Emerging Technologies

Assess Emerging Technologies, Involve the Users and Build the Future

A patient in this century will be an active player in our future healthcare system, expecting high-quality care, fast access and a high level of involvement. It will be essential to meet the patient as an individual and expert in their own health, allowing for debate and critical opinions about treatment and access. With this, patients will be demanding and expecting to be part of decision-making and to influence their own health pathway.

These are relevant and important issues that will help drive the future development of healthcare, and place great demands on healthcare and clinicians. Rethinking ways of delivering healthcare is a major ongoing issue and the use of emerging technologies can be one way to success, but it’s not without its pitfalls.

Emerging Technologies and New Possibilities

Watch Roxie Mooney, CEO and commercial strategist at Legacy DNA, talk with HIMSS TV about why health tech innovators should include patients in their development process.

Over the past decades, the healthcare system has seen a significant increase in technologies in the field of health, and still more and more technologies are finding their way into healthcare. The development and application of new technology helps meet some of the healthcare challenges and ensures patients better access to care, better transparency and more empowerment.

There is interest from both patients and clinicians to have access to the newest technologies in healthcare, like telemedicine. Telemedicine and in-home monitoring offer the opportunity to come up with entirely new ways of treating patients while actively involving the patients. New and more advanced technologies are also finding their way into hospitals such as drones, advanced sensors and AI—signaling a trend toward integrating digital health tools from hospitals into everyday care and vice versa.

How to Choose

With increasingly more and more technology and data finding its way into healthcare, it is important to be able to access and choose the right solution for the right problem. How do we use the amount of data and information in the right way to support clinicians and to improve quality of care? How do we avoid data that is not needed and stay focused on the valuable data?

The validation of advanced algorithms will be a key issue in the future, and validation and transparency will be essential. Not all new technologies are as good as promised: some are too expensive, some do not solve the problem and others are not reliable. It is essential for hospitals to access and evaluate emerging technologies in a systematic way to ensure value for patients, clinicians and their healthcare system.

Finding the Right Solution for the Right Problem

Emerging technologies can be studied and evaluated in many different ways. The number of both new technologies and studies has increased and a considerable amount of money has been invested in this area.

However, high-quality assessment of these technologies is needed for decision-makers to choose the most valuable and cost-effective solutions. In 2010, a European Commission project developed a model for assessment of telemedicine—the MAST model.

MAST is an evidence-based method which contains a multidisciplinary assessment based upon seven domains. The seven domains in the MAST model are:

  1. Health problems and the characteristics of the application
  2. Safety
  3. Clinical effectiveness
  4. Patient perspectives
  5. Economic aspects
  6. Organisational aspects
  7. Socio-cultural, ethical and legal aspects

This model can be used to support developers when creating new technologies for hospital use. It can also help hospitals assess emerging technologies and support the decisions of choosing the right solution for the right problem.

It is important to involve patients and clinicians throughout the process of developing new technology, assessing the technology and implementing the technology. Organizations that master this process and encourage changes, and the use of new technology—in staff, patients and management—will build the future in healthcare.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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