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These 3 Technologies Will Shape the Future of Health Care

Photo: Courtesy of Piron Guillaume

Transforming health care through technology is no longer the Sisyphean task it once was. Technologies such as blockchain, AI and IoT are all helping to drive change, prevent illnesses and even reshape health care IT.

1. Internet of Things

One executive in the mobility industry recently told me that health care is a “very careful” market, which traditionally looks at industries such as defense and avionics and follows suit. Yet progress is being made. For IoT, there are two benefits: assisting diagnosis and making sure treatment is working. With the latter, for example, sensors are now being piloted in intensive care units. In the former, telephone microphones are now being used to develop algorithms which can assess the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

2. Artificial Intelligence 

AI is a little behind this, but its scope is potentially more wide-ranging. The key here is in terms of the volume of work — and the fact that intelligent health assistants get smarter the more work they do. Millions of samples can be analyzed in quick time and patterns gleaned from them. Take CATI as a recent example. The system, short for cognitive automation of time lapse images, can, alongside aneuploidy screening, improve embryo selection for pregnancy by preventing the misdiagnosis of mosaic embryos.

3. Blockchain 

While these are all fascinating and potentially transformative use cases, they may not stop health care from being a risk-averse industry simply due to the sensitivity of the data involved. Blockchain, however, could. By using a secure, distributed ledger, the potential is there to secure patient data in an unprecedented way. There are other benefits too; As one industry executive told me, it will help organizations be more efficient with health care budgets, allowing a “greater focus on illness prevention rather than cure.”

The combination of blockchain, AI and IoT could therefore be an irresistible one. Patient data secured on the blockchain; AI-enabled assistants and automated health checks cutting time and costs; and millions of “things” connecting the dots and finding better, clearer diagnoses. This is the future of health care — and it cannot come soon enough.

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