6 Diagnostic Trends Shaping Healthcare

6 Diagnostic Trends Shaping Healthcare
6 Diagnostic Trends Shaping Healthcare

In today's healthcare system, in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) serve a critical role. In the global effort to resist and limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, their relevance has been emphasized. IVDs affect 66 percent of clinical decision-making despite accounting for only 2% of overall healthcare costs. They are critical in detecting illness, evaluating therapy efficacy and patient health status, and/or enabling disease prevention.

IVDs cover a wide range of illnesses and are such an important part of contemporary medicine that the World Health Organization has recognized 122 test types as essential. Despite their immense value, present diagnostic tests should be better. 

One drawback is that test findings are often provided as a single static number with no explanation of uncertainty, which might lead to the mistaken belief that laboratory results are accurate. Biological variation is the most common cause of variation in laboratory data, which can be ignored when measurements are conducted at a single "snapshot" period in time. Another drawback is that test data is frequently compartmentalized and used for a specific purpose.

Furthermore, the sheer number and diversity of available tests make it challenging for nonspecialist doctors to pick the appropriate test or sequence of tests.

The combination of digital technology and diagnostic testing paves the way for bettering patient outcomes and experiences. At the same time, it may assist relieve some of the health system's capacity and resource constraints, as well as increase the speed and efficiency of the testing process.

1. Emerging at-home diagnostic options and point-of-care testing

Rapid testing near the patient – including in their homes – is now possible thanks to innovative new technologies, which can aid in illness diagnosis, monitoring, and management. It can also shorten the time it takes to get findings since the sample and result transit time is decreased or eliminated. The streamlining of the testing method, as well as the analysis and storage of data in a secure digital environment that can be accessed by healthcare practitioners, are two major benefits of digitalization in Point of Care and at-home diagnostics.

2. Personal and predictive genetics

By utilizing a person's blood, hair, skin, or other tissue samples to help forecast future illness risk, predictive genetic testing might have a significant impact on health outcomes.

These tests have huge promise since they can detect mutations that raise a person's chance of acquiring genetic illnesses before symptoms show. If a medical intervention or preventative measures are available for an illness that is forecast, the power of digital technologies becomes incredibly valuable, even lifesaving.

3. Real-time diagnosis

Wearable biosensors, which include watches, garments, bandages, glasses, contact lenses, and rings, as well as implanted and ingestible devices, may capture a wide range of physical health data, including heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, breathing rate, and body mobility. Real-time diagnostics give a far larger and more comprehensive data set for clinical decision-making than more typical diagnostic procedures, which only record a "snapshot" image of a patient for a specific parameter. They allow for continuous monitoring, quick reporting on any deviations detected and tracking of a person's overall health and well-being.

4. Solutions for clinical decision assistance

Clinical Decision Support (CDS) software can assist in the transformation of diagnosis. Following the receipt of a test result, HCPs must determine the context and significance of the test output before determining the appropriate next steps in diagnosing or treating their patients. CDS tools, which are designed to assist in sifting through massive volumes of digital data, can assist with proposing the next steps for treatments, alerting physicians to accessible and beneficial information, or spotting possible issues such as harmful medication interactions. The various apps are designed to assist HCPs in taking better-informed decisions in order to enhance patient outcomes.

5. Data-driven lab optimization solutions

Diagnostic labs are constantly seeking ways to reduce the number of unnecessary tests while increasing the value of their offerings. The question is how best to capture and extract information from the tests they run in order to help improve their operations. One solution is by implementing robust business intelligence and analytics IT systems, which can analyze a vast amount of test result data and help lab managers improve lab utilization by finding sources of unnecessary testing quickly. Using this technology, labs will be able to better manage their testing loads by eliminating unneeded tests and delivering improved value with those that they do run.

6. Medical imaging with artificial intelligence

HCPs can use artificial intelligence technologies to identify illnesses using medical imaging. A recent meta-analysis found that deep learning models' diagnostic performance was comparable to that of healthcare experts. Despite the issues raised about the research techniques of the individual studies included in the research, this use of AI has a lot of promise. The fact that research quality increased over time is also promising.

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