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5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

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5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

5 Ways Tech is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

Whether it’s information-sharing between patients and doctors or aiding in a high-risk surgery, it’s clear that dynamic applications of technology are well underway in disrupting the healthcare industry.

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Today’s infographic from the Online Medical Care highlights healthcare areas where tech is breaking barriers. Here are five ways that technology is impacting the sector, ranging from AI to nanomedicine:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will have a dramatic impact on many industries, and healthcare is no exception.

A large share of healthcare executives are already applying artificial intelligence in their operations, with data showing plans to increase budgets last year.

Healthcare uses of AIAdoption (2017)Adoption (2018E)
Clinical decision support46%59%
Population health33%46%
Disease management29%42%
Re-admissions33%41%
Medical costs / health plan21%38%
Patient safety and quality25%33%
Supply chain management13%21%
Cancer care4%12%

As the technology becomes more developed and widespread, it’s expected that AI could help diagnose strokes, eye disease, heart disease, skin cancer, and other conditions.

Virtual Healthcare

Also known as telehealth or telemedicine, virtual healthcare allows patients and doctors to touch base remotely using technology such as video conferencing or mobile apps. Many patients are also becoming comfortable using wearable technology to monitor any changes in their health – and sharing that data with their physicians.

Convenience, ease of use, and travel times to their closest doctor are main reasons why patients choose virtual care. On the flip side, many are concerned about the quality of care, or fear a loss of a personal connection with a doctor.

If all patients chose virtual healthcare over face-to-face visits, it could save the U.S. health system $7 billion annually – while the time savings would “free up” the equivalent of 37,000 doctors.

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is rapidly evolving field which controls individual atoms and molecules at the extremely minute “nanoscale” of 1 to 100 nanometers. To put that into perspective, a single newspaper sheet is about 100,000 nm thick.

Nanomedicine is mainly used to effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent various diseases. Compared to conventional medicines, it’s much better at precise targeting and delivery systems, paving the way towards combating complex conditions such as cancer.

The global nanomedicine market could be worth over $350 billion by 2025.

Virtual Reality

Although it’s normally been associated with entertainment, virtual reality is making waves in healthcare as well. The multi-sensory, immersive experience that VR provides can benefit both physicians and patients:

  • Healthcare worker training
    VR can be used to train surgeons in a realistic and low-risk simulated environment.
  • Physical and mental health
    VR offers therapeutic potential and rehabilitation for acute pain and anxiety disorders.

VR is thus considered a cost-effective and efficient tool for both teaching and treatment, and the VR healthcare services market is expected to grow from $8.9 million in 2017 to an expected $285 million in 2022.

3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its debut, especially in its uses in the healthcare industry. The technology offers faster prototypes, creating everything from personalized prosthetics to “poly-pills” at a fraction of the cost.

The customizable aspect of 3D printing is revolutionizing organ transplants and tissue repair, and it’s even able to produce realistic skin for burn victims.

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Last but certainly not least, robotic surgery is sweeping through hospitals. It allows doctors to perform delicate and complex procedures that might be otherwise impossible.

Typically, surgeons control a device with a camera and mechanical arms, giving them a high-def view of the surgical site. According to the Mayo Clinic, this method generally:

  • Enhances precision, flexibility, and control
  • Comes with fewer complications such as infections
  • Results in less obvious scars as it is minimally invasive

While technological adoption into the medical field doesn’t come without challenges, the value is clear – and we’ve barely scratched the surface of tech-driven possibilities in the healthcare industry.

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Visualizing AI Patents by Country

See which countries have been granted the most AI patents each year, from 2012 to 2022.

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Visualizing AI Patents by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This infographic shows the number of AI-related patents granted each year from 2010 to 2022 (latest data available). These figures come from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), accessed via Stanford University’s 2024 AI Index Report.

From this data, we can see that China first overtook the U.S. in 2013. Since then, the country has seen enormous growth in the number of AI patents granted each year.

YearChinaEU and UKU.S.RoWGlobal Total
20103071379845711,999
20115161299805812,206
20129261129506602,648
20131,035919706272,723
20141,278971,0786673,120
20151,7211101,1355393,505
20161,6211281,2987143,761
20172,4281441,4891,0755,136
20184,7411551,6741,5748,144
20199,5303223,2112,72015,783
202013,0714065,4414,45523,373
202121,9076238,2197,51938,268
202235,3151,17312,07713,69962,264

In 2022, China was granted more patents than every other country combined.

While this suggests that the country is very active in researching the field of artificial intelligence, it doesn’t necessarily mean that China is the farthest in terms of capability.

Key Facts About AI Patents

According to CSET, AI patents relate to mathematical relationships and algorithms, which are considered abstract ideas under patent law. They can also have different meaning, depending on where they are filed.

In the U.S., AI patenting is concentrated amongst large companies including IBM, Microsoft, and Google. On the other hand, AI patenting in China is more distributed across government organizations, universities, and tech firms (e.g. Tencent).

In terms of focus area, China’s patents are typically related to computer vision, a field of AI that enables computers and systems to interpret visual data and inputs. Meanwhile America’s efforts are more evenly distributed across research fields.

Learn More About AI From Visual Capitalist

If you want to see more data visualizations on artificial intelligence, check out this graphic that shows which job departments will be impacted by AI the most.

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