Hospitals of the Future: Investment in New Technology across the Globe

 The healthcare industry is set to be completely transformed through the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics development, and smart technology. Not only will the new advancements save hospitals and healthcare clinics millions of dollars each year, but it can also help to save lives and prevent medical problems before they occur.

Some of the technologies that are already being trialled in Western hospitals are 3D printing of prosthetics and equipment, long distance monitoring and robotic diagnostics, patient wearables and solar powered medical devices. Futuristic hospitals where smart machinery takes over is no longer just a figment of our imaginations. And something as advanced and seemingly far-fetched as robots performing surgery could be closer than you think.

We look at some of the countries that have invested the most into today’s medical technology innovations.

Some of America’s top hospitals are already implementing chat bots for patient diagnosis and automated physician inquiries. These hospitals are also using predictive analytics to monitor patients and prevent critical emergencies, and suing predictive health trackers (such as AliveCor) to monitor patient health through real time data collection.

In 2016, national health expenditure was estimated at $3.4 trillion, with a projected increase of up 19.9% percent by the year 2025.

The A.I health market alone is set to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, and forecasts show that there is potential for the U.S economy to save around $150 billion per year from 2026 thanks to increased efficiency through new technology.

Canada has the second biggest concentration of biotechnology companies worldwide, so their neighbouring U.S when it comes to the use of robots. Canada always been one of the most innovative on the biotech front, and has been a leader in stem cell research as well as retaining some of the most respected scientific minds across the globe. Canada’s health tech industry is worth around $90 billion, and they are one of the first countries to trial robotic assistants in hospital and clinic waiting rooms.

The Andorran governments allocates a huge 27.9% of its budget on healthcare. To many people’s surprise, this tiny, independent nation located between France and Spain is the country that spends the most on healthcare per capita anywhere in the world. Healthcare services are available from both the private and public sector, and the country is home to some of the most technologically advanced centres in Europe. It also has the highest concentration of pharmacies per capita and the government has pumped a lot of money into transforming digital health.

Whilst Andorra’s hospitals are already light-years ahead, new smart technology and monitoring will give the industry to improve quality of care. And as the country has plenty of space for pilot projects, they will be the first to introduce artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Together with Andorra, the Maldives may also surprise you as the second biggest spender in healthcare. The country allocates 26.6% of its budget to health, and this tropical island nation, despite its size and lack of development, has been in the spotlight for various new tech trials. This includes the use of advanced imaging technology for 3D and 4D tumour imaging, perfusion analysis of the brain and motion free lung scanning.

The brand new Tree Top Hospital in Malé (developed by Tree Top Investments) is also due to open this year. It’s one of the first hospitals of its kind, primed to be a state-of-the-art medical facility with 159 beds and equipped with the most advanced equipment. This required a 1.5 Billion (MVR) investment and the Minister of Health, Mr Abdullah Nazim, has said: ‘We are seeing the latest state-of-the-art technology being used in a hospital that’s customer friendly.’

From its well-designed universities to having more visionary tech start-ups than anywhere else, Sweden has long been a technology powerhouse. And according to OECD Health Statistics 2017, the country has one of the highest amount of healthcare spending per capita, and one of the highest life expectancy rates across the globe. The powerful combination of technological know-how and a prioritised approach to health makes Sweden one of the best places to live if you have a medical problem.

It’s worth noting that life expectancy is something that has been fast-improving over the years, and can only get better as technology and patient care improve. In 1970, Swedish people had a life expectancy of 75 years, whilst today that number is 82, increasing by 7 years in just a few decades.

The Swedish Robotic Surgery Program is also one of the most important medical programmes of our time, and the nation has been one of the first in the world to perform robotic surgical procedures.

Roxanne Bracknell is a health writer for Focus Clinics, with specialist knowledge in eye health as well as the general healthcare industry. See her latest piece of content, How Much Does Each Country Spend on Healthcare? which includes an interesting infographic that shares data from the World Health Organisation about expenditure per country per capita.