Technology is HUGE in Modern Healthcare's 40th Year Anniversary Issue

Crain Communications recently celebrated its 40th year as publisher of Modern Healthcare by taking a look back at highlights of the last 40 years in healthcare.  As part of the commemoration, the magazine conducted two reader surveys:

·         Ranking 40 breakthroughs from the last four decades

·         Looking at present and expected future industry trends

As I read this special anniversary edition, I was both surprised and pleased to see how many of the past and also the anticipated breakthroughs are tech-related.


Highlights of the Past 40 Years

Modern Healthcare described three of the top four milestones of last 40 years as selected by its readers as technology-driven:

#1 Sequencing the human genome

#2 Magnetic resonance imaging

#4 Smallpox eradication

This is astounding!  Three out of four of the most important events of the last 40 years were based on technology.  For the record, #3 on the list is the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

As I reviewed the entire list, I performing my own assessment as to which ones were based on technology.  By my count, 14 of the top 40 are.  This means that more than one-third of the most important healthcare breakthroughs since 1976 are rooted in technology.  So clearly tech has been a big part of getting to where we are.


Current and Future Breakthroughs

Looking to the present and immediate future, Modern Healthcare readers similarly confirmed technology’s key role moving forward.  I find it helpful to categorize health technology into four groups:  Patient-Touching, Individualized Care, Communications, and Standard Business Functions.  I have placed some of the breakthroughs identified by Modern Healthcare’s readers into their respective categories:

·         Patient-Touching – MRI Technology, Teleradiology, 3-D Printing, Bioprinting of Tissues and Organs, Cardiovascular Implants, Bionic Limbs, Stem Cell Therapy, Laparoscopic Surgery, and Robotic Surgery

·         Individualized Care – Genomics (supporting cancer treatment), Big Data, Automated DNA Sequencing, and Post-Acute Patient Placement (based on insurance, clinical criteria, bed availability, and patient preference)

·         Communications (Between patients and providers and among providers) –  Mobile Patient/Provider Communications, Wearable Technologies, Electronic Medical Records, and Medication Adherence Technologies

·         Standard Business Functions – Lean Process Improvement and aspects of the Internet

This is just a cursory categorization of the survey results.  Each identified technology could generate pages and pages of discussion.  My purpose here is to just highlight the prominence of technology in the minds of Modern Healthcare’s readers.


Bottom line:  Healthcare technology has already revolutionized the industry. and by all indications, the revolution won’t end any time soon.