3 overhyped tech trends CIOs think most hospitals should skip

Technology holds vast potential to improve hospital operations and care delivery, but not every piece of technology that promises to drive better outcomes will be the right fit for hospitals to implement.

Below are three overhyped healthcare technologies according to two CIOs: Sunil Dadlani from Atlantic Health System in Morristown, N.J., and Zafar Chaudry, MD, from Seattle Children's.

  1. Quantum computing: This type of computing relies on bits of information that must be in a quantum state while performing enormous computing calculations to help hospitals develop predictive models.

    Not many hospitals have implemented quantum computing, as the cost to build its hardware is high. Additionally, the quantum state itself is unstable, so it's difficult for artificial intelligence-driven diagnostics and medical treatment plans to rely on it, Mr. Dadlani said.

    "I expect it will likely take another 3 to 5 years of innovation in hardware and subsequent applications to develop a quantum computing ecosystem that can truly benefit the healthcare industry," he said.

  2. "Immersive" care delivery technology: This refers to the use of augmented reality and virtual reality technology in healthcare delivery. Immersive technology can have practical uses in some healthcare settings, such as in medical education or during certain surgical procedures, but is not broadly necessary, Mr. Dadlani said.

    "While there can be enhancements to things like precision, they fall short in other areas, such as tactile experiences," he said. "No matter how realistic the visual and auditory simulation can be, at the moment it can’t fully replicate realistic tactile experiences."

    Mr. Dadlani noted that tactile experiences are central to certain aspects of patient care, such as physical examinations.

  3. Robotic process automation: This type of automation allows hospitals to define a set of instructions for an AI-powered bot to perform. Its implementation and maintenance costs usually end up being higher than anticipated, according to Dr. Chaudry.

    He said hospitals need to pinpoint which areas robotic process automation will work for them, what results they want the technology to produce and how it will interact with their systems and data. When systems inevitably change, costs will rise because the hospital will have to implement updates.

    "Inevitably we should automate some portion of human decision-making, but the dream that bots can do all the work and take out operational costs is far from a total reality yet," Dr. Chaudry said.

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