Technology driving women health in 2021

Every day, 830 women die from complications resulting from pregnancy or childbirth (based on 2015 data).

Just as the mobile phone and solar energy have allowed developing nations to leap-frog into more advanced stages of technology, advances in medical technology can provide easy access to maternal and women’s healthcare in poor and rural areas around the world, particularly in developing countries like India.

Every day, 830 women die from complications resulting from pregnancy or childbirth (based on 2015 data). The vast majority of these deaths are preventable and occur in regions that lack access to basic resources. Maternal mortality rates are significantly higher in African countries, South and Southeast Asia, and parts of Latin America.

In other words, the medical technology to prevent these deaths exists, but primarily in wealthier nations. As recent reports reflect, technological innovations are broadening access for women in poor countries to often life-saving diagnostic procedures, particularly for cancer, but also for other health needs. While not a silver bullet, these innovations can help reduce improve women's health in ways that are quite meaningful.

Cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence is also being used to advance women’s health. Researchers at Lehigh University developed an AI algorithm to help recognize cervical dysplasia, replacing pricey equipment needed to run traditional tests like Pap smears and HPV tests. Of women diagnosed with cervical cancer, 80 percent of them live in developing countries, where preventive screenings are rare. Lehigh University’s algorithm can provide screenings at extremely low costs and save lives.

However the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented — and in some cases permanent — changes to healthcare delivery. A strong, technology-driven response to address urgent needs will have positive implications that last beyond the current health crisis, giving patients and providers new options for preventive care and better connectivity.

More importantly, telehealth’s growth appears likely to continue even after the pandemic is over. 71% of patients in India considered telemedicine at the beginning of the pandemic, and 50% had already utilized virtual appointments. With telehealth already rising in popularity in the previous year, the pandemic will have a major boost to the industry’s development. This boom in telehealth seems likely to break $185.6 billion by 2026.

The most important aspect of telehealth’s success is patient adoption. Since most patients are comfortable with telehealth solutions, it’s clear that the industry has a strong future.

Some other trends that will drive Healthcare for women in 2021 –

Trend #1: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence plays a critical role in the fight against COVID-19, including areas like pandemic detection, vaccine development, thermal screening, facial recognition with masks, and analyzing CT cans.

Trend #2: The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Various devices and mobile apps have come to play a critical role in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses for many patients and their doctors. By combining IoT development with telemedicine and telehealth technologies, a new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has emerged. This approach includes the use of a number of wearables, including ECG and EKG monitors. Many other common medical measurements can also be taken, such as skin temperature, glucose level, and blood pressure readings.

By 2025, the IoT industry will be worth $6.2 trillion. The healthcare industry has become so reliant on IoT technology in 2020 that 30% of that market share for IoT devices will come from healthcare.

Connectivity issues are also still common, as the collection of data by microcontrollers and smartphones can be disrupted by a number of factors in the environment.

Trend #3: Privacy Issues

Privacy is an extremely important issue in health technology, especially with regards to HIPAA compliance in 2020.

Trend #4: AR/VR/MR in Healthcare

Virtual and augmented reality are both important technologies with great potential to enhance the quality of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. From enhancing patient and provider visits to helping educate medical students in procedure simulations, this technology is turning science fiction into reality. AR and VR technology shows promise for helping stroke victims overcome motor deficiencies.

Trend #5: Blockchain

One of the greatest benefits of blockchain in healthcare technology is interoperability. Through public-private key methods there is greater integrity in the use of healthcare information. An example of this would be that a specialist providing a consultation can be granted access to information quickly through a secure system that all parties are using. The flexibility of anonymity can be controlled so that patients can opt into providing data for research purposes.

Trend #6: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare

This trend has great potential for improving healthcare technology in 2020 and 2021. Artificial intelligence with information processing and decision-making similar to humans open up many possibilities. This technology can improve precision, speed, and efficiency of diagnoses. Early treatment can be achieved through AI-driven analytics that can help healthcare providers find the right approach for a given patient. Through machine learning algorithms, drug development can be improved by advancing the search for chemical and biological interactions. This will help bring new pharmaceuticals to market quicker.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science are essential trends depicting the future of healthcare for women.

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