Image: Research suggests healthcare workers are optimistic about innovation in healthcare (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
Medical workers in Europe are optimistic about technological innovation in healthcare over the next decade, according to new research.
Conducted by Epson (Suwa, Japan) and FTI Consulting (Baltimore, MD, USA), the research project consisted of two separate phases. Phase one consisted of qualitative telephone interviews with 17 global futurists and European experts from various sectors in order to gain insights and develop hypotheses on the future of the workplace, and the changing roles of the workforce, leading up to 2025. Phase two consisted of an online survey of 7,016 full-time employees across five major sectors (corporate, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and retail) in workplaces in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
The results revealed 67% of medical professionals believe big data will significantly improve diagnosis and treatment success, while nearly three quarters of respondents believe collaborative technologies will improve knowledge sharing between specialists. Other technologies like remote monitoring (45%), surgical training via augmented reality (44%), organic and bio printing (42%), and surgery and diagnoses with the aid of robots and artificial intelligence (40%) were also identified as game-changing. Over 57% considered three-dimensional (3D) printing a revolutionary force, and that 3D printing of organs and cells will speed up medical processes.
There was also widespread agreement that virtual consultations would improve access to healthcare (69%), while 64% felt that personalized prescriptions will dramatically improve treatment outcomes, and 36% indicating that technology would improve access to medical services, shortening waiting times. In addition, 70% see remote monitoring improving patient care, with people being given wearables to feed vital signs to a central data hub for analysis. As a result, 38% think that future patients would be more proactive in managing their own health, diagnosis and treatment.
“With the challenges of an ageing population, technological innovation has the potential to address the most pressing concerns facing the NHS, such as stretched resources, patient access, and waiting times,” said Rob Clark, managing director of Epson UK and Ireland. “To implement technology effectively, IT leaders must stay aware of the latest developments and launch consultation processes with patients and regulators. We simply cannot afford to miss the benefits of innovation over the next ten years, so collaboration between stakeholders to address and mitigate any potential issues is critical.”