Society changes. For this reason, it is important for healthcare to change. Vulnerable elderly people continue to live at home more often and care institutions are providing more complex care. To keep up, technological developments in healthcare are very important. Sometimes, however, it seems as if technological developments are beginning to catch on. This creates questions about these developments. Is it safe? Can I trust it?
The developments described in this article are already visible in society and will be fully established in about 20 years’ time.
Everything online in connection
More and more devices are nowadays equipped with sensors and/ or internet connection. For example, there is a growing market in self-measuring equipment for sports activities, but also the market for equipment of measuring movement or life patterns is on the rise. By using a sensor network in the homes of elderly people living independently, sensors are placed at logical locations that detect the movement of the occupant. This makes it possible to see when the resident deviates from this pattern and if something is wrong. New technologies are built in such a way that it is possible to integrate applications and devices with each other. This creates an open system of apps and data.
Shift to the consumer market
Where care organizations previously offered technology for their customers themselves, it is now being done directly to the consumer. People can buy technological products themselves and start right away. Various tools such as motion detectors, smoke detection detectors and alarm systems can simply be purchased at the local hardware store or in an online store.
With big data you receive solutions for problems where you did not even know about the existence of the problem. Smart software, or Business Intelligence, is capable of recognizing patterns in a large amount of unstructured data. By analyzing this data, important insights can be found. A dilemma and problem that is currently present in this technology is how you can use this technology in such a way that problems can be prevented? A good example is: How fantastic and important would it be if we knew exactly how, where, and when Mrs. Smith would fall? If we know this, we can take preventive measures so that it will not happen. This is something that may be possible in the future, although it sounds like fiction for the time being, rather than as a true story.
An important development that cooperates with big data is the development of AI. Artificial Intelligence is in fact what big data can make productive. These are the actual preventive measures that can be used. Special algorithms are used to collect and analyze the information of the user, in order to learn from them. This means that as more information becomes available about the user, the application becomes smarter. Even now AI is already used in everyday life. Have you ever seen the “Maybe interesting for you” on movies and serial provider Netflix? Exactly. This is also Artificial Intelligence.
Robots in healthcare
There are many opportunities in the field of robotics. A robot has the possibility to support healthcare professionals, such as a surgeons, during a surgery, they can be company for someone, they can be reminders for taking medication and much more. By means of AI in these robots, they can, as described above, become even smarter. At the moment, however, there are still many questions. How safe is it? Is personal contact comparable to that of a real person? The future will show what the answers are to these.
You are probably familiar with this in a way. You know the VR glasses, or have played the game Pokémon Go yourself. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are increasingly taking their place in the everyday society. These technologies offer great opportunities for the healthcare sector. Through VR, fears can be overcome by virtually mimicking the fear, such as the fear of falling in the elderly generation.
Another form is the hologram. For example, physicians can operate virtually, after which a robot can precisely simulate this. A home care employee can also provide home care without actually being present. That is just new style of screen care!
Although some technologies are already well developed and have actually occupied their place in society, other technologies are still in their infancy. Yet these technologies also make a huge catch-up.
It is important to be open to change and innovation. When exactly is still unknown, but a fact is that this will be our future.