What are the Top Trends in Cardiology for 2019?
Like most medical fields, cardiology is constantly evolving as new technology is developed. Advancements in artificial intelligence, imaging devices, and patient-generated data are changing the entire landscape of the cardiology field. So how will these top trends in cardiology impact the way patients are diagnosed and treated?
Artificial intelligence is an emerging technology that has the potential to transform several different medical fields. A recent publication in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology even highlighted six different areas in which AI will advance the cardiovascular field.
- New drug discovery and development: AI can be used to conceive new drugs by searching patterns in molecular biology, structure-function, and clinical trial databases.
- Precision medicine: with the help of AI, medical professionals will be able to quickly assess a patient’s genetic information, environment, and lifestyle to determine exactly what type of treatment they may require.
- Improved efficiency: AI can also help reduce provider disorganization and burnout by minimizing repetitive tasks, prioritizing electronic health record-based alerts, improving and automating image interpretation in catheterization or echocardiography laboratories, and presenting optimal treatment plans based on the integration of varied data sources.
- Increased value of delivered care: AI has the ability to more accurately predict an individual’s level of risk for developing chronic diseases or related complications, tailor preventive therapies to better suit each patient’s unique needs, and allocate limited resources to those most likely to benefit from them.
- Integration of data from various sources: AI can compile data from a variety of sources such as social media, the electronic health record, and wearable Holter monitors, and develop models based off of that information to predict the trajectory of both health and disease.
- Remote Monitoring: AI can be used to quickly filter out clinically actionable data from the trillions of data bytes that wearable monitors collect.
Cardiac Imaging Trends
There are also several trends in cardiac imaging that health care professionals should pay attention to. Currently, cardiac ultrasound is still regarded as the top imaging modality in cardiology due to its broad availability, low cost, and lack of radiation. However, computed tomography has become the best option for structural heart procedure planning and is poised to become the front-line imaging test for acute chest pain patients in the emergency department. Since CT fractional flow reserve technology has the potential to save both time and money, it is widely expected to become the main test for chest pain in the next decade. CT fractional flow reserve technology is also anticipated to significantly lower if not completely eliminate the need for diagnostic catheter angiograms. Cardiac MRI has seen numerous advances as well, cutting imaging times by 50% and automating quantification, reducing the time it takes to process exams.
Wearable monitoring devices have made great strides in the last decade or two, with advancements making them more convenient and accurate than ever before. In turn, these developments in wearable monitoring technology have led to more and more medical practices adopting these portable monitoring devices. Some devices, such as Holter Monitors are even helping medical practices supplement their revenue. Practices that use Holter monitors for patient studies can make a significant return on investment if they have a high enough patient volume.
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