Innovation in Healthcare Requires Ongoing Research

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Being able to make use of the current technology to improve healthcare is arguably the entire point of such technological developments. Furthermore, any simplification and improvement of human life should surely start in the realm of health and wellbeing. It is just the most logical place to start in that if we have technology that can be used to improve life, this improvement should be used for health and wellbeing.

Current innovations in healthcare

The only way not to stand still is to ensure that there is ongoing research and development. This includes not just the tech side but patient care as well, and this is when the DNP vs phd debate becomes most relevant. A career in nursing, care, and medicine can be taken to the highest levels online, and the resultant qualification will be sure to guarantee entry into the ongoing opportunities in healthcare and wellness. 

The aim of the developments must be to deal with specific medical and healthcare challenges and thus the importance of understanding the current care environment before embarking on tech development for health. Current innovations, for example, are looking into targeting high-cost, large scale but preventable diseases that are not only impacting negatively on people but also placing extreme pressure on the healthcare system. Type 1 diabetes currently affects more than 1 million Americans, and while traditional approaches to treating it include careful eating and insulin injections, advances in research are looking at how stem cells can play a role in curing the disease.

Never has there been a context that is as primed for medical and healthcare-related research as the current age. Advances in innovation are often considered only from a technology perspective and bring to mind images of drones delivering medicines or the role of AI in treatment but advances also require innovation in how research into diseases are thought about.

Research and development costs ROI

Healthcare and wellbeing are areas where the research and development costs are quite easily seen from the contribution to healthcare and wellbeing. Improvements in systems, processes, medicines and the overall provision of a more professional health service are clearly seen as the results of these investments. 

Current trends in healthcare R&D are moving towards more patient-centered trials, as those who are directly affected by advances in medicines are eager to play a role in developing new treatments. This is being aided by a number of technological advances. The fact that people are now connected at a global level online means that finding trial participants is made easier but also means that those involved in trials can be connected either remotely or physically with investigators close to them.

However, the defining question for pharmaceuticals in our time is how to legitimize the additional value that is generated over and above the R&D costs. Health and medication have become big business, and as well as improved national health as the return on investment in health and pharmaceuticals, there is also a lot of money to be made.

Current areas of research that are trending

Remote care monitoring

The efficacy of remote healthcare monitoring is a topic that will change the manner in which healthcare is provided across the globe. The idea is to allow patients to manage their health in their own homes with the support and input from professionals. These professionals or clinicians can monitor health information in real-time and react to prevent deterioration and serious illness.

This remote care monitoring is a combination of a range of technology, and all of it must be integrated and monitored to provide a holistic picture of the health and wellness of the patient or client. This not only makes the entire healthcare system more streamlined but also empowers patients to take greater ownership of their treatment and care. As the COVID context makes many people consider the risk of high traffic situations (such as GP surgeries) for routine testing, home testing has become a more attractive option. However, this will require research and innovation to ensure that it remains safe and cost-effective while delivering the best care available. 

Artificial intelligence

As per the research done, over 90% of hospitals have noted that they have an AI strategy or at least are developing such a strategy. AI that is being used in this instance is for any machine-led process, or where machines have replicated some or all of the human functions of a task is regarded as AI for healthcare.

What must be noted herein is that the AI currently used in medicine and healthcare at the moment is for a very narrow range of tasks such as the reading and interpreting of an x-ray or choosing the right medication. The potential, however, is endless.

It’s about being able to compute for possible outcomes using the range of historical medical data available in the form of big data. Big data in the American healthcare sector is the largest singly held repository of personal medical and historical data.

Data analytics

One of the many things that we learned as a result of the COVID pandemic was the key role of data analytics and data metrics. For example, without the data available, it would have been impossible to track and stock hospital supplies such as masks and ventilators. More than simply telling us what the current situation is at any one time, good data will also allow for predictive responses to future problems. 

This is not only at the industry level but also at the patient level. To understand how important data is in the healthcare system, it is possible to think about the fact that the human body contains nearly 150 trillion gigabytes of information – about as much as 75 billion fully-loaded 16GB tablets. Now, think about collecting that amount of data for everyone in the country and using that data to make their health and wellbeing better – this is the role of good data analytics.

Health ethics

There is a major debate in health circles as to the ethical underpinnings of our health system. The American healthcare gap has been researched and debated, and yet it remains to this day. Those who are able to afford it are provided with top of the range healthcare options and insurances, while those who cannot must rely on the state provision of healthcare for their wellbeing, and in fact, survival. The privatization of healthcare has seen the rise in health for wealth and increased deprivation and illness for those in society that cannot afford to pay for health. 

The ethics in American as well as global healthcare provision is an area ready for research and development for disruption. Only innovating around the issue will arguably provide for a sustainable solution.

On-demand healthcare

The rise of monitoring devices means that patients are more willing than ever to track and take control of their own healthcare. This not only provides a synergy between practitioners and patients but also allows for the gathering of valuable data to ensure better patient care. 

Allowing patients to connect directly with specialists or different kinds of healthcare professionals through the internet is making it easier for professionals to provide on-demand healthcare to those with specific needs and in specific circumstances. This means that patients are able to make a request based on their specific needs, and healthcare companies can match those needs with specific expertise, schedules, and talents within a pool of healthcare professionals. 

This not only opens up possibilities for patients but also for healthcare professionals who are able to consider a more freelance type of working context where they are more in control of their time, their patients, and how they work. This also allows for greater flexibility for the patient’s changing needs from a sector that has sometimes been considered rigid and unwilling to adapt.

Concluding remarks

Healthcare is also a global phenomenon that is being played out at the moment over the Covid-19 vaccines as the richer nations double and triple vaccinate, while poorer nations can hardly afford to vaccinate their population once. Innovation in the global healthcare supply chain is a must in the fight against future pandemics and the current crisis faced by many lower-income countries. This is not only a healthcare challenge but one that requires innovation in understanding data, logistics, administration, and supply issues. The scope for innovation in this area is high but requires the will of those with the resources to coordinate at a global level to ensure success. 

There is no better reason to innovate and to leverage current innovations in other sectors to ensure better healthcare. As more medical and healthcare professionals are drawn to the digital era, and as more patients continue to make all aspects of their lives connected to digital technology, so the space for synergy is created. 

The opportunities in current healthcare abound, and this is necessarily because the rationale for further research and development of solutions and medical cures is our own global health.