In October of 2018, the Cleveland Clinic announced its top trends for the medical industry for the coming year. Using its annual Medical Innovation Summit as the forum for the announcement, the top trends for 2019 were identified by a panel of experts in the field, led by the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Michael Roizen.
While there were few surprises on the list of medical trends, the majority of the trends identified were related to improvements in medical technology and equipment. It’s fair to say that most trends are being driven by high-tech discoveries and enhancements. Here are the top trends in the medical industry for 2019.
Fighting the opioid crisis with alternative pain management
It’s very understandable that alternative methods for pain management would come to the forefront, since the opioid crisis has been declared a public emergency. Pharmacogenomic testing will be used more in 2019 to avoid adverse reactions, to eliminate ineffective and unnecessary prescriptions and to predict which patients will derive little or no pain relief from opiate-based analgesics. Pharmacogenomics will also allow doctors to customize pain medication therapy for patients.
Increased usage of AI in healthcare
The increased usage of artificial intelligence (AI) will be in the areas of decision-support, patient triage and image analysis. AI is already helping physicians make better decisions during care; removing the uncertainty of viewing patient scans and taking advantage of machine learning to focus on problem areas and images. AI can also provide a great deal of help by quickly evaluating mountains of data within an electronic medical records system.
Increased window for stroke intervention
Everyone is aware of how critical it is to enact a timely response when a stroke is in progress. Previously, the intervention period for a stroke has been limited to a specific amount of time but new guidelines in 2019 will recommend expanding the window of intervention for treating strokes. This could make a huge difference in saving brain tissue for affected patients.
Better medical education using virtual reality
Virtual reality and mixed reality programs will provide simulation training that can increase the skill level of medical personnel because of its immersive learning style. By creating simulated and hybrid environments for medical personnel from which to learn, these kinds of reality systems will be used much more widely to enhance the skills of medical professionals.
Patient products generated by 3-D printing
In 2019, medical devices will be matched much more precisely to a patient’s personal specifications by using 3-D printing technology. Because these devices will be much more compatible with a patient’s anatomy, they will be more readily accepted by the body and will allow for greater comfort and improved performance. The greatest area of impact is likely to be felt in the production of prosthetics for patients.
Immunotherapy advances in cancer treatment
Biologic therapy or cancer immunotherapy makes use of the body’s immune system to effectively fight cancer. While these have existed for several years now, a great many additional discoveries are cropping up all the time and scientists are devising new cancer treatments which make use of new immunotherapeutic targets and biomarkers almost daily.
Robotic surgery improvements
Robots used in operating rooms already provide surgeons with critical guidance when extreme precision is necessary. By using minimally invasive robotic surgeries, patients are enjoying the benefits of shorter recovery times and less discomfort after surgery. Constant advancements in the area of robotic surgery have led to improved outcomes and in 2019 this trend will continue.
A number of RNA-based therapies are being explored, for instance in neurologic diseases, cancer and genetic diseases such as Huntington’s disease. RNA-based therapies have already shown tremendous potential for interfering with genetic data at the level of ribonucleic acid (RNA) so a patient’s genetic abnormality can be intercepted before it gets translated into functioning proteins.
Heart valve replacement and repair
Heart surgery is a good deal more sophisticated now than it was years ago, with many surgeries being performed by a catheter which is inserted under the skin. Two types of cardiac surgery in particular, those which replace the mitral and tricuspid valves, have demonstrated positive outcomes in recent surgical attempts. These successes will be built upon and it is likely that a great many similar surgeries will be performed in 2019.
Rapid diagnosis of hemorrhagic strokes
New and advanced technologies are available now for the diagnosis of hemorrhagic strokes, in which blood escapes into the brain from a ruptured blood vessel. The hemorrhagic scanning visor can quickly detect any kind of bleeding in the brain and speeds up diagnosis so that treatment can promptly be undertaken.
Keeping up with these trends requires investments in technology, personnel, training and more. If your medical practice is finding it challenging to know where to start – or how to move to the next level – Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, can help. We have developed The Administrative Advantage MSO®, a Management Services Organization that provides an impressive array of medical resources under one umbrella for practices to access. When your practice joins the MSO, you reap the benefits of the time and energy our staff has put into identifying the very best companies to help run your practice day-to-day as well as take your treatments to the next level. MSO members are given significant discounts on these services and products because they are part of a larger group (group pricing discounts). While we are focused on saving your practice time and money, we can also provide your practice with recommendations for improvement. Our goal is to help your practice succeed in any way possible.
To learn more about how our MSO can help your practice prepare for and implement medical technology and equipment improvements in 2019, contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration today.