What does the future have in store for health technology?

12-Apr-2022

Dr Andy Davies (pictured), commercial director at Mackwell Health, gives his take on what 2022 has in store for the healthcare industry, discussing anticipated changes to the sector, critical moments and milestones affecting health workers, as well as the importance of technology evolution and how this should be embraced by healthcare institutions over the next 12 months

Moving forward, healthcare technology will underpin many hospital services, including infection prevention and control protocols

Moving forward, healthcare technology will underpin many hospital services, including infection prevention and control protocols

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for new practices within healthcare, improvements are desired that would make services more streamlined for both staff members and patients.

A main area of focus is health technology (healthtech); another is Infection Prevention and Control (IPC); both of which will see a significant change in the future as the healthcare industry learns from the pandemic and seeks to improve best practices for future operational efficiencies and potential new crises.

There is a considerable need for more-sustainable processes, as well as better use of data and intuitive digital solutions within healthcare.

There is a considerable need for more-sustainable processes, as well as better use of data and intuitive digital solutions within healthcare

However, the ability to effectively source and present this data in a clean and digestible manner will be a key component in evolving healthtech.

Supporting technological adoptions in IPC

As a result of the pandemic, there has been an enhanced focus on infection prevention and control (IPC), providing many areas of opportunity for technology, whether in the form of better approaches to PPE, effective patient management processes, or smarter use of sensors and data.

This, ultimately, can aid in driving change to make processes more efficient and lower risk as technology provides appropriate solutions when investments are made.

Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs) were already costing the NHS billions, even prior to COVID-19. However, the pandemic has brought many innovative solutions to the forefront of healthcare that have proven effective, not only for COVID-19, but for other pathogens of concern.

Technology companies must learn to adapt and be open to partnerships in order to deliver the kinds of practical solutions that the healthcare industry will want to employ

And these solutions will inevitably drive new future standards, behaviours, and push the adoption of appropriate technology platforms.

Consequently, IPC teams will see air quality management become a key pillar of activity alongside existing water, waste management, and decontamination initiatives.

The importance of technology evolution

It’s clear that infrastructures worldwide have been benefitting greatly from the digital transformation of practices.

Healthcare institutions, as well as the Government and the NHS, have recognised for some time that the adoption of technology could be faster. However, they must achieve a delicate balance between rapid acquisition and rigorous evidence to support technology.

When it comes to digital systems, keeping solutions simple is key. This allows technology to be well integrated so that there are fewer portals covering various solutions and therefore much easier to utilise.

Ideally, these solutions will be on a ‘single pane of glass’ management system, where the multiple sources of data are presented on one unified display.

This, nonetheless, is not always easy to achieve, especially when management teams are unaware that the platform capable of supporting each conceivable function of healthtech solutions exists.

The future of healthcare will continue to enhance, as long as the digital transformation of health technology is appropriately employed

Having an online IPC HUB where key data is stored and accessed through one system has the potential to drive major improvements in infections and control compliance.

Technology companies must learn to adapt and be open to partnerships in order to deliver the kinds of practical solutions that the healthcare industry will want to employ.

What to expect for the future

It is important to use the past few years to fuel future change.

By knowing now how innovative technologies are continually evolving, and understanding the benefits that other industries outside of healthcare are achieving, it is important to also advance the capabilities of health technology.

Refining healthcare data management systems, and incorporating well-integrated smart infrastructure which provides necessary solutions, is paramount for the future development of health.

Allowing old and new systems to communicate with each other will only elevate IPC, and advance healthcare institutions, in order to protect healthcare workers and the society they serve.

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The future of healthcare will continue to enhance, as long as the digital transformation of health technology is appropriately employed.