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Digital Health Care: What Lies Ahead in 2019?

How will the smart hospital sector evolve during the coming year?
By Mike Monteith
Dec 20, 2018

As 2018 comes to an end, what changes will we see in the digital health-care industry in the new year? How will technology help smart hospitals to evolve in 2019? Here are my top three predictions.

Digital Health Care and Remote Monitoring Will Become Smarter and More Accessible
Access to care remains a critical challenge, especially in remote areas that lack adequate resources to provide quality medical care. In addition, with a growing aging population suffering from chronic diseases, there are increasing pressures on the health-care system to find new ways to be more productive and efficient.

The smart hospital has the potential to improve quality of care and population health, and to increase system efficiency and reduce health-care costs, through fully integrated systems and medical devices designed to optimize workflows and maximize information exchange. Through 2019, there will be a continual need to integrate the many siloed systems at hospitals, in order to be able to match the pace of growing patient and system demands.

In terms of remote monitoring, wearables will become more common applications in health care as another large source of patient data, but only on a localized delivery level with specific and targeted patient populations. Major strides in utilizing personalized health data and the self-management of chronic diseases through wearables have already demonstrated the potential to increase access to care, enable a more proactive approach to providing care and prevent hospital readmissions. Receiving notifications and information at the point of care will provide more actionable insights and allow for more informed decision making that can improve the quality of care delivered. As wearable and remote-monitoring technologies become cheaper—and, therefore, more accessible—population health will begin to come more into the forefront, putting a strong focus on primary and preventative care.

Digital Health Care Is on the Cusp of capitalizing on Opportunity
Being able to analyze data and translate it into meaningful insights remains a challenge for all levels of government and organizations. While data can now be better managed through analytical tools and technologies, ensuring the quality of data is accurate is another issue. In addition, the lack of data-sharing agreements and inadequate data-governance structures prevents meaningful use and organization of these insights. Despite data privacy and security concerns, data and analytics provide important opportunities for quality improvement, understanding population health, research, health system planning and management.

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