How is technology impacting healthcare and life sciences?
The impact of digital technologies is being felt in nearly every industry around the world, and healthcare and life sciences are no exception. With the advancement of technology accelerating and the costs of software and hardware plummeting – it’s no surprise that the role of tech in healthcare is set to increase in the coming years.
So what are the areas you should expect to see growing within the healthcare and life sciences industry?
How will Artificial Intelligence have an impact on healthcare and life science?
AI has enormous potential for the healthcare and life sciences industry, with machine learning technology poised to radicalise how the market operates. Increasingly intelligent machines can access, interpret and process R&D data that has previously been siloed, allowing for greater personalisation across the industry. This enables researchers to better understand biological information, in turn helping them to develop more targeted – and effective – therapies.
We can expect to see automation play a bigger part in drug discovery and development processes, with smart machines learning how to complete routine knowledge work in order to free up human experts for value-added work.
Automation can be used to hit key stages – such as hypothesis to target, target to hit – faster, saving time and money for life science organisations. Already we’ve seen Oxford researchers develop AI to diagnose scans for heart disease and lung cancer, and connected devices being used in the homes of patients the world over to feed their data through to care practitioners, creating better monitoring environments and earlier interventions.
Blockchain’s global impact on life science and healthcare
Blockchain’s use in life sciences and healthcare can lead to enhanced collaboration, traceability, trust and auditability, according to Deloitte, with the data sharing and authentication technology touching functions including clinical trials, claims processing, supply chain management and financial transactions.
Blockchain will also have an impact on handling identity, allowing electronic health records to be combined into a single patient record that is shared system-wide without the loss of privacy or security. This will give patients full access to their own data and introduce a less fragmented system of tracking information across different providers.
Blockchain can work alongside other technologies, including wearables, to securely collect detailed, real-time medical information from patients that can then be timestamped and made immutable.
Blockchain has enormous potential when it comes to streamlining and enhancing communication in the entire life sciences and healthcare ecosystem, but this relies on the adoption and trust of stakeholders – including healthcare professionals, drug developers and patients themselves.
The benefits of Virtual and Augmented Reality in healthcare and life sciences
Augmented and virtual reality have numerous practical applications within life sciences, most obviously when it comes to allowing patients and professionals to visualise and practice situations in a ‘real world’ setting.
Immersive AR and VR tools are already going beyond simple gameplay to more practical, progressive applications. AR and VR technologies will allow people to explore ‘what-if’ scenarios and practice new techniques in a digital reality.
From a consumer perspective, digital reality can be used to assist patients to carry out exercise and therapy programmes in the comfort of their own homes. Meanwhile, such technology can help surgeons to prepare for and perform surgery, with German company ApoQlar developing a Virtual Surgery Intelligence tool to render MRI and CT images in 3D.
So what does this mean for candidates?
The innovation of technology is already beginning to touch so many different parts of healthcare and life sciences it’s clear anyone working within or looking to break into this industry must have a willingness to adapt and take digital developments onboard.
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