In 2020, health technology will empower patients

By Dr Simon Wallace*
Monday, 16 December, 2019

In 2020, health technology will empower patients

Consumerism is expected to play a key role in defining the future of healthcare technologies as patients demand transparency from their providers and the industry.

Wearables and applications that track health information, online booking platforms for general practitioners and specialists, video consultations and patient portals for accessing digital health records, test results and health information are examples of technologies that afford such transparency.

In 2020 we can expect to see the popularity of these technologies continue to increase, playing a massive role in health consultations as patients use them as tools to empower participation and active engagement with their own health in the clinic. As industry research suggests that engaged patients are healthier patients, this is a welcomed trend.

The clinic of the future will improve doctor–patient relationships

While patients may be more engaged than ever before, doctors spend around 11 hours a week creating their clinical documentation. If this includes duplicating and looking for clinical documentation as well as other administrative tasks, this process can consume up to 50% of a clinician’s time at work, which has a huge impact on the doctor–patient relationship.

In 2020, we can expect the following technologies to be more common, allowing doctors to place their focus back on patient outcomes: artificial intelligence (AI)-driven speech recognition, which records and captures spoken information directly into health documentation systems; healthcare virtual assistants that allow clinicians to retrieve data by voice; and even AI-powered predictors of serious medical conditions such as sepsis.

Personalised treatment with AI and machine learning

Advances in AI, machine learning and predictive analytics are key issues that are driving the healthcare industry forward. Health care and treatments are becoming more personalised, considering each patient’s genetics and what’s most likely to affect them.

AI underpins these transitions, in terms of the discovery of treatments, medication and genetic matching, as well as consumer-facing elements and the more mundane administrative aspects of healthcare.

*Dr Simon Wallace is Chief Clinical Information Officer at Nuance Communications and a former general practitioner.

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