The future of patient care looks bright with continuous advances in patient care technologies.

Targeted treatments, remote consultations, and improved diagnoses are just some of the results of continuous innovations in healthcare. Technology continues to drive us forward and streamline the way we approach medical treatment.

In this article, we’ll give you a glimpse of the future of patient care by exploring five technological innovations.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI algorithms may help doctors to assess risk better, make more accurate diagnoses, and offer more effective treatments to patients.

In January, Google Health and DeepMind came up with an AI tool, which they say is capable of “bettering human radiologists at finding breast cancer cells from mammograms.”

To test the AI tool, researchers used two data sets of breast cancer scans from the UK and the US. By using the AI tool, it resulted in a reduction of false negatives of 9.4 percent for the US dataset and 2.7 for the UK one. Afterwhich, the tool was pitted against six human radiologists. AI outperformed them all on an average of 11.5 percent.

Virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality

According to Grand View Research, the augmented reality & virtual reality in the healthcare market is expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.

Virtual reality (VR)

Israeli health tech company VRHealth provides VR technology solutions to various US health facilities. These solutions address a variety of health challenges, including pain management for mothers in labor and cancer patients in chemotherapy.

In addition, they said that hospitals can benefit from VR through remote consultations. Patients can be assessed remotely, sparing them from long queues and commutes.

The company has its VR platform present in 30 locations in the US, from hospitals, out-patient clinics to rehabilitation centers. And since May 2018, they’ve seen a 10 percent weekly compound growth rate in VR treatments across these locations.

Mixed reality

Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital uses mixed reality to help rehabilitate patients with spinal cord injuries.

Participants wear the Microsoft HoloLens smart glasses to play a “superimposed” game of Pac-Man. By moving around the room with the character, participants can have more fun, and clinicians can have a new way to measure progress.

On the other hand, mixed reality can be used for patients to relearn tasks like grasping a cup or holding a knife without hurting themselves. It can also suggest the presence of virtual obstacles patients might have at home, providing a safe training ground for users as they work to regain lost function.

Robotics

Robotics in healthcare means so much more than extracting blood or carrying racks around. Remote-controlled medical bots, like those designed by Anybots, can assist caretakers by monitoring patients’ living conditions and basic needs. These robotic caretakers reduce the number of visits, thus allowing caretakers to focus on higher-value tasks.

Another company, Luvozo, came up with a robotic concierge named “Sam.” Sam is a human-sized robot that does frequent check-ins and non-medical care for residents in a long-term care setting. It reduces the costs of care while improving patient satisfaction by always being there for the elderly.

EHR systems

In 2009, only 16 percent of US hospitals were using electronic health records (EHR). But by 2017, more than 95 percent of hospitals possess an EHR.

For such a long time, hospitals had separate health record systems: one did pharmacy, another did documentation, and so on. Integrating these systems into a single, electric platform has allowed for better care for patients.

With EHR systems, clinicians can more efficiently track and coordinate patient care across different practices and facilities. Mayo Clinic, for example, has a “one-stop care” system that makes virtually all medical services available “under one roof.” These include doctor visits, tests, surgery, hospital care, and so on. The services can be coordinated and scheduled throughout a single visit, sparing patients from time-consuming multiple visits.

Wearable technology

California’s Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center turned to a patient-tracking system intended to lower waiting times and improve treatment across the continuum of care. Under its real-time location system patient-tracking program, each patient is given a numbered tracking tag to wear on the wrist.

After a patient is discharged, the tracking tag is removed and placed in a dropbox that automatically notifies hospital staff to prepare the room for the next patient, instead of having to inform them manually.

Cutting that step along has reduced the time it takes to give new patients a room by over three hours.

Aside from cutting wait times, the device also helped staff to locate patients who wander away from their rooms. Because of the tracking tag’s success, Sharp Chula Vista now plans to expand the technology to its other hospitals.

We are truly living in revolutionary times for patient care, thanks to ever-evolving technology. As hospitals strive to provide better and more efficient care to patients, technology’s role will only become more prominent.