The future of healthcare could be with us within 10 years. This is according to the Building the Hospital of 2030 report by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, which states that sensors, cameras and robotic scanning devices might make up more of our interactions than with doctors and nurses.

The report features the results of interviews carried out with senior healthcare leaders and futurologists. It explains both the likelihood, and the need, for the healthcare industry to create smarter workplaces that incorporate mobile, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and explores the ways in which this will transform the patient experience and improve clinical care.

The study makes key predictions for how the industry will transform by 2030, including:

Patient self-diagnosis

By using app-based and wearable tools to monitor your health and even carry out your own scans, patients will finally have the ability to self-diagnose a wide number of conditions at home, without needing to visit a surgery or hospital.

“Let’s say you are diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in 10 years’ time. Once you’ve been diagnosed, a lot of the monitoring of how you’re taking your medication could be done without the healthcare system seeing you as frequently. They could track your data in real-time and know if you’re deviating from your recommended diet or treatment plan, then send you a digital nudge on your smartwatch or augmented reality glasses,” said Digital Health Futurist, Maneesh Juneja.

According to the report, these advancements in technology could be vital in supporting ageing populations.

“We’re in for a massive transformation and disruption in the next 5-10 years for two reasons. Firstly, the technology’s changing that fast, and secondly, there’s this massive pressure to get it out there. Because if we don’t, health services are going to fall over,” said UCL Professor, Dr Hugh Montgomery.

The automated hospital

Hospital check-in will feature imaging technology that can assess your heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate from the moment you walk in, followed by sensors that can perform a blood pressure and ECG test within 10 seconds, and lead to an automatic triage or even diagnosis right there and then.

Health professionals double their free time

Doctors and nurses, who are currently spending up to 70% of their time on administrative work, will be able to quickly analyse scans or patient records via their mobile device, freeing up huge amounts of their day to focus on patient care.

Digital data repositories

Devices will automatically integrate with your digital patient records, automatically updating on your condition and treatment, giving caregivers a richer, real-time, readily-accessible data to make better decisions.

Acceptance of AI

As AI starts to play an increasing role in diagnosis and treatments, public support will grow to the extent that you will be willing to be diagnosed by machine – provided that services are designed and implemented around patients, the benefits are explained, and permission is sought.

Discussing the possibilities of AI, Dr Hugh Montgomery said: “Within 10 years, you may be able to essay around 50,000 different blood proteins from a single drop, and make much quicker, or even automatic, diagnoses. That’s radical and in no way happens at the moment. I might get 30 variables, today.”

Digitising and securing the hospital

According to the report, healthcare organisations are already beginning the journey towards digitisation. Aruba’s own research finds that nearly two thirds (64%) of healthcare organisations have begun to connect patient monitors to their network, and 41% are connecting imaging or x-ray devices.

Such measures are the building blocks for an IoT strategy, with potentially millions of interconnected medical, wearable and mobile devices sharing up-to-date information that can be more easily shared and used to provide higher quality care.

However, the approach is currently fraught with risk. 89% of healthcare organisations that have adopted an IoT strategy have experienced an IoT-related data breach. A key challenge for organisations over the course of the next decade will be to share data to strict security rules and to maintain visibility of all devices.

“The rise of digital health services is about improving patient experiences, and increasing accuracy and quality of care. Above all else, that is what we think healthcare providers and members of the public should be excited about,” said EMEA Vice President at Aruba, Morten Illum.

“But data security risk is emerging as one big challenge here. That’s why these changes take time to deploy, and we expect to see healthcare companies partnering with technology providers to negotiate both technological and cultural change in the coming years. With the benefits that are on offer, it is certainly worth the effort,” concluded Illum.

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