The future of digital health

Tim Ng, Chief Operating Officer, Now Healthcare Group.

The future of digital health

2018 is set to be an explosive time for the Digital Health Industry as it is probably one of the fastest and most innovative sectors in the world today.

It is the next battleground for the tech giants with Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and others focusing their financial might and muscle on digital health platforms and solutions.

Technology enables us to live longer and healthier lives - from surgical robots to the internet of things in smart hospitals and smart cities to AI and chatbots.

Digital health is disrupting patient care in new and exciting ways – this is being recognized by national health bodies such as the NHS (here in the UK with their 2020 vision) and the Hong Kong Health Authority with their transformation initiatives and the Hong Kong smart cities program to name but two countries.

Telemedicine is now ensconced in our psyche but with the advent of AI technologies, there will be a move towards gatekeeper technologies and health assistants that will look at symptoms and be able to either diagnose or signpost to other health professionals such as specialist nurses or consultants.

Cloud platforms are being utilized to mine patient data using Big Data technologies, with companies like Google Deepmind Health leading the way along with IBM Watson Paths.

The power and flexibility of the cloud will have a major impact on the new emerging trends in digital health – making predictive analytics possible for everyone.

Healthcare patients in the UK frequently face delays and cancellations, leaving people unseen or unattended to, but here at Now Healthcare Group we can apply AI to our apps to relieve some of that strain.

Chatbots have been leading the way with many claiming to have an AI chatbots which will enable patients to interact with them and diagnose themselves.

In reality, most if not all of these ‘AIs’ are essentially just decision tree-based algorithms claiming to be AI.

Over the course of 2018, I predict chatbots will become proactive and more intuitive with more empathetic chatbots providing wellbeing advice and information.

Wellbeing initiatives are being looked at by many insurance providers – healthier people means fewer claims and therefore better returns for the company.

Pharma AI is also proving to be exciting with major steps being made using AI in the discovery of new medicines and biotech.

There are companies out there that are using AI to discover new ways that existing medicines can be used to help treat other illnesses they were not originally designed for.

We also cannot forget virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies which are being incorporated into digital healthcare and systems along with AI.

Some claim to want to replace the health professional. At Now Healthcare, we believe in augmenting and supporting healthcare professionals with our AI and technology strategies.