The use of modern technology in healthcare is changing how we live and monitor our health. Connected smart devices—like heart rate monitors that transmit and receive patient data—are now integral to the delivery of quality care. In fact, the global connected health and wellness devices market is expected to reach $612 billion by 2024, according to a report by Grand View Research.
Connected devices span a range of applications. Some enable patient health to be tracked from anywhere, extending the physician’s reach beyond the office or hospital, providing data to support diagnoses and treatment, and eliminating the need for frequent office visits. Others facilitate decentralized clinical health trials, so studies can encompass broader regions and populations. Devices such as mobile personal emergency response systems, or medical alerts, help patients feel more secure and retain independence.
As a result of these innovations, technology has transformed the way doctors and patients interact. One of the earliest milestones in this revolution was the switch to electronic medical records (EMRs), which gave doctors widespread access to patient data from any location. With EMRs, all healthcare providers in a system can see the same information, test results, patient history and treatment notes. According to numerous studies, EMRs have improved quality of care, patient outcomes and safety due to a reduction in errors (particularly with medications).
Applying AI to Improve Healthcare
With advances in artificial intelligence (AI), connected technologies promise to further accelerate change—particularly when it comes to diagnostics. In fact, Hughes applies AI to network management tasks to proactively diagnose and heal performance issues before they happen and impact users. AI can process vast amounts of data in seconds, recognizing patterns and trends and comparing one patient’s health information against a database of known conditions and patient symptoms. It’s just not possible for humans to digest and analyze the same amount of data in the same amount of time. But AI can quickly evaluate the data and deliver insights to doctors in real-time to inform their diagnoses and treatment plans.
Since AI improves with its ability to ingest more and more data, it can incorporate the latest medical research and help doctors stay current. Such personalized monitoring and treatment planning built on the power of data will be particularly valuable for those with chronic health conditions.
Unlocking the Power of Digital Healthcare
There’s one critical element to enable digital healthcare advances and capabilities: fast, reliable and secure internet connectivity. Every connected smart device, be it in a large hospital or local clinic, depends on the network. As the number of connected devices and technologies explodes, such dependencies increase. A network often dictates whether a healthcare system can adopt emerging technologies and keep pace with innovation. Connectivity must also be resilient to support operations during outages, such as weather events; automatic failovers and multiple or redundant paths ensure continuity.
A Managed Service Provider like Hughes, can simplify the setup, operation and maintenance of complex networks for medical services, allowing owners/operators to focus on running their business and delivering quality care. Success in digital healthcare delivery depends on applying experience, tools and techniques that can only be culled from managing thousands of connected sites worldwide. When the network stays healthy, more patients can, too.