A safer, smarter future for health
Driverless ambulances, virtual reality medical consultations, treatment plans designed by algorithms, and medicines delivered by drones: it is a future here and now.
A procession of reports has highlighted the benefits of digital technology across the health spectrum, with one suggesting that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could halve medical costs by providing faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment plans.
Doctors can now track their patients remotely and co-ordinate complex care plans via their computers rather than by phone calls, letters, or scrambling through filing cabinets for frayed folders of patient records.
The digital promise
The digital promise is that physicians will be able to see more patients, provide swifter diagnoses, and handle follow ups via SMS and email messaging to reduce unnecessary visits to clinics and hospitals.
Patients continue to trust doctors over technology
Harnessing all the technology coming on stream will also tilt the healthcare dynamic towards prevention and reduce the mounting disease burden.
However, while clinicians yearn for advanced methods to ease their workloads, the public remains wary of perceived dangers from allowing micro-processors rather than human hands to orchestrate their care.
Trends and statistics: It's all about trust
• The Future of Health Index survey, recently published by Philips, pegs ‘trust’ in current health systems at a worrying 54 percent yet only 11 percent, would be prepared to consult a hologram doctor powered by AI.
• A study by consultants Accenture also found that respondents placed the highest levels of trust in their doctors and lowest in wearable technology and health apps.
• Successive IT failures and cyberattacks have also unsettled the public. The WannaCry ransomware assault in May 2017 hit 150 countries and paralyzed computers across 47 NHS Trusts, leading to cancelled operations and people being turned away from Accident and Emergency units. Healthcare data attacks are rising – research put the growth at 300 per cent over the last three years – and last year a hacker under the name ‘TheDarkOverlord’ offered more than 650,000 patients’ healthcare records for sale on the Dark Web.
Need of secure systems
These gloomy trends and statistics can be cleared by the advent of a golden opportunity to recalibrate care fueled by the rise of wearable technology – from gadget status to a €20 billion global business – and the number of smartphone users rising to 6.1 billion globally by 2020. They can plug into a swarm of innovations that can rescue straining healthcare systems from the financial doom of caring for ageing populations with chronic conditions. However, the urgent need across healthcare is clearly for secure systems that can help clinicians access the technology that makes a difference. Digital expert Dr. Paul Tunnah, CEO of content and communications company pharmaphorum, believes the public and providers also have to adopt a new mindset to accept technology’s potency to create better work models and reduce service time and costs.
Protecting devices in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
That convergence may not be too distant, with a McKinsey report revealing that 75 percent of patients expect to use digital services in the future. Integrated protection systems, such as G+D’s award-winning Secure Medical Visibility system, which shields hospitals and GPs from cyberattack, are already working effectively and promoting public confidence. The company also operates a smart patient card that manages their data through the healthcare ecosystem and ensures their information is secure and can only be accessed with their permission.
... to give patients the confidence to use emerging medical devices, manufacturers need to address the cybersecurity risks during the initial requirements engineering and design time ...«
A paper by Kevin Fu, associate professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Archimedes Center for Medical Device Security, highlighted the need for security at every point in a healthcare cycle, concluding:
“In order to give patients the confidence to use emerging medical devices, manufacturers need to address the cybersecurity risks during the initial requirements engineering and design time, then continue post-market surveillance through the product lifecycle.”
The doctor of the future has a new medical bag to use but it can only be fully unlocked when the public is confident that their data is safe. That challenge is being met successfully by many companies but healthcare systems must now invest in secure IT to thwart cyberattackers and ensure patients and physicians can reap the rewards.
G+D supports digital health
Bringing its long expertise in securing critical infrastructures to the healthcare sector, G+D not only helps institutions in their race to build up cyber security, its modular solution enables secure IoMT connectivity for both new devices and retrofits.
Taking a lock-and-key approach, G+D smart health cards secure the identities of patients, health professionals, and pharmacists. And it offers a powerful Card Application Managing System for card issuers to manage them.