Tech Trends That Will Transform Healthcare in 2020

man sitting on couch with VR headset with hand in the air. Doctor sitting next to him observing

Advancements in technology and easy access to world-wide data has attributed to increasing patient expectations. Patients are doing their research online before making their decisions, and staying ahead of the technology curve is more important than ever. Whether it’s a new technique a surgeon should use, a form of communication a practice should offer, or a new piece of equipment a hospital should carry. We’ve compiled the top tech trends that will transform healthcare in 2020 to keep you competitive. 

3D Printing 

Although it isn’t new, it does continue to advance. Its capabilities are advancing so quickly in fact, it can be hard to keep up. Surgeons can now replicate patient-specific organs to help them prepare for procedures. Medtronic has a 3D lab at its headquarters in Minnesota for this very purpose.

“If a doctor, scientist, or engineer comes up with an idea for a new surgical tool, a prototype can be built in a matter of hours for R&D to explore the idea. Research and development work that used to take a few months, now done in a couple of days. We like to learn fast. “Create different iterations of those tools such that we can arrive at what the final product is in a much more rapid fashion.” – – Mark Bucheger, engineering director, Medtronic 

3D printing also makes it easier and more cost-effective to develop comfortable prosthetic limbs for patients; and print tissues and organs for transplants.

AI & Machine Learning 

As the population continues to grow, medical data will continue to grow with it. By 2020, medical data is expected to double every 73 days. AI can help alleviate those growth pains by offering new and better ways to identify disease, diagnose conditions, develop treatment plans, monitor health epidemics, create efficiencies in clinical trials and other forms of medical research. 

Algorithms powered by recent advances in computational power learn from the data and can predict the probability of a condition to help doctors provide a diagnosis and treatment plans. 

AI making clinical decisions has a long way to go due to FDA restraints. However, AI can still be used to accelerate the processing of large amounts of information. Such data includes text, images, voice, and even video, and act as the first port of call for many patients.

Computer and Machine Vision 

AI-backed computer vision is breaking out as a way to improve specific care models. What is computer and machine vision? It’s the task of training computers to replicate human sight and understanding the objects in front of them. Machine Vision accomplishes this by using complex algorithms to process images to make faster and more accurate diagnoses than a physician.  

“Post-partum hemorrhaging is one of the biggest causes of mortality in childbirth. The AI technology uses pictures taken with an iPad device and analyzes images of surgical sponges and suction canisters. Since implementing AI at the hospital (where 14,000 babies a year are delivered) doctors have learned that they often overestimate how much blood women lose during delivery. With computer vision, they can understand the amount more accurately, allowing them to treat the women appropriately.” — Lorraine Parker, patient care administrator, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies

Extended Reality 

AR/VR isn’t just for teenager entertainment; it has proven to be a great tool in the medical field. The AR/VR market is expected to reach $5.1 Billion by 2025. The most common purpose for AR and VR in the medical field is for training and surgery simulation but It can also help patients with visual impairments, depression, cancer, and autism.

Mixed reality, intertwines virtual and real worlds, providing essential education capabilities for medical professionals as well as allowing patients to understand their conditions and treatment plans.

Genomics

Preventative medicine is on the rise, and so are treatment plans based on genomic results. Computers analyze a patient’s genes to determine a preventative or reactive treatment plan. 

“A report from the National Academy of Sciences has called for the adoption of ‘precision medicine,’ where genomics, epigenomics, environmental exposure, and other data would be used to more accurately guide individual diagnosis. Genomic medicine, as defined above, can be considered a subset of precision medicine.” — National Human Genome Research Institute

Additional technologies include wearable tech, robotics, blockchain, and 5G are also tech trends that will transform healthcare in 2020. 

Did we miss any that you think we should include? Want more information on a specific topic? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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