NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The New Technologies Changing Medicine

September 5, 2014

Economists are expecting a 21 percent increase in information technology jobs in the health care industry by the end of the decade, reports Lyndsey Gilpin at Tech Republic, as advances in electronics, cloud technology and diagnostics are expected to boost demand for IT services.

Gilpin identifies 10 new technologies that are changing medicine, including:

  • The cloud: The ability to store and access health information online offers significant benefits, including the potential to provide better care to patients in rural areas. However, it also poses the threat of data breaches. According to Skyhigh Networks, 13 percent of cloud health care services are at high-risk for security breaches, while 77 percent are considered medium-risk.
  • Fast scanning technology: Close to 60 percent of patients have heart beats that are too fast for the typical CT scanner to capture. General Electric has developed what it calls the Revolution CT, an incredibly fast scanner that can grab an image of a single heartbeat and take pictures the average CT scanner cannot.
  • Wearables: Fitness trackers have become popular in recent years, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Intel is working on creating wearable technology that can detect Parkinson's disease, for example.
  • Digital therapy: For patients who need care but cannot travel to a clinic, digital therapy uses mobile technology to provide care instructions to at-home patients. Wellframe, for example, uses an algorithm to adapt content based upon the particular patient, providing a to-do list and a means of tracking the patient's diet and exercise.
  • Health coaching: Many companies are starting to offer personalized health coaching with customized health plans for participants. These programs go beyond nutritional counseling. For example, ThriveOn offers mental health coaching, including assessments of a person's sleep, stress and body image.

Gilpin notes some of these inventions have yet to receive FDA approval, a lengthy process than can take an entire decade to complete.

Source: Lyndsey Gilpin, "10 technologies changing the future of healthcare," Tech Republic, September 4, 2014.


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