3 Things Poised to Transform Health Care

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Health care professionals have encountered considerable changes and demands within the past few years: a nursing shortage, data security breaches, and rapidly-evolving technologies. Recently, precision medicine, natural language processing, and augmented and virtual reality technologies have emerged in the health care industry.

These technologies have been discussed for decades, and they’re now here to stay. To keep up the pace, earning a Master of Health Administration is a great way for health care professionals to stay informed of advancements in technology and understand potential applications in health care.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Regis College’s Online Master of Health Administration.

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Precision Medicine

Precision medicine is an innovative approach that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.

Overview

The concept of precision medicine marks a move away from medical treatments designed for the “average patient” and moves toward treatment that’s tailored to an individual. It also relies on pharmacogenomics, a term defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “the study of how genes affect a person’s response to particular drugs.” Additionally, it focuses study on the genome, or an organism’s complete set of DNA. This study involves determining an organism’s complete DNA sequence, a process fittingly known as genome sequencing.

Applications

Precision medicine’s genome sequencing processes can help diagnose, prevent, and treat genetic disease. Genome analysis can also be used to detect an individual’s risk of cancer – information that physicians can use to pinpoint treatment. Additionally, precision mechanics can be applied to prescription medicine by predicting adverse medication reactions, which can improve their suitability. Finally, individual genome sequencing data can be amalgamated and analyzed for biomedical discovery, which can extend health benefits to populations.

Latest Developments and Impact

The All of Us Research Program has been developed with the goal of gathering data from at least 1 million people living in the United States to help researchers study precision medicine. Additionally, the Precision Medicine Initiative and research in precision medicine can bring many benefits. For instance, the initiative can help develop a deeper understanding of diseases’ causes and mechanics. It can also improve integration of electronic health records (EHRs). Additionally, it can improve FDA oversight of drugs, tests, and technologies. Finally, the initiative can be used to create partnerships among scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and the patient advocacy community.

Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computers to understand and analyze human language.

Overview

The NLP market is projected to reach $4.3 billion by 2024. The main players in the market are IBM, Microsoft, and Apple, as they collectively hold over 40 percent of the sector.

There are three steps to NLP. The first step converts speech to text, the second step enables a computer to understand the speech’s meaning, and the final step converts programming language into a spoken or text format.

Applications

NLP is already poised to have a positive impact on health care in numerous ways. For instance, Intermountain is a self-developed, Java-based NLP program that can identify a patient’s illness. The NLP program MedCPU can work with an EHR system to present doctors with more intelligent information and support clinical decisions. Health Fidelity is an NLP program that automates Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) codes to help physicians prioritize patient diseases. Finally, the Notepad NLP tool could help patients better understand their EHRs and improve the patient portal experience by linking definitions to medical terms.

Latest Developments and Impact

There are several projected applications for NLPs. Some of these future implementations include accelerating patient approval processes involving clinical trials, the development of ambient virtual assistants, and computational phenotyping that could “automatically mine or predict clinically significant, or scientifically meaningful, phenotypes from structured HER data, unstructured clinical narratives, or their combination.”

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality overlays computer-generated sensory input on a physical environment. This differs from virtual reality, which creates an immersive reality.

Overview

The global AR and VR in the health care market is projected to reach $5.1 billion by 2025. Both technologies contain the potential to impact and disrupt numerous areas in health care. The rise of both in the health care market are fueled by applications in diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, surgical simulations, patient care management, and health management.

Applications

Microsoft HoloLens AR tech has been used during reconstructive surgery. Meanwhile, Augmedix’s tech-enabled documentation service helps doctors take medical notes in real time. The MedStar’s Trauma: Yellow training program allows trainees to be immersed in an emergency room environment to test their abilities in stressful situations. Finally, the use of Atheer’s Augmented interactive Reality (AiR) smart glasses allows users to view and interact with pertinent information via voice commands, gestures, and motion tracking.

How the Pros Can Keep Pace

There are three ways health care professionals can keep up with tech. The first way is learning about the latest tech developments via e-learning. The second method is by obtaining a graduate degree, such as a master’s in health informatics or health administration. The third strategy involves attending conventions like Health 2.0 and the Digital Health Summit.

It can be a lot easier to manage change in health care technology, rather than reacting to disruption. Continuing education is essential to staying ahead of transformation and actively embracing change.