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March 20th, 2021

Digital health is growing rapidly to improve healthcare services, but it wasn’t much of a priority until last year. Coronavirus pandemic in the year 2020 changed the way we think of healthcare and has given many new approaches towards better health. Digital health, artificial intelligence, and new innovations have proven that safe access to healthcare is possible.

As we learned to adapt to new technologies last year, these digital trends are here to stay even after the pandemic. Here are top the digital healthcare solutions that are predicted to dominate 2021;

1. Telemedicine

Telemedicine can be defined as diagnosing and treating patients remotely using telecommunication technology. We saw dramatic progress in telemedicine in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, 43.5% 0f Medicare primary care visits were provided through telehealth. As one of the major benefits of telemedicine was it reduced contact among patients and healthcare workers. Though telehealth was rising slowly before the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic has given it a major boost. 

Any chronic disease brings a lot of burden to patients, families, and the health system. Patients experience a high risk of morbidity and mortality with reduced quality of life. In such a situation, telemedicine offers a proactive approach where patients can self-monitor their condition and maintain high health quality.

Telemedicine provides personalized healthcare to patients that save their time as well as cost. Telemedicine helps patients to stay in the comfort of their homes and avail the needed medical care. 

Telemedicine is booming, and the availability of specialist care like nutritionists, mental health experts, cardiologists, etc., is making health care more and more accessible to everyone. Remote consultations using advanced medical devices at home are offering better health to people. 

2. Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Digital Health

Big data and machine learning are influencing every aspect of our modern life, from the entertainment sector to the healthcare industry. As Netflix knows which movie you would like and google what people are looking for, AI is making a big impact in the healthcare industry as well. The application of artificial intelligence can bring substantial developments in all areas of healthcare, from diagnostics to treatment. 

The latest evidence suggests that AI algorithms show better results than humans in various tasks. From analyzing medical images to relating symptoms from electronic medical records (EMRs) with predicting the status and prognosis of the disease, AI keeps you ahead. 

AI is playing a critical role in fighting against the COVID-19, from screening, face recognition with masks to vaccine development. In fact, an AI-driven Canadian health monitoring company BlueDot first predicted the coronavirus outbreak – even a week before the WHO or the CDC. Bluedot scans over 1 lakh media sources around the world in over 65 different languages every day to determine dangerous outbreaks in real-time.

AI-based health monitoring system enables advancements that humans cannot achieve otherwise. And the future of AI holds in precision medicine, drug development, genomics, and imaging technology. Using AI’s pattern to treat chronic conditions can bring great outcomes. 

3. The Internet of Medical Things

Healthcare is leveraging information technologies to deliver smart solutions for better diagnosis and treatment. By using powerful hardware and smart medical sensors, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has changed the way healthcare is approached worldwide. Data captured by such wearable and embedded sensors allow tracking user habits. The DATA can be effectively collected and processed to report critical conditions by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine/Deep Learning (ML/DL) based approaches.

IoMT is the perfect amalgamation of medical devices and apps that connects patients directly to physicians allowing the transfer of medical data. It allows patients to manage their condition, get prescriptions and health recommendations from healthcare providers. 

4. 3D Bioprinting

3D bioprinting is a process that can digitally generate a model of a solid object of any shape. Medical 3D printing was once an ambitious dream, with time and effort has now become a reality. 3D bioprinting technology helps pharma and medical companies create specific drugs, rapid implant production and is bringing more accuracy in surgeon’s procedures. 

3D printed tissue models play a significant role in the studies of the mechanism of disease, the effectiveness of preclinical therapy, pharmacological testing for new drugs, and anatomical structures of complicated organs. Due to the possibility of patient-specific designs, great complexity, positive productivity, and cost-effective manufacturing methods, 3D printing is a widely accepted manufacturing technology for medical applications. 3D bioprinting is expected to bring some revolutionary progress in pharmaceutical research programs.

5. Nanomedicine

In the past few years, nanotechnology has entered our daily lives. This revolutionary technology can be integrated into multiple fields; hence we can find many materials and products with nanomaterials. In pharmaceutical research, nanotechnology is used in developing new medicines.

In the health industry, nanomedicine is addressing unmet medical needs. When used for medical purposes, it is applied in three different areas: diagnosis as Nano diagnosis, controlled drug delivery as Nano therapy, and regenerative medicine. With biocompatible nanoparticles, nanoelectronics biosensors, and other devices, nanomedicine is blooming to become the future of medicine. 

6. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality creates a multisensory and 3D environment that leads the user to a simulated world. Researchers and health professionals have explored the effects of VR simulation on various health conditions such as physical rehabilitation, surgery training, pain management, anatomical education, and mental health conditions. 

Even the most powerful analgesics cannot control pain in every patient, but the use of VR technology enhances distraction and is an effective method for pain management. It reduces the severity of the pain, anxiety, and time spent thinking about pain. Virtual reality also plays a role in treating anxiety disorders and phobias like fear of flying, claustrophobia, acrophobia, or generalized social phobia. Applying VR technology in the medical field is bringing many benefits.

7. Big Data Analytics

Health systems around the globe face challenges due to the aging population and associated health problems. Big data aims to meet the high expectations of quality health care. It relies on detecting patterns and turning high volumes of data into actionable knowledge for precision medicine and decision-making. It offers digital healthcare solutions for the improvement of patient care. 

Big Data has the potential to generate new insights on the risk factors that lead to disease. It increases the possibility of engaging with the individual patient more closely and imports data from mobile health applications or connected devices. These data can be analyzed and used in real-time to advise changes in behaviors that can reduce health risks and harmful environmental exposures, and optimize health outcomes.

In this fast-paced world, we need more personalized and sustainable health services and the right tools to deliver them. Big Data is beginning to revolutionize the healthcare industry by improving the performance and outcomes of health management solutions.

Final Words 

Digital tools and technologies can empower patients helping them to make informed decisions about their health. It facilitates the prevention, early diagnosis, and management of chronic conditions outside the traditional health care settings. With better access and affordable services, patients can get quality care. Even though it lacks human touch and there is a complex technology, we are getting better with compassion and learning. The usability of telemedicine depends on how fast the patient learns to trust and feel safe with digital healthcare solutions.