HTN Feature: Tech trends for 2019

We spoke with industry leaders to hear their views on some of the tech trends for 2019.

Orlando Agrippa, CEO, Draper & Dash Healthcare:

In the last year we have experienced a number of exciting changes in the health technology ecosystem. With the start-up community seeing an acceleration in the number of new entrants to the health tech space. We are seeing both healthcare specialist, general technology enthusiast and more importantly patients coming up with innovative solutions to address healthcare challenges.”

We have also seen a number of acquisitions in the healthcare space by large corporates who are determined to maintain an edge through the absorption and integration of new, innovative and nimble solutions. In 2018 the world’s largest single healthcare employer appointed, for the first time in its 70-year history, a health secretary who plans to disrupt healthcare with technology. Matt Hancock is a breath of fresh air to firms which have been trying to drive technology adoption into the NHS for years, that fresh breeze has permeated through the NHS’ corridors as CIOs, CCIOs and Directors of IT celebrate being recognised leaders and the catalyst for health care disruption.

So, what can we expect for 2019? well we can expect a whole lot of wildness. For one we will see many start-ups with unrealistic ideas being forced to pivot to better meet the true demands in healthcare or bow out. One can imagine that there will be a heating up of health tech Venture Capital funding for managers and clinicians leaving healthcare providers to disrupt it. However, my key tech take always are as follows:

  • Stronger Cloud Adoption: 2018 saw a higher adoption of Azure, 2019 will see a lot of usage and development
  • Data Science, Predictive, ML and AI: 2018 saw a lot of investment by private firms as a means of getting ready to sell AI driven solutions. I think in 2019 will see healthcare providers either adopt this from suppliers or build their own.
  • Health IOT: we will see a lot more CIOs wanting to learn about this and how they can leverage the technology, still early adoption.
  • Out of Hospital Technologies: this will be significant for 2019 from more patient centric devices to data driven insights for providers, as catering to out of hospital is poised to grow by 30% in 2019.

Bryn Sage, Chief Executive, Inhealthcare:

Listen up: voice computing will play an increasingly important role in our lives in 2019. This is good news for patients, clinicians and health and care services because it will promote independent living for those with long-term conditions, allow doctors and nurses to focus their efforts on those who need help the most and create much-needed capacity in the health service.

Advances in processing power, internet speed and artificial intelligence mean that we can now interact with devices using natural speech. Smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa are now used in 13 per cent of UK households, according to Ofcom.

The human voice is the most natural way for us to communicate and make ourselves understood. Smart speakers offer a perfect platform to provide nudges and reminders about actions and behaviour and allow us to ask questions about our own health. They also have the potential to reduce the social costs of isolation, which are likely to increase.

We must remember that not everyone is taking part in the digital revolution. Indeed, according to Ofcom, 22 per cent of UK adults do not use a smartphone. This limits their ability to benefit from the social, economic and wellbeing opportunities that come from digital connectivity.

Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, has highlighted Inhealthcare’s use of automated telephony as an important communication channel for deploying digital health services at scale. Vogels points out the telephone is a piece of technology that many people feel comfortable and confident using and nearly everyone can access it, even if they don’t have a smartphone or computer. Which might explain why it endures as one of our most popular communication channels.

From smart speakers to virtual health assistants at the other end of your telephone line, we believe voice computing will really make itself heard in 2019.

Dr Doctor and patient engagement

Here at DrDoctor we believe that the main theme of big tech trends in 2019 is patient engagement. The patient layer will become an increasingly important focus for hospitals. Patient engagement needs to become important for hospitals in terms of their relationship strategy and if they don’t do this they will get left behind. Some specific examples of how this will manifest itself are; the Libre i.e. an electronic blood glucose monitoring device for diabetics which the NHS now provides free of charge. Enabling a wealth of more information coming directly from patients to their doctors for specialties like Diabetes. This means patients will be much more engaged in decision making and actually become active partners in their own care.

But that on it’s own isn’t enough, hospitals need to have a patient engagement strategy where they can then use that data as a basis of starting to work differently.

If hospitals do invest in the patient layer and subsequently have all this data coming in, the final big tech trend will be AI machine learning and how that will start to give us context. From all these data points we have coming in we can start identifying problems before the patients are aware themselves. This way we can start focusing on being more preventative rather than reactive with what is going on. To look at the data in context of a wider health journey of what the patient is going through. Not just looking at that single point of blood sugar level measurement at that time, but how that fits into all the other things that are going on in the patient’s life. These can be things like other stresses, other operations, other co-morbidities, so that we can become much more personalised in the care that we’re providing.

Patients Know Best – The People’s tech revolution for 2019

PKB is the people’s tech revolution. In 2019, patient empowerment and digital health comes into fruition so everyone, no matter who you are or where you live, will be able to experience the benefits of patient-centred digital health.

The platform means that patients are the drivers of their own health outcomes and can get help quickly when they need it, that demand on services is reduced, and that conventional, outdated care pathways are radically reformed

Patients like Liam from Surrey have seen the benefits first hand. At the age of 22, he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – a form of inflammatory bowel disease, causing inflammation of the gut and affecting 1 in every 420 people in the UK.

Liam needs regular support from his specialist team so his future at university, over 70 miles away in Portsmouth, was at risk. However, using PKB, he is managing his condition and remotely keeping in touch with his specialist team in Surrey. He said: “I use it as a quick way to contact the people I need to get in touch with…by early intervention, it allows me to prevent my condition from getting worse and then having to use the other emergency services. Since I have been able to effectively use PKB, I have not been re-admitted to hospital…”

Virtual Smartcards

Of all the new technologies driving efficiency in the NHS, perhaps the most exciting and ground-breaking is the Virtual Smartcard. This new secure service virtualises the physical NHS Smartcard into a cloud service platform and allows clinicians to authenticate and access their clinical apps without a physical card, yet retaining total security over identity protection and management.

Tom Davidson, IT Director, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust “Isosec and the Virtual Smartcard solution has solved a huge problem for us and actually has directly impacted positively on patient care.”

With system and identity security being a hot topic for the year ahead, Isosec are working closely with NHS Digital to ensure that the Virtual Smartcard meets all compliance regulations to allow Trust customers peace of mind. Isosec also provide solutions for Password Reset Self Service (for Windows) and will be announcing a new Single Sign On (SSO) solution for the NHS to be available from early 2019.

Inventory management

Ingenica Solutions anticipates inventory management solutions will support healthcare providers with their back office and where organisations wish to secure economies of scale and collaborate; Ingenica’s solutions work at the group level/STP level and beyond can support them.

Pre-op Assessment

There are 10 million procedures such as operations and endoscopies performed in the NHS each year. Pre-procedure assessments are generally paper-based, time consuming and costly. A Department of Health Digital QIPP study predicted £65M per annum could be saved if electronic preoperative assessments are used.

Over 5000 patients have successfully used MyPreOp® in commercial trials in the NHS.

Ultramed will be starting 2019 with their first full implementation contract, with Ashford and St Peters Hospitals. The Clinical Service Manager for Theatres, Critical Care, Resus and POAC, Den Hallett said: “We are very excited about introducing MyPreOp® into the Trust and are really looking forward to working with the team and getting the most out of MyPreOp® to improve our patient and nursing experience. There are lots of opportunities with using MyPreOp® and we look forward to developing these to get the best from the patient pathway.”