How will technology change the standard of healthcare?

Some questions remain unanswered as technology continues its push into the healthcare space

How will technology change the standard of healthcare?

Professional Risks

By Heather Turner

Over the past decade, technology has made its way into all areas of our lives – from revolutionizing the way we use phones to making its entrance into our homes through smart technologies, so it was only a matter of time before technology also began to spread across the healthcare sector.

Today, technology such as wearable data collectors and systemic applications like blockchain can be found in all areas of health. In the home and hospital field, with nurse retirements expected to surge in the next five- to 10 years, companies are looking for alternative ways to efficiently and effectively perform basic nursing care.

“What’s interesting is that we have seen robotic companies attempting to develop intelligent technology to assist in the day-to-day care of people’s required home healthcare,” says Debra Goldberg, chief underwriting officer at Sapphire Blue, an MGU of RSG Underwriting Managers. “Some of what we’ve seen is as complex as a robot that can assist with the activities of daily living, such as assisting patients in getting out of bed, contacting providers or recording data. Some of the new technology coming up is also using existing technology like Amazon’s Alexa to assist in the ability to contact caregivers when needed.”

With the advent of new technologies influencing healthcare, a question arises: how will technology change the standard of care?

“When you look at something like wearables that are advancing all the time, we may get to the point where it’s not going to be a pendant or bracelet but it will be a patch applied to the skin that not only collects data but transmits that to healthcare providers,” says Goldberg. “When providers have that massive amount of data available to them about patients’ conditions, what does the standard of care require that providers do to actively treat the patient? These questions remain to be answered.”

What is certain is that advances in technology, especially Bluetooth technology, which creates an ‘internet of things’ in the healthcare setting, greatly increases the risk of cyber liability. When considering past global attacks, including the WannaCry ransomware attack that took down the UK’s national health system earlier this year, US healthcare companies are definitely among the prime targets for a ransomware attack.

As more information is transmitted electronically and more advances in technology change the administration of healthcare, providers’ liability will continue to increase, leaving insurance brokers and carriers to determine how to best cover these new risks.

“You have to wonder whether 2018 is going to be the tipping point for risk managers in healthcare settings to really look at what their cyber exposures are across their technology platforms,” Goldberg says. “From electronic medical records and their devices, all the way through to their medical equipment, risk managers should perform systemic analysis on how to best address these risks moving forward.”

Related stories:
More insurance firms eye IoT adoption
What telemedicine providers need to know

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