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Digital Technology Trends In The Health Sector

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DenpaNews The COVID-19 era has shown us the place and potential of digital technologies in every field very well. From working from home to remote examination, many different topics continue to be on our agenda, from both the spread of existing digital technologies and new digital solutions developed for new needs emerging during the fight against the pandemic.

In fact, the transformation started long ago with digital technologies. In the 21st century, technological transformation was transforming the health sector as well as affecting every field from production methods to business models in different sectors. At the same time, with the increase of sustainability problems, patient-centered, innovative, productivity gains and at the same time cost-effective ways were sought. This expectation and search for solutions increased the orientation towards new technologies and solutions in the health sector. The pandemic period not only strengthened all these, but also triggered solutions for new needs and rapid spread to different actors.

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If we look at the digital technology trends that triggered the health sector and started before the pandemic; Organizations that reveal global technology predictions draw attention to the fact that a different, non-continuing new era has begun in health and that this will accelerate significantly in the next few years. New technologies are entering the healthcare industry in an unprecedented way: Artificial intelligence, sensors, bioinformatics are becoming an almost normal part of the healthcare system. Medicines are designed with artificial intelligence and digital tools, personalized medicine applications are widespread, and healthcare services are becoming increasingly patient-centered and personalized.

If we take a look at some of the digital technologies that affect the health sector, respectively; Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are horizontal technology platforms with various uses ranging from retail to many different areas of the healthcare industry. AR and VR applications are enabling remote surgeries that have a transformative impact in the healthcare industry. Another usage area is medical education applications and health education including user education. AR and VR technologies have become an area that surgeons commonly use in training.

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One of the fields of use of artificial intelligence, which is another of the technologies that have significantly affected the health sector in different components in recent years, in the health industries is the pharmaceutical R&D process. An increasing number of global companies are incorporating artificial intelligence applications into their drug development processes. Another area where artificial intelligence is used is early diagnosis. According to studies, almost half of the mammography results, which are very important for the diagnosis of breast cancer, give false results. With artificial intelligence applications, the implementation of mammography application, scanning and evaluation of the results are 30 times faster and contain 99 percent accuracy. Thus, it is stated that the number of unnecessary biopsy applications is reduced. Its use in early diagnosis is not limited to this. Artificial intelligence applications used with wearable technologies and other medical devices offer the opportunity to facilitate pre-diagnostic monitoring and evaluation.

Robotics is one of the horizontal technologies that stand out in the health sector with its use with other technology platforms such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things. The use of robots in the healthcare industry is expected to reach $11.4 billion by 2020. The most common use here is surgical robots. It is predicted that the widespread use of surgical robots and especially their use with VR and artificial intelligence technologies will accelerate remote surgeries and telehealth applications. The pandemic period has also revealed that this will happen faster.

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Mobile health (mHealth) technologies, which we can consider among the new technologies, are the whole of applications offered through mobile devices for purposes such as collecting health data, facilitating disease management, healthy life control, a little different from others. It is possible to collect the purposes of use of mHealth technologies under three headings: Independent living, chronic disease management and maintaining a healthy life and well-being. mHealth technologies offer benefits that can contribute to all recent trends such as the aging population, the increase in chronic diseases, and the adoption of an approach focused on the protection of health, while also contributing to financial sustainability in health services with the effective use of all these. It is possible to say that it has come to the fore in different dimensions during the pandemic process and its importance has increased. Studies and applications regarding digital solutions for many different needs such as remote diagnosis and treatment, risk analyzes to guide patients with COVID-19, warning systems for healthcare professionals in hospitals, patient tracking and monitoring systems continue to become widespread.

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It is possible to say that the basis of digital transformation in many different fields in the health sector, as in many other sectors, is data. The diffusion of many new technology platforms has accelerated as the 21st century has started a transformation in which big data applications that increase the capacity of data collection, analysis and interpretation have become widespread. The internet of things (IoT) and sensor technologies, which enable the collection, analysis and use of data for specific purposes, have become even more meaningful in the health sector with big data. As we expect the spread of digital technologies accelerated with the pandemic to continue to increase in the health sector, it seems clear that this also points to the critical importance of collecting, analyzing and making sense of data.

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