3. Demand For Safe/Short/Affordable Procedures
X-Rays are essential part of most diagnosis process, but continued usage of X-Rays over a long period of time is harmful for doctors and medical staff. Patients too are at a limited risk because of the contrast-dyes that are used in these procedures (especially patients with compromised renal); in this regard, patient awareness is also rising, and we saw similar resistance among many Covid19 patients undergoing CT scans with X-rays (and dyes). Thus, the demand for procedures with reduced X-ray exposure has intensified and when this is coupled with the increasing ease of workflow design offered by the latest generation of (Azurion) cath-labs, these procedures will be completed in a much shorter time and with even better clinical results than today. Additionally, the shift from invasive/expensive procedures to minimal invasive and integrated approaches will continue to enhance. Image guided procedures with high-precision imaging technology has provided clinicians with detailed “roadmap” of the vessels of the heart, which can be closely monitored throughout the entire percutaneous interventional procedure. These technologies have increased the confidence to deliver exceptional clinical outcomes, thereby enabling faster recoveries, improved patient care and ultimately reduced healthcare costs.
4. AI and Digital Technology
Another major change observed during the pandemic was the growing acceptability of AI, digital applications, and wearable monitoring technologies. There is a proliferation of online learning and education of medical professionals especially after the pandemic. AI and digital technology have also helped bridge the gap between patients and doctors since online consultation is now a vogue. Literally speaking, distance cannot be an impediment in treatment-process anymore - today millions of Indians use multiple apps daily for all healthcare needs; Aarogya Setu and websites like cowin.gov.in etc. are a must to book vaccination slots. Oximeters were also used by patients in large numbers during the Covid-wave, hinting at the wider acceptance and penetration of wearable monitoring technologies. While such applications were already present before the pandemic, it was only during the peak of this season that helped to expedite its growth.
Thus, another trend expected in the field of cardiology is the active use of AI and digital technology during the treatment process. Many innovative & integrated cath-lab applications are available today to treat a broad range of complex clinical procedures, this is in addition to the existing technologies like IVUS, I/FFR etc. In view of the evolving healthcare scenario, healthcare companies today are focusing on delivering smart solutions either using existing products through bundled or integrated approaches or using futuristic technologies like augmented reality in healthcare, fiber-optics technology for 3D-colored imaging, no x-ray procedures, tele-monitoring, precision diagnosis etc. This would further enhance newer frontiers apart from cardiology, like neurology (for stroke patients), oncology, orthopedics, spine etc. which can be dealt more intensely in a cath-lab setting easily. While we do not expect AI and digital technology to replace medical specialists and staff in hospitals but the treatment by itself will increasingly involve AI and digitally enabled technology in most of the procedures.