No worker wants to be injured or suffer an occupational illness. Employees who do have valid worker’s compensation claims are entitled to payment of all their reasonable medical bills. These bills include ER treatment, surgeries, doctor visits, time with physical therapists, and many other types of medical treatment. Claimants also are entitled to payment for their medications and any assistive devices they need to work or function.
Employees are entitled to take advantage of current medical treatments and technology. Employers have a duty to provide for the health of their workers. There are new treatments and technology available every year. Many of the new trends involve computer technology including online medicine, telehealth, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. According to the 2021 Future of Healthcare Report, the trend is towards personalized medicine and reducing healthcare costs. Some of these new trends, such as telehealth, are directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the treatments that workers may be able to use in 2022 include the following:
Healthcare big data refers to using the vast amount of patient data that is collected to improve medical treatments and hospital management performance. Big data is being used to help cure patients, cut costs, and predict and prevent pandemics. The largest medical systems will use technology to monitor patients and improve their healthcare.
The expectation is that the healthcare market will reach $34.27 billion by 2022. Big data analytics are expected to be worth nearly $68 billion by 2024. The investments will be in such tools as “electronic health records, practice management tools, and workforce management solutions.”
The Internet of Medical Things
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a “connected infrastructure of health care systems and services.” The focus of IoMT is to provide better healthcare to rural areas, isolated communities, and patients who can’t visit their healthcare provider. New technology will allow patients (and injured or ill workers) to receive high-quality care from the comfort of their own homes. This increase in quality care should be especially helpful for workers who work in rural areas or whose injuries are so severe they can’t even get in a car to see their physicians.
IoMT is not the same as remote patient monitoring. “Internet of medical things is a broad term that defines the entire industry and all technologies, while remote patient monitoring is a system of technologies that help gather, monitor, and process data for improved patient outcomes.”
Healthcare and artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence in healthcare should help to “systemize clinical documentation by structuring the records and improving overall results for patients.”
The global artificial intelligence (AI) market was valued at $6.7 billion in 2020. The AI market is expected to grow 40% between 2021 and 2028.
Digital therapeutics technology uses software to provide “evidenced-based” healthcare. Digital therapeutics may complement or even replace current treatments for disease. Digital healthcare is being developed “both for clinicians and patients and includes clinical assessment, patient-reported outcomes and clinician monitoring dashboards.”
Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is a very valuable healthcare IT trend. It is a way of continually keeping patients and healthcare providers informed about a patient’s health – so that treatments can be coordinated and complex illnesses can be managed. Generally, the patients wear devices that measure their health data, send the data to the healthcare providers, and remind patients to take their medications. For example, the devices can alert doctors and staff when the measurements have crossed into any dangerous ranges.
Remote patient monitoring helps hospitals and medical practices save time and costs because the patients don’t need to spend as much time at the hospital facilities or medical offices.
New mental healthcare technologies
Some of the healthcare technologies for 2022 and future years will include:
- Video game treatment. In 2020, US FDA “permitted marketing of the first video game for children with ADHD and similar mental health issues.” The game is called EndeavorRx. The game focuses on patients between 8 and 12. The game can “be combined with medication, clinician-directed therapy, and/or educational programs to further improve the patients’ well-being.”
- Smartphone-assisted therapy. More and more mobile apps and chatbots will be used to “analyze a patients’ voice and speech patterns to indicate any signs of emotional instability.” While these technologies don’t provide solutions, they do help confirm someone is having emotional difficulties.
- Online symptom tracking. With technology, patients can report their daily systems when they occur instead of waiting for the next appointment wither their doctor.
Virtual reality for healthcare
VR headsets are being used:
- To help train healthcare professionals.
- To help medical interns improve their knowledge and skills. For example, virtual reality can be used to help patients understand human anatomy instead of relying on cadavers.
- To treat patients. VR is very helpful for planning complex surgeries. “For example, in case of any neurosurgical procedures, surgery teams can rehearse their planned intervention with the help of VR sets.”
- To help people with developmental disorders.
- To simulate surgeries for error reduction.
With virtual reality, medical professionals can continually improve their skills and better treat patients including injured and ill workers. “The combined augmented reality and virtual reality markets were worth $12 billion in 2020 with a massive annual growth rate of 54%, resulting in a projected valuation of $72.8 billion by 2024 (IDC, 2020).”
At Joe Miller Law Ltd., we work with medical professionals across many different practice areas to help injured employees access recent medical advancements that may help employees return to work and function at home. We’ve helped thousands of injured and ill workers obtain the work injury benefits they deserve. To discuss your right to workers’ compensation benefits including healthcare benefits call lawyer Joe Miller, Esq., at 888-667-8295. or complete my online contact form to make an appointment.
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