has never been greater.

Global spending on infection control—which includes chemical and physical disinfection equipment—is projected to grow from $13.1 billion in 2014 to $16.7 billion by 2020. Not surprisingly, the fastest growing segment includes new systems and devices that employ UVC LEDs for repeatable, reliable and environmentally safe disinfection. Consistent with the growing shift from managed care to a more decentralized model, leading medical device manufacturers are developing innovative new solutions to safeguard both patients and clinicians.

Looking ahead, healthcare providers, medical device OEMs and disinfection equipment manufacturers alike have every reason to embrace next-generation devices that employ reliable solid-state technology like UVC LEDs. Doing so will significantly bolster what is projected to be a long and difficult fight against the spread of infectious diseases and the ongoing emergence of chemical-resistant super bugs.

Have you ever pondered the idea of a humanoid robot that might be able to ensure disinfection among other tasks get completed with an auditable command? 

Nuance Communications and Epic are partnering to integrate the artificial intelligence capabilities of Nuance’s computer-assisted physician documentation tool into the Epic NoteReader module for clinical documentation improvement.

By embedding that CAPD tool within Epic, the companies said physicians can get feedback at the point of care as provider organizations work to improve severity-adjusted quality scores and better understand reimbursement and risk adjustment factors to improve care management.

Let me introduce you to Pepper. Pleasant and likeable, Pepper is much more than a robot, he is a genuine humanoid companion created to communicate with you in the most natural and intuitive way, through his body movements and his voice. You can also personalize your robot by downloading the software applications that take your fancy, based on your mood or the occasion. Dance, play, learn or even chat in another language, Pepper adapts himself to you!

2018 should be an interesting ride for healthcare and technologies that set each hospital apart from each other.

In 2018, we will continue to see healthcare services moving from inpatient to outpatient facilities, but hospitals will also see growth in patient-day numbers. As Baby Boomers age, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years, and the total demand for inpatient care will only grow. Additionally, as services are pushed to outpatient facilities, remaining inpatients will increasingly be the sickest and most acute, requiring longer stays. Maximizing the efficiency of space and movement of medical staff to serve this inpatient population, including with more private rooms and fewer shared rooms, is critical to healthcare facility design. 

Healthcare facilities should start thinking now about how to best incorporate telehealth services into their master plan as virtual healthcare patients will rise 7 percent and in-home healthcare services will rise 13 percent within the next two years.

When you think of healthcare do you think of malls?  As the delivery of healthcare continues to improve, an increasing number of same-day services and procedures may be performed outside hospitals, in community locations chosen for ease of access and improved customer convenience. Established retail locations are, and will become even more attractive to developers of micro-hospitals, outpatient imaging, urgent care and ambulatory surgery centers, and medical office buildings. This approach serves not only convenience-minded patients but also providers interested in growing market share.