Before the pandemic happened, many developers were already working on numerous healthcare technologies that could make things easier for patients and healthcare providers alike. However, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated these developments even further, proving the adage that necessity always drives innovation. Here are some medical technologies that the world needs to watch out for to combat not just COVID-19 but other diseases that are plaguing the world right now.
Analytics used to be a buzzword for information technology and other related fields. It can also be used in real-world scenarios where data and statistics need accurate processing and analysis. The COVID-19 crisis has proven that the healthcare and medical community needs all the help to prepare for crises. A key element of that is predicting the surge of cases of diseases, especially those that are infectious. Predicting where the number of cases could surge can be a powerful tool for avoiding shortages in hospital beds, drugs, and other medical equipment.
Enter predictive analytic tools, which can forecast upcoming increases in positive COVID-19 cases. A hospital in Philadelphia used a model that utilizes humidity and temperature data because transmission rise as temperatures do because people are more likely to go out and socialize more when the weather is warmer. Another clinic developed a risk calculator, making predictions and projections based on patients’ age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, vaccination history, and current medications.
Analytics can also be utilized in business intelligence, as health systems across the nation make strategic investments in this area to better understand people with ailments and how to tailor the patient experience according to their needs and what their conditions require. With the help of a combination of patient feedback and data-driven insights that use operational, clinical, and financial information, business intelligence analytics can create a full picture of how patients interact with the hospitals that treat them.
Healthcare providers can then use the data to create treatment plans based on the patients’ symptoms, determine how follow-up care should go, and track readmission rates. Business intelligence can also significantly help operations as it can help the staff schedule efficiently and optimize and maximize the supply chain.
Digital solutions for research
Companies like Pion Inc. are at the forefront of applying out-of-the-box problem-solving skills to help medical experts reach a confident conclusion regarding their research. These science-driven companies provide state-of-the-art technology, support, solutions, and scientific expertise to help accelerate drug development without sacrificing accuracy. These solutions also offer top-of-the-line laboratory instrumentation, field service, and analysis to deliver exactly what researchers need to reach their goals.
Smart technologies and wearable devices have gained ground in recent years, but even more so in the time of COVID-19. Stanford Medicine partnered with Fitbit and Scripps Research to develop a wearable device that can help the user and primary healthcare providers detect a viral infection’s early signs and symptoms. If the team succeeds in training a series of algorithms, they might be able to find success in curbing the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. If the tool is successfully created, it might be a plus for both diagnosis and prognosis.
Precision medicine is an emerging medical approach for disease prevention and treatment that looks into a patient’s variability in environment, genes, and lifestyle. It’s an approach that allows physicians to more accurately predict which medical strategies and treatment will work in specific groups of people, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. The National Institutes of Health donated $75 million to fund genomics innovations, particularly for diverse populations and communities, which will be spread out in the next five years.
John Hopkins also saw the value in precision medicine in the time of COVID-19, and they also entered into a 5-year partnership with Microsoft Azure since the latter’s artificial intelligence and cloud capabilities will be able to support precision medicine in the future, especially throughout the COVID-19 crisis and even long after the pandemic is over.
A Lot to Look Forward To
While the future seems bleak, and experts say that we might still have to live with COVID-19 until the end of 2021 (or earlier, if the multiple vaccines in development are effective and widely distributed). Still, there are also a lot of technological developments that will help lead the fight against COVID-19. So as long as our researchers are well-funded and individuals do their part to curb infections, we might actually have a fighting chance against this disease.