Top Healthcare Technology Trends to Watch in 2024

Greetings, health enthusiasts! As we step into the promising landscape of 2024, the healthcare sector is undergoing a transformative evolution, thanks to cutting-edge technologies. From AI-powered diagnostics to regulatory controls and patient-doctor communication, this year holds the promise of groundbreaking innovations that will reshape the healthcare services experience. Let’s delve into the top healthcare technology trends poised to make waves in 2024.

1. More practical use of AI

AI continues to revolutionize healthcare, but it will come down to the practicality of AI use cases in healthcare. In 2024, it is taking center stage in diagnostics. Advanced machine learning algorithms are now capable of analyzing complex medical data, aiding in quicker and more accurate disease detection. From interpreting medical imaging to predicting potential health risks based on patient data, AI is enhancing diagnostic precision and speeding up treatment plans. Following the explosive popularity in 2023, generative AI continues to be a major trend this year. It will not only transform doctor-patient communication but also how patients relate to health issues. In radiology, Microsoft’s research, titled “Exploring the Boundaries of GPT-4 in Radiology” suggests a promising future for GPT-4. The study reveals that GPT-4’s outputs in radiology reports are found to be overall comparable with existing manually written impressions. Examples where GPT-4 findings summaries are favored over existing manually written ones on the Open-i dataset. In both examples, GPT-4 outputs are more faithful and provide more complete details on the findings.

Examples where GPT-4 findings summaries are favored over existing manually written ones on the Open-i dataset. In both examples, GPT-4 outputs are more faithful and provide more complete details on the findings.

In the healthcare sector, beyond GPT, there’s another noteworthy example—Large Language Models (LLM). Med-PaLM, a Google research project specifically designed for the medical domain. It is a generative AI technology that utilizes Google’s LLMs to answer medical questions. 
Med-PaLM Overview
  The research published on Nature reveals that Med-PaLM provided long-form answers aligned with scientific consensus on 92.6% of questions submitted, which is in line with clinician-generated answers at 92.9%. While detailed analysis indicates areas where Med-PaLM can enhance its performance, the overall results are notably impressive. This is only the beginning of the rise of AI in healthcare and it is going from hype to reality where benefits are becoming tangible. In the foreseeable future, we can expect that AI will become the first point of contact with healthcare systems, the background doctor-patient interaction, and the assistant along clinical workflow.

2. The Year of Regulations and Policies

It becomes obvious that AI will play a huge role in healthcare technology in 2024. The regulations and ethics inevitably become the next concern. This year AI regulations and ethical guidelines will be a trend to watch. According to MIT Technology Review, the European Union has recently approved the AI Act, marking the world’s inaugural comprehensive AI law. This development indicates that 2024 is ready to be a bustling year for the AI sector as it readies itself to adhere to these novel regulations. Besides the regulations, ISO/IEC 42001:2023– AI Standard on Establishing, Maintaining and Improving AI Management Systems has recently been published on December 18th, 2023. The influence of both the AI Act and the newly introduced AI management systems standard indicates a changing landscape, emphasizing the growing significance of responsible AI practices.

Ethical Issues 

While AI has gained widespread adoption in the healthcare sector, a report  reveals that 60% of patients express discomfort with providers relying on AI for their healthcare. This hesitation stems from concerns regarding data privacy, potential biases, and the lack of transparency in AI decision-making processes. Forbes acknowledges AI’s potential to advance diagnostic precision and enhance patient outcomes. However, there is a critical need to address the ethical implications of AI’s integration into sensitive areas like patient care and data handling.

AI and Cybersecurity

The rise of AI always brings along security concerns. A significant challenge in integrating AI into healthcare is the vulnerability of medical data to cyber threats. Therefore, emphasizing the intersection of AI and cybersecurity is crucial for safeguarding the security and privacy of patient information. IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report reveals that the average costs of a studied breach in healthcare reached nearly $11 million in 2023 – a 53% price increase since 2020. 

3. More Focus on Health Data and interoperability

Although health data management is nothing new, it is reaching a critical juncture in 2024, with health informatics gaining importance alongside the rise of AI benefits. While most hospitals have adopted Electronic Health Records (EHR), the challenge lies in the interconnection of the existing proprietary closed systems. Today, clinicians still have to manually integrate siloed data from various devices and systems. To fully leverage AI and automation, interconnecting devices and systems is much needed. Despite historical challenges, healthcare providers are considering updating EHRs and legacy systems to meet the growing demand from patients. Therefore, we are likely to see a comeback of EHR as a trend for this year.

4. Healthcare service shifts towards Value-based Care

The healthcare landscape continues to evolve. These days, a traditional fee-for-service model raises a lot of challenges for being reactive rather than proactive,  for the cost and effectiveness of care especially in this persisting increased healthcare costs. The market forces the healthcare service providers to shift towards value-based care, focusing on the patient outcome while maintaining cost effectiveness, engagement, and evidence-based care. Instead of waiting for patient appointments, healthcare providers may have a holistic view of the patient and reach out to them to help them better cope with their chronic diseases through community health workers. To sustain the healthcare system overall, it is crucial to also manage and balance healthcare resources and personnel as clinicians and nurses are being asked to do more with less. They have to handle more complex billing, coverage, and reimbursement  schemes, loads of documentation burden, while maintaining high quality care despite an ongoing doctor shortage problem. Embracing technology, such as AI, becomes essential in alleviating the administrative burden on clinicians, enabling them to dedicate more time to interpersonal care and communication. As we navigate 2024, these trends are set to redefine healthcare, offering innovative solutions to longstanding challenges and improving patient outcomes. Stay tuned for a year of exciting developments in health technology!
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