The innovation and implementation of healthcare technology is moving at a speed we have never seen before, so what digital trends has the industry seen so far in 2017?
It’s 2017 and technology has never been so advanced. In the last decade we’ve seen the digital industry move from strength to strength as it has evolved to move with the times and the needs of businesses, organisations and users.
When it comes to the health sector, technology is having a huge impact on both patients’ and professionals’ lives, by providing them with the tools they need to provide healthcare quickly and efficiently. Over the years, we’ve seen technology take some strain off the NHS while playing a part in detecting and treating illnesses in their earliest stages. But when we look more recently, what are the digital trends of 2017 so far?
While FitBits, pedometers and wearable devices were all the rage in 2016, profits over the last few quarters have decreased significantly, leaving the company to consider other avenues of revenue.
Just like other tech companies, this year FitBit decided to place its focus on healthcare. In spring the brand were discussing products with the NHS and the possibility of integrating the trackers into regular care. While FitBits are a trend that is quickly dying out, the shift towards healthcare is perhaps unsurprising. Moving forward, it is hoped that fitness devices can re-take a healthcare approach that helps measure calorie intake and other activity tracking, for example.
There are also sensory devices being created to help those in care. Leeds City Council, for example, provide Assisted Living equipment to those that are vulnerable or at risk of injury. Wearable devices containing sensors are able to alert carers and family members when the person wearing the device falls or has convulsions, or if they trigger the device to receive help.
When it comes to illnesses like diabetes, the year so far has seen an evolution of management apps that help users coping with the disease. In the past couple of months, app developers, mySugr and Glooko have had their deals extended and the latter has also released a jointly-developed app with Novo Nordisk.
The apps provide a logbook for users so they can document their activity and nutrition. The deals between the app companies show promise in the world of digital healthcare and perhaps hints that it could be extended further.
With funding cuts and increasing strain, it’s fair to say that the NHS has been slow off the mark when it comes to making the most of technology. However, it seems that 2017 is now the year that the national service will embrace digital for all it’s worth.
So far this year we have seen developments from individual NHS Trusts, with the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust partaking in a trial to test a breathalyser as a potential screening method for multiple cancers. Should this pilot work, it could be revolutionary in terms of cancer prevention and diagnosis.
In addition to this, the NHS apps library launched in 2017 in beta form, and the government announced that £86 million will be provided to specifically improve uptake and access to new digital health solutions.