We have an eventful year ahead of us with breakthroughs in healthcare. 2018 is the year in which technical and regulatory barriers will be removed and digitization will make its way into healthcare. Here we have the hottest healthcare trends for you:
Remote treatment is gaining ground – but now it’s right!
The desire to extend the treatment of the patient via the practice and the hospital has existed for some time. But the Cleveland Clinic is forecasting breakthroughs here in 2018.
After many years of experimentation and slow growth, the time has now come for the financial and technical hurdles to be dismantled far enough to see significant progress in this area.
In Germany, too, the ban on remote treatment could be lifted in May 2018. Most of the technical hurdles have now been removed. Treatment independent of location is likely to soon become a natural part of health care.
That’s exactly what will change in 2018. Wearables are taking the step out of the wellness area and becoming devices that play a role in clinical studies and in the remote monitoring of patients. The quality of the sensors continues to improve, allowing them to occupy a larger place in diagnosis.
The advantages for doctors and patients are obvious: doctors no longer have to rely solely on the subjective perception of their patients and can get a better picture of the causes and correlations of certain clinical pictures.
Blockchain becomes disruptive technology
This trend has so far had very little to do with healthcare. But it will come! Do you know Bitcoin? This crypto currency with interesting price fluctuations and enormous growth in recent months? Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin and has nothing to do with healthcare at first glance. However, it could fundamentally change any industry as it eliminates the need for a middleman between contracts.
Blockchain is a technology in which data from all “transactions” is stored decentrally on all computers. When a new transaction is executed, the majority of the other participants in the blockchain must verify the legitimacy of that transaction. The transaction is then mirrored on all participants’ accounts. The technology does not require a third party and is much more difficult to hack.
Faster vaccine development saves lives
Vaccination saves lives – apart from a few vaccination opponents, this is the general understanding. Experts estimate 21 million hospital stays and 732,000 deaths that could have been prevented by vaccination in the last 20 years.
The outbreaks of Ebola and Zika in recent years have shown that we do not have this time. In order to limit epidemics well, we need a faster pace of development. The Cleveland Clinic expects major breakthroughs in the development of new vaccines in 2018. The complicated drug tests with chicken eggs could be replaced by innovative methods with tobacco plants, insects and nanoparticle systems.
Another challenge in the field of vaccination is the administration of vaccines. For example, the rotavirus vaccine has been on the market since 2006. However, 215,000 children die every year because their parents do not vaccinate them. New (more pleasant) forms of administration could change that!
Control rooms improve hospital care
Hospitals are a hectic place with a constant background noise. Doctors and hospital staff are exposed to this sensory overload every day and experts observe a dulling of vital signals from the devices with growing discomfort. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 44% of cardiac arrests are not detected in time because hospital staff are no longer aware of important signals.
To counteract this development, hospitals are now using a new digital option:
Monitoring data from medical devices, high-definition cameras and other sources is sent to an external command center. There, algorithms and medical staff evaluate and filter all data and ensure that hospital staff can respond to vital data. Hospitals that already use this method achieve a 93 percent survival rate of cardiac arrest patients.
Improved surgical aftercare results in fewer second surgeries
How is the rapid recovery of patients after surgery ensured? For a long time doctors were sure: don’t eat anything before the operation, stay in bed as long as possible afterwards and take tablets against the pain.
In the USA, however, the number of resumptions after surgery has increased significantly and the misuse of medication is a huge problem.
A new approach to post-operative care, the ERAS (Enhanced Recovery after Surgery) method, will play an important role in 2018. It limits opioids, encourages regular post-operative walks and supports patients with a special diet plan.
A study of 9,000 patients reduced surgical complications by one-third and opioid prescription by 21%.