- ECRI Institute released its 2017 Top 10 Hospital C-suite Watch List of new and emerging healthcare technologies.
- The annual list aims to take some of the what, when, why and how out of deciding where to invest scarce hospital resources.
- Accompanying the list is a “What to Do” section providing actionable suggestions for assessing each technology and its potential impact for an organization.
With the shift to value-based care, healthcare organizations are looking for innovative ways to cut costs and improve care quality and patient outcomes.
“Navigating new technologies is one of the biggest challenges we hear about from hospital leaders,” Robert Maliff, director of Applied Solutions at ECRI Institute, said in a statement. “They simply can’t afford to miss the mark on which clinical advancements to bring in to improve patient care.”
Here are the technologies and issues ECRI says will demand attention in 2017:
1. Liquid biopsies. Liquid biopsies use a patient’s specimen to identify genetic variants and mutations, providing a quicker, less risky alternative to needle or surgical biopsy. More than 40 companies are developing and marketing this technology in the U.S. The first FDA-regulated liquid biopsy test, for cancer, was approved in June 2016.
2. Opioid addiction. New genetic tests can identify people at highest risk of opioid addition, targeting them for non-opioid pain medications or more carefully monitored opioid use. Two companies, Proove Biosciences and Canterbury Healthcare, offer laboratory-developed versions of these tests.
3. Abdominal surgery. Researchers are piloting efforts to improve abdominal surgery outcomes and reduce costs using web-based advanced risk-assessment algorithms and interactive patient coaching. One initiative, researchers at the University of Michigan cut average inpatient days stays from six to four days, saving the hospital about $2,300 per major abdominal surgery patient.
4. Forward planning. Healthcare organizations should reassess their budget and capital planning processes to see that it is in tune with projected care and treatment trends, such as home care monitoring.
5. Ultraviolet-C LEDs for disinfection. New LEDs emit UV light that kills germs using less power than previous versions and with flexibility to disinfect under beds and other hard-to-reach spaces.
6. Artificial intelligence. Pepper, a humanoid robot, interprets a person’s body language to read emotions and respond accordingly. 3D and HD cameras and shape-recognition software help it identify objects, faces and moods.
7. Robotic surgery. Da Vinci maker Intuitive’s latest surgical robot can interact via software with a specially designed operating room table, allowing its four robotic arms to be repositioned automatically while in the patient as the table moves.
8. Florescent endoscopes. New endoscopes using indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence allow doctors to differentiate malignant from healthy tissue, something they are unable to do with conventional white light.
9. Crohn’s disease. A personalized T-cell immunotherapy uses antigen-specific regulatory T cells, generated by in vitro exposure to ovalbumin, to treat patients with refractory Crohn’s disease. The FDA granted TxCell’s Ovasave fast-track status in July 2015, and the therapy is currently in clinical trials.
10. Vaccines for type 1 diabetes. Researchers are studying two types of vaccines: a therapeutic vaccine to slow or stop the autoimmune siege on insulin-producing cells in patients with some residual islet function; and preventive vaccines to trigger immune tolerance of islet cells in children with a genetic risk of developing the disorder.