A glossary of the key terms in Healthcare Technology
Analytics in healthcare describe the healthcare analysis activities that can be undertaken via the result of data collected from four key areas within healthcare technology; pharmaceutical and research and development (otherwise known as R&D) data analytics, claims and cost data, clinical data (collected from electronic medical records) and patient behaviors and preferences, (purchases from retail e.g. data captured in running stores). Health care analytics is a constantly growing industry, particularly in the United States. The industry is predicted to grow to over $18.7 billion by 2020.
At base, Artificial Intelligence is the process whereby machines & ‘robots’ can exhibit logic or make decisions in line with that of a Human being. In healthcare, a key area of this can be in the form of diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and process automation. Read More >>
Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – inundating an organization on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what the data is used for that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves, particularly in patient engagement and medical research.
Cloud computing is a general umbrella term covering the delivery of hosted services via the internet. In Healthcare, this technology allows for massive amounts of data including DNA sequences to be processed automatically, offering new insights into key areas of research, including genetic mutation and cancers. It also allows for the comprehensive secure protection of information. Read More >>
Connected Care is the term for real time personal and automated communications between patient and healthcare provider. This could take the form of health indicator monitoring (e.g. heartrate monitors transmitting info back to the provider and patient), email communicated, online GP support/mental health counselling and more. The rise of Connected Care is streamlining the process of healthcare, as well as providing easier access to key information on the part of both the doctor and the patient.
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Digital Mental Health, whilst falling into the umbrella term of Connected Care, stands as its own category due to its sheer impact. As use of the internet, mobile apps and other technology grows, Digital Mental Health programs and services have grown and adapted to allow access to repeat prescriptions, mood monitoring and online counselling (or e-counselling). These new programs and processes allow for easier access to mental health services, more intensive preventative action, and more prominent exposure for helpful resources.
With the rise of discussions over regulation in technology, namely the internet and net neutrality laws, the impact of Government & Policy on growth in Healthcare IT must be considered as a large part of discussion in mHealth and Digital Healthcare. As different governments globally respond to funding in healthcare, and such regulations as mentioned, Healthcare Technologies aims to hold a magnifying glass to growing and developing policies worldwide.
Health systems are the manner in which Healthcare is provided to the patient, and varies from country to country - even state to state. Advances in technology for healthcare mean these systems are constantly evolving to keep up with new forums for delivering medical advice, conducting research, and taking preventative action in cases of preventable diseases such as obesity and lung cancer. Much as Government policy changes, so must the formats in which healthcare is provided. The growth of new technologies has, in particular, a large impact on the delivery systems of healthcare in developing countries.
Interoperability, in general terms, is the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information, e.g. 'interoperability between devices made by different manufacturers’. In the more specific context of healthcare, interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. In Healthtech, health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.
mHealth is the term to describe the use of mobile devices in Healthcare technology, however it is also used to define other forms of wireless technology in Health. mHealth has become particularly prominent in the developing world, where Healthcare provisions may be sparse or over-stretched, but mobile phone usage is widespread.
Uses and manifestations of mHealth can range from the use of mobile phones and other devices to educate users about medical care services or risk prevention to monitoring health, epidemic outbreak tracking and treatment support. Read More >>
Patient Engagement is the name of the process whereby patients seek to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process. As a result, those who are engaged as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes. By definition, patient engagement can be anything from patient portals to social media strategies, from monitoring vitals using wearables to active participation from patients in their own health and wellness journey.
Patient engagement is greatly enhanced through technological advancements today, and also describes the value of patient feedback, involvement and contributions to improvement and innovation in healthcare.
Precision Medicine is the process of personalizing and honing in treatments to specific circumstances or patients. The underlying concept of precision medicine is that in which health care is individually tailored on the basis of a person's genes, lifestyle and environment.
Precision Medicine serves to be in direct contrast to the previously widely-accepted "one-size-fits-all" approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the average person, with less consideration for the differences between individuals.
Autonomics and multi-agent systems in healthcare allow for the growth and development of definable, repeatable, and rule-based processes. In this sense, Robotic process automation serves as a competitive advantage, not replacing humans in the care-giving/healthcare delivery process, but enabling them to focus on more personalized treatments, and higher-level research/processes.
A robot can be defined as any mechatronics device that is designed and functional in executing tasks which may be repetitive, unsafe, difficult or impossible for a human. Robots in healthcare may also be utilised if they are capable of executing tasks better, or more efficiently, than a human. Key focus areas for development and implementation of Robotics in the Healthcare industry include Precision Surgery, repetitive tasks such a blood sampling and heartrate monitoring, robotic assistance for those needing care, and even the development of Exoskeletons and further innovations.
Value-based Healthcare is a recent emergence, offered as an alternative and potential replacement for fee-for-service reimbursement. In this sense, Value-based Care is based on quality rather than quantity of treatment. For patients, the impact of this is ideally safe, appropriate, and effective care with enduring results, at reasonable cost. For healthcare professionals, it is supposed to suggest that employing evidence-based medicine and proven treatments and techniques that take into account the patients’ wishes and preferences.
Wearable technology in Healthcare is any form of easily worn/applied tech that can monitor or provide communication around health. This could be pedometers, Fitbits, and much more. Other wearable tech gadgets include devices that have small motion sensors to take photos and sync with your mobile devices. The ability for these devices to connect to the cloud allow for greater measurement and understanding of the patients own health, as well as the potential to notify care providers should a certain measure be exceeded/emergency health issue come into play.
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