Every January, pundits like to predict the future of their industry for the coming year. Many times, this is equivalent to a roll of the dice, about as accurate as a 10-day weather forecast. This doesn’t stop them from trying. Health care is no different; with advances in technology constantly reshaping the field, there are plenty of thoughts about where we are headed in 2019.
Where Will Technology Take Us in 2019?
The movement toward digital technology has picked up steam in recent years, and that trend shows no signs of slowing. Telehealth and remote monitoring are at the forefront of this trend, but they are hardly the only areas in which technology is expected to play a primary role in the new year.
Some technology predictions for 2019:
- EHR Systems will duke it out with new digital technologies. Electronic health record platforms remain popular among health care providers despite some notable shortcomings but will face a challenge from emerging digital technologies. Users must decide between the ease of integration traditional EHR systems provide and a better design/more functionality available with the newer platforms.
- AI will continue to grow as algorithms improve. Artificial intelligence continues to make headlines in many sectors, but adoption rates are slow. Some view AI as being unable to deliver on its extensive promises, while others question whether there may be such a thing as too much information. Despite these reservations, AI should see more widespread adoption rates this year as machine learning algorithms improve and health care systems have a large variety of analytical solutions from which to choose.
- Digital health startups will struggle. Digital health startup companies face a constant struggle in order to compete with big tech companies. Several high-profile startups couldn’t gain traction and ended up folding in 2018, including Lantern and Cloudmine. It will continue to be an uphill battle this year, despite infusions of cash from health care enterprises eager for new solutions big tech cannot provide.
- Big tech isn’t necessarily the big winner, either. While technology firms have made great strides in collecting and analyzing data, they still fall short in providing a way to make this information practicable in terms of delivering care, and direct engagement with patients is spotty at best. These companies are still seeking a formula that will produce long-term, consistent results.
For all its practicality and security, blockchain remains a longshot. While blockchain holds great promise in providing encrypted records to improve security and thwart hackers, it requires widespread participation in order to become a viable platform – and too few physicians have even heard the term before, let alone developed an understanding of its capabilities. Blockchain technology, it appears, may not be poised for a breakthrough until 2020…or beyond.