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Article
4 min read
Adrian Sutherland

Healthcare innovation is a rope that sometimes needs to be walked ever so slightly. As we strive to do things better, faster and quicker than we did before, we can’t lose sight of the bottom line and what matters most – the people. 

 

According to a Citrix study, 92% of healthcare leaders said they added new processes into place during the pandemic, while 72% said their companies innovated more in the wake of COVID-19. 

 

The point? Innovation isn’t inexpensive. It comes at a price, but it helps clinicians support their patients affordably and effectively. Finding healthcare solutions that benefit people and profit is a sweet spot that healthcare loves to live in – here’s how you can get there, too. 

 

  1. Wearables

Is that Fitbit or Apple Watch on your wrist a regular part of your everyday life? Not surprising. Nearly 203 million people worldwide wear a smartwatch with a fitness tracker. 

 

Fitness watches gamify healthcare and can act as real-time heart monitor at the drop of the hat. But they’re just the start. Patches, actuators, and other tools are fashionable and functional for patients in need of up-to-the-minute diagnostics and metrics. 

 

For care providers, wearable technology provides another set of eyes once patients leave their offices. Blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and other ailments can be monitored away from the facility. Instead of patients waiting to see doctors and taking up beds, they can come in on their own accord when necessary. 

 

Patients won’t have to spend hours on end in a waiting room. And when they do need help, all physicians need to do is consult the wearable device to spot patterns and abnormalities. 

 

  1. Sensors

Believe it or not, pacemakers are a founding father in the sensor realm. Used to help patients with chronic heart issues, these sensors have grown increasingly more efficient over the years thanks to evolving technologies. 

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are certainly contributors to that maturation. They’re also critical components of a new generation of sensors acting as full-time monitors using edge computing to measure temperature, fluid levels, and other real-time vitals. Quantum sensors are becoming increasingly more common, using particle-reliant tools to get those same vitals while also producing crystal-clear views of the brain and heart. 

 

Future sensors will likely fall into three buckets: skin-based (e.g., cuffless blood pressure monitors, smart rings, and earphones); biofluid-based (e.g., measuring sweat, saliva, tears, etc.), and drug delivery (e.g., smart bandages that can secrete medications on an as-needed basis). 

 

Sensors yield genetic data analysis and perform quantum simulations and workups in minutes. In the process, patients save money on facility visits and providers build goodwill with patients who know they can visit a clinician who has the most updated information and is ready to treat them. 

 

  1. Patient apps

Consider how convenient it is to unlock your phone or computer and immediately have access to your healthcare or benefits provider. It’s a reality for many as healthcare is encouraging more patients to manage their wellness via patient-facing apps.

 

Yes, they can set up appointments, pay for visits, and look up test results, but that’s just the start. The growth in telemedicine, for example, is such that companies are building apps dedicated solely to connecting patients with providers for remote or virtual consultations. 

 

For the latter, they help decrease bandwidth and give them time to give both in-hospital and remote patients proper workups. And for patients, apps are a convenient, quick, and affordable way to stay on top of their health — and the more innovative these apps become, the more beneficial they'll be to both patients and providers. 

 

  1. Cloud

  2. Security is a top-shelf concern in every industry. In healthcare, where personal data is so critical, keeping that information safe in a compliant manner is important. Enter the cloud, which is taking the onus off hardware solutions to be the only line of defense for healthcare cybersecurity. 

 

Cloud vendors can collaborate with facilities as their lone provider of security or do a hybrid setup that leverages on-site and cloud to store personal healthcare information (PHI). The potential has led the big three cloud vendors (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) to enter the fray and support providers of all sizes. The benefit for patients is obvious. Their information is secure, and their faith in their providers is confirmed. According to an IBM report, IT breaches cost healthcare providers an average of $10.1 million in 2022, a record high. The healthcare providers who adopt the cloud that see even the smallest improvement in security boost profit and can devote those savings toward creating a consistently positive patient experience. 

 

In healthcare, peoples’ best interests can secure providers’ financial foundations. These solutions — and others — can continue to evolve and find new ways to save money and potentially save lives. 

 

Are you wondering what else you can be doing to keep up with the breakneck pace of innovation in healthcare? Check out our whitepaper “Innovating for the Connected Patient” to see what’s out there and how you can stay on track!

 

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