Digital acceleration refers to the integration of technological advancements designed to improve performance and keep pace with the current demands. In healthcare informatics, there are several choices that hospitals can utilize to improve their value propositions and achieve competitive advantage. The healthcare informatics sector is inseparable from technological advancements due to its impact on informatics operations. Therefore, technology has become vital in accelerating the improvement of healthcare informatics. Digital acceleration impacts healthcare informatics by adopting artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing and nanotechnology.
How Digital Acceleration Impacts Healthcare Informatics
Artificial intelligence refers to technology that leverages machines to mimic the human cognitive process of problem-solving and decision-making capabilities. AI is the most disruptive technological innovation in healthcare due to the ever-changing demand for handling vast amounts of unstructured data and solving complex problems. As a result, the AI healthcare market is expected to grow from $667 million in 2016 to $7,988 million by 2022 (University of Illinois Chicago, 2018). There are various ways AI technology is impacting healthcare informatics through the integration of AI companies into healthcare. For example, Google Deep Mind Health builds mobile tools and AI that mine medical data designed to improve how hospitals and healthcare professionals deliver healthcare to patients. AI also reduces research time by analyzing vast amounts of chemical compounds to optimize the discovery of effective compounds. In addition, AI helps in the accurate discovery and development of drugs by identifying effective pre-clinical drug candidates.
Robotics is the design, development and use of robotic machines in healthcare. The robotic machines are used to perform partial or fully automated cognitive and physical functions. The robotics market revenue is estimated at $2.6 billion in 2021. Robotics influence health informatics through autonomous data collection and providing accurate and continual data for health informatics, especially in surgical departments. For example, the da Vinci surgical system utilizes minimally invasive surgical instruments and high-definition visuals to enhance accuracy and control. Robotics also affect health informatics in drug delivery and patient management.
Cloud computing enables access and delivery of computing resources over the internet. The resources include servers’ storage, data governance, data stewardship, analytics and networking. Healthcare informatics relies on access to patient’s electronic health records. Electronic health records have led to the influx of patient medical and health data; thus, health informatics is crucial since it manages the data and makes it accessible to healthcare professionals. Cloud computing enables the safe and affordable storage of data with portable access to health informatics professionals. Cloud computing affects healthcare informatics by enabling high volume data storage that lowers costs and enables real-time information sharing for healthcare professionals, especially in disasters. In addition, cloud computing enables remote patient monitoring and telehealth, thus improving patient care (Alotaibi & Federico, 2017). Cloud computing also enables faster data sharing, thus improving medical research since it helps analysts access data from multiple fields.
Nanotechnology is the study of molecular structure. Nanomedicine applies nanotechnology to develop accurate tools to advance medical research in the prevention and treatment of diseases. For example, Nanomedicine utilizes nanorobots for drug delivery and patient monitoring through injection into the patient’s bloodstream. Nanomedicine is also used to improve blood circulation and deliver sensitive imaging and diagnosis, especially in cancer patients. In addition, Nanomedicine impacts healthcare informatics by integrating complex data and smart drug delivery, especially in cancer research (University of Illinois Chicago, 2018). For example, the National Cancer Institute Biomedical Informatics Grid has ongoing collaborative research for sharing cancer research data.
Effect of Digital Acceleration on Healthcare Informatics
Digital acceleration’s long-term effect on healthcare informatics is inevitable since it is the main driving force behind recent healthcare innovations. Digitalization has changed the way professionals in the health industry approach the idea of healthcare. Technology will have a major role to play in the health informatics sector through data collection, research and treatments. Technology is favored to potentially solve some of healthcare’s biggest issues indicating its futuristic importance to the industry.
There will be positive long-term effects of digital acceleration to healthcare professionals and patients regarding healthcare informatics. Patients will receive improved and accessible treatments since technology provides several platforms for exploration and research leading to more effective healthcare options. Patients will also receive improved care and efficiency exacerbated by the real-time data collection and comparison with the updated electronic records leading to accurate diagnosis (Kraus, Schiavone, Pluzhnikova, & Invernizzi, 2021). The efficiency level will also improve since all data, such as lab results and records of vital signs, are centralized. The centralized data also help make medical breakthroughs faster. In addition, the integration of cloud computing will help organizations such as World Health Organizations classify illnesses through signs and symptoms into codes. This allows healthcare professionals to retrieve and use the data to fight and control diseases such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The continued digitalization of healthcare informatics will also help ease physicians’ burden as some of the processes will be performed by robotic machines, thus improving precision.
Alotaibi, Y. K., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi medical journal, 38(12), 1173–1180. https://doi.org/10.15537/smj.2017.12.20631
Kraus, S., Schiavone, F., Pluzhnikova, A., & Invernizzi, A. C. (2021). Digital transformation in healthcare: Analyzing the current state-of-research. Journal of Business Research, 123, 557-567. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.10.030
University of Illinois Chicago. (2018, December 6). 5 Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Health Informatics – Health Informatics Online Masters | Nursing & Medical Degrees. Health Informatics Online Masters | Nursing & Medical Degrees. https://healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/5-emerging-technologies-and-their-impact-on-health-informatics/