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Technology Healthcare Trends for 2021

Of all the industries that took a hit in 2020, healthcare certainly was the most affected.  Tasked with managing all the aspects of a global pandemic while protecting the patients and staff, there was a growing need for technology to help mediate.  Many of the initiatives that were just a dream in years past were now in the spotlight and became the standard for how health was managed in the US. Hoping to return to normalcy in the near future, it looks like the need to implement new technology is not slowing down but rather speeding up.  Here is a look at the areas that are sure to grow for healthcare in 2021.

The Cloud

Although some people are still skeptical of the Cloud, it is a reliable tool for keeping businesses afloat, especially healthcare. The practically endless availability of files and data from anywhere and any device made it easier for information to keep flowing. Also announced in 2020, Microsoft has created Azure for Healthcare, which will benefit patients and employees by enriching the experiences, adding intelligence and streamline processes.

Diagnostics Aided by AI

At the beginning of the pandemic, Big Tech used Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Bots to help a person figure out ey were experiencing a simple cold or symptoms of COVID-19.  (Did anyone else ask Alexa if you had COVID-19?) It was a quick and easy way to help somewhat self-diagnose our problems.  With all this data, hospitals and medical institutes could see which symptoms were common and the timeline associated with getting sick.  On the heels of a vaccine, we have learned AI was also crucial to getting items ready for public consumption.  Using machines to rummage through thousands (and millions) of data points to narrow down possible solutions was a gamechanger.  Processes that took months, if not years, were suddenly in reach in a much shorter timeframe.

Online Portal for Patient Access

Long gone are the days of house visits from your doctor, but with new virtual appointments and access, it feels almost similar. Being able to troubleshoot your symptoms at home allowed more people to access healthcare (albeit if their area had high-speed internet, but that is for a different blog) and reduced the spreadability of an already highly contagious virus.  With online portals, patients could connect with their doctors through email and see results as soon as they were available.  With the addition of Microsoft Teams, doctors have been able to connect and collaborate easier with their patients.  Simple to use yet very secure, patients can focus on treatment and less on data security. As we move into 2021, we will see more virtual experiences and less time waiting for an appointment.

Security

Of course, with all the data being moved across the internet, the need to protect Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is higher than ever. Tools we use every day (hello, Fitbit) gather information on us all the time, let alone the emails we send to our doctors. Hospitals and medical institutes are ensuring everything will be safe and taking measures to do that.  The Big Tech companies are also working to ensure their clouds are secure and preparing for any event.

Author: Madeline Tomchick, mtomchick@withum.com

Technology and Digital Transformation Services

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