HealthTech Meets The Digital Engineering Revolution
Gilroy Mathew, VP, Global Head of Semicon Engineering, UST
The rise of healthtech opens up massive opportunities for semiconductor manufacturers to help build the next generation of healthcare.
Gilroy Mathew, VP, Global Head of Semicon Engineering, UST
The healthcare industry is encountering many changes. But what remains constant is that technology and digital engineering continue revolutionizing how healthcare professionals can provide patient care. Those professionals increasingly use technology for X-rays and examinations, perform surgeries, and deliver medicine and treatments to specific areas of the body.
Advanced technologies can help healthcare professionals connect with and provide care for conditions that have historically been challenging to diagnose and treat. The industry is increasingly adopting technology and best practices from the Industry 4.0 movement, which enables real-time data to make quicker decisions.
Statista predicts digital health revenues will reach $27.8B in 2022.
Given the sensitive nature of patient data, many of these technologies require significant digital engineering to develop the right solution that protects patients' rights while making approved access to the data seamless and near-real-time. The advanced solutions that result from the synergy of technology, product engineering, and healthcare best practices fall under the umbrella of health tech.
What is HealthTech?
HealthTech is anything that includes the use of technology to deliver care more efficiently. Several common services include: virtual or telehealth, data advancements to provide better access to patient history, and new medical products and technologies that enable better automated monitoring and sharing of patient vital signs.
Connected care is a major component of HealthTech. It involves using connected devices and robots to deliver continuous care and monitor patients, both those in the hospital and those healthcare providers connect with remotely.
Importance of technology and digital engineering in the healthcare space
An aging population has spurred the need for rapid advancements in health tech. Americans aged 65 and older will reach 80 million by 2040, and those aged 85 and older will be four times that number. They will depend more on advanced technology to provide best-of-class healthcare. These include in-hospital, home care, and care provided virtually. Especially for the latter, advancements for remote treatment may also require significant digital engineering advancements to ensure the safety and security of the data and devices used.
As the breadth of health tech has expanded, healthcare organizations have more opportunities to lean into advanced solutions that are changing the whole nature of care provided. Let's explore some of these solutions and how digital engineering has helped bring them about.
1. Wearable Devices: Heart rate monitors, ECGs, biosensors, and blood pressure monitors. These technologies help individuals better monitor their health and allow real-time data transmission to healthcare professionals to ensure monitoring of their at-risk patient’s health.
Some technologies can even alert authorities that they need to send an ambulance to assist. These devices are also important components of contact tracing approaches, which can detect if someone has been in contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID or another transmittable virus. Another example is devices like pacemakers that cannot transmit data back to healthcare professionals for preventive care measures.
Digital Engineering: These technologies combine powerful applications that ensure data security which is made possible with digital engineering. It also requires technology to interact with biological materials (e.g., sweat, skin, heartbeats) and translate that into 1s and 0s that humans can understand. The devices need incredible accuracy to identify the right biometric data while transmitting that data securely to approved parties.
2. Electronic Health Records (EHR): As people take greater control over their healthcare, they want the ability to easily access their medical records and make it easier for new providers to get their entire medical history immediately. EHRs enable sharing of specific pieces of patient data including, medical history, diagnostic and lab results, medications taken, allergies, and much more, providing doctors with a frictionless way to access data and make more accurate decisions quicker. It also eliminates data redundancy and the possibility of mis-transcribing, leading to life-threatening adverse effects.
Digital Engineering: Health tech is important for improving healthcare quality and safety. From reducing adverse drug reactions and medication errors to improving compliance to practice guidelines, they impact healthcare in every way. Custom application engineering can help develop complex systems that allow approved parties to get the information they need while preventing unauthorized access to the same.
3. Telehealth: Also known as virtual health, this involves using video conferencing, computers, and devices to connect healthcare professionals with patients in real-time. Telehealth enables healthcare professionals to efficiently consult with more patients and reach out to those who are unable to visit the hospital because of age or illness. Patients who have historically needed the most help but struggled to get it can now benefit from telehealth. It helps expand healthcare to a broader population and improves revenue generation for healthcare providers.
Digital Engineering: Telehealth requires significant engineering of devices and networks to ensure high fidelity and performance of video streams. When it involves something as important as one’s health, lagging streams and dropped calls can create high levels of stress and confusion. With the help of advanced technology stacks, telehealth providers can now label themselves as digital-first, take virtual visits through virtual care platforms and grow at scale.
4. Robot-assisted surgery: Technology can help doctors more effectively treat their patients with more precision. We see its impact on patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery involving small incisions. Robots are helping surgeons overcome the constraints of existing minimally invasive surgical procedures. The process and the technology associated with it will continue to grow in importance as research identifies different ways to extend life and address various conditions.
Digital Engineering: Robot-assisted surgery requires software and hardware components to ensure these finely tuned instruments are focused on the right areas and are making the right incisions. Robots will go a long way to enhance a surgeon's capabilities while performing open surgery. This will become even more important as these technologies become more autonomous and operate without human intervention.
UST collaborates directly with healthcare companies to provide cutting-edge solutions that improve patient care and contribute to the bottom line. We focus on strategic outcomes without depending on specific technology stacks so that we can provide a customized solution for you.
To learn more about how UST helps healthcare providers access advanced digital engineering capabilities, download our whitepaper Next-Gen Engineering: Transformation Across Chip-to-Cloud.