May this be your healthiest year yet!

And it can be. There are many ways to improve Americans’ health, including new drugs, devices, procedures, and habits. Often overlooked is information technology, which we think will make a huge impact in 2024. Here are four ways:

 

Health tech will mitigate staff shortages.

How often have you said, “I wish I could clone myself”? Not saying you can’t, but the next best thing is being in two, three, or four places at once (virtually) via increasingly powerful collaboration technology. In 2024, clinicians who have been struggling under persistent staffing challenges will be able to more efficiently participate on numerous care teams, cooperating online either through real-time video and data conferencing or through asynchronous conversations.

Along the same lines, younger employees will more easily engage with mentors across organizations and geographies through improved collaboration technologies. The freedom to collaborate effectively online will broaden their choice of mentors and increase their time together, accelerating professional development and performance. Rural and remote health care shortages will still be acute, but increasingly seamless telemedicine will address the challenge.

 

Predictive analytics gain traction.

It’s health care, not sick care, right? Predictive analytics will make the aphorism a reality in 2024 by more effectively alerting providers before relatively healthy patients take a turn for the worse. The more long-term data we collectively have on patients who contract a disease, the more effectively we can detect ominous patterns. For the first time, algorithms will learn about these signals on a massive scale, supporting more effective prevention, guiding patients through their care, reducing readmission, and forecasting demand.

 

AI automates workflows.

Yes, AI is changing everything – often for the better. Amid all the (warranted) hype, look for AI to learn from enormous amounts of patient data, steadily acquring the power to provide unprecedented insights about each patient’s health as they engage with a provider. AI will learn as much about clinicians as patients, optimizing assignments and treatment recommendations.

At the same time, rapidly evolving natural language processing capabilities will continually reduce the time that skilled clinicians spend serving demanding EHR systems. Data, including unstructured patient notes, will be captured more accurately and efficiently than ever. Generative AI will write prescriptions, draft treatment plans, and report to regulators with unprecedented speed with minimal human labor.

 

Tech reduces inequity.

AI and predictive analytics will go beyond the clinic and help cities, states, and nations better track, map, target, segment, monitor, and mitigate gross health inequities. The better we understand how social determinants of health affect disparate populations, the more we can do (and should do) to give every citizen an equitable opportunity to live a long, healthy life. That goes for newborns, elders with chronic conditions, and everyone in between.

 

A lot is going to happen this year to you, technology, and integrated health care. Let’s take advantage of every opportunity to make 2024 our best.

 

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