Top Healthcare Trends to Dominate the Industry in 2022-2023
The healthcare industry has been undergoing major changes in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the advancement of technology. Probably, the biggest change that it saw was digitization in terms of electronic health records, virtual assistants, and automation of certain tasks — but there is so much more that technology can offer to the industry. In this article, we will look at the biggest digital health trends that are expected to become a commodity in the industry — though some of them are already sneaking in and are widely used across medical facilities.
We’ve already written an article on telemedicine and how it was impacted by COVID-19 — you can check it out here. Meanwhile, let’s have a look at where telemedicine is heading in the nearest future.
In case you need a reminder, telemedicine refers to the distribution of medical services via electronic devices (most often via mobile). Examples of telemedicine are virtual assistants, digital health systems, or health monitoring apps. The main idea here is to empower patients with convenient means to monitor and maintain their health to a certain extent. Obviously, emergencies or acute conditions will require a physical one-on-one consultation with a medical professional — but telemedicine helps digitize certain services and procedures.
According to the McKinsey report of 2021, the use of telehealth has stabilized 38X higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic and the domain is becoming a quarter-trillion-dollar sector. The main reasons why telemedicine is on the rise are:
- An option for a patient to receive remote online consultation which is great for those people who may not be able to personally visit a doctor.
- Saving time and costs: online consultations help both medics and patients save their time and resources.
- 24/7 monitoring of one’s health so a patient can be immediately notified in case anything is wrong and contact their doctor.
- Personalized health care so patients can set up the apps in accordance with their healthcare needs and receive corresponding guidance and treatment advice.
- More control for patients over their data, appointments, and the choice of a medical professional.
There is one interesting thing, however, regarding telemedicine and telehealth. While patients prefer URL (virtual) healthcare to the IRL (in real life) one, physicians still recommend in-person physical visits. However, as the world transforms and patients are gaining more control over their data and over their choice of a physician, medical facilities may want to reconsider their approach to align their existing processes with the patient’s needs.
Another big healthcare trend that is really loved by both patients and physicians is personalized healthcare or personalized medicine (PHC for short). Personalized healthcare implies individual treatment for each patient based on their medical history, current condition, and many individual factors (i.e. gender or age). A lot of personal data can be obtained via wearables (more on that below) and in this way, physicians can make the diagnosis and come up with a personalized treatment plan easier and faster.
Even though PHC sounds like a hassle, in fact, it is able to significantly cut costs for the healthcare system. Think about the following: the US spends approximately 700 $ billion every year on healthcare efforts that do not deliver expected results and do not improve patients’ well-being (according to Tiga Health). With a personalized approach, physicians can quickly come up with the treatment that will work the best for every patient and that will guarantee results. As for the patients, they won’t have to undergo numerous effortless treatments which is one of the biggest issues in the world of healthcare these days.
In addition to individual treatment plans, personalized healthcare also makes certain medical products and services more available, thus contributing to more accurate patient data collection. If you need an example, think of genomics: you can now buy a DNA testing kit for approximately 100 $ or less. Needless to say, if genetics and genomics become more available, physicians will be able to detect complex conditions like cancer or identify warning symptoms at an early stage and timely mitigate them.
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Wearable technology is another big healthcare trend that’s here to stay and that is expected to rise in popularity in this and upcoming years. Let us quote Tim Cook here and remind you of his saying from 2019: «I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind? ’ it will be about health.» And it seems like Apple and other brands indeed significantly contribute to the healthcare sector with their smart wearable devices that allow every user to instantly collect their health-related information in real-time.
Wearable devices include watches, headphones, implants, biometric devices, and even jewelry and help in the following ways:
- Collection of health-related data;
- Tracking of symptoms;
- Contribution to personalized healthcare;
- Monitoring and management of one’s well-being.
As people are becoming more aware of their well-being, wearable devices keep rising in popularity as they are one of the most efficient ways to quickly check in with oneself and make sure everything is right. And in case it’s not, some wearables can automatically send a notification to your doctor or inform you about the need to see one.
Focus on mental health
Mental health has always been an important topic and COVID-19 aggravated it. Now, people heavily rely on technology to assist them with issues like anxiety or panic attacks — and mental health seems to be getting more and more attention these days and is expected to become a really big trend of virtual care to observe.
Mental health falls under behavioral medicine which combines behavioral, psychosocial, and biomedical science knowledge. And while it is recommended to consult a licensed therapist if you struggle with mental problems, some applications can facilitate your daily routine and really help you throughout the day. Examples are:
- Headspace: a mindful meditation app;
- BetterHelp: online consultations with therapists;
- Pride Counseling: LGBT-focused therapy;
- Calm: an app for battling anxiety.
As mental health is being recognized more and more these days, corresponding applications enter the era of high demand. According to numerous reports, the market for these apps is expected to reach a CAGR of 16,2% between 2022-2027 and will most probably reach 10.25 $ billion in 2026. And this is something that both app developers and healthcare professionals should really take into consideration.
Use of robots
The use of robotics in healthcare is gaining impressive traction. According to the Report Linker, the size of the medical robotics market is expected to reach approximately 44.45 $ billion by 2030 with a compound annual growth rate of 17,1% between 2022 — 2030. So how are robots used in modern medicine and where their development is heading?
The biggest use case for robots in medicine these days is surgery, specifically minimally invasive surgery. This implies procedures that are performed by tiny incisions and such surgery is usually associated with fewer complications and less pain (as well as shorter stays at a hospital). And since robots can provide more accuracy in performing these (and other) surgical procedures, no wonder that surgical robots are becoming more and more widespread among medical facilities.
In addition to performing surgeries, robots can aid with the following tasks:
- Disinfection of spaces (i.e. wards);
- Carrying objects;
- Drawing blood;
- Assisting patients;
- Assisting personnel with tool handling.
While some procedures require human intervention, a lot of tasks can be delegated to robots — and we’ll surely see more of them in the near future.
Of course, these are not all healthcare technology trends that will be at the forefront of the healthcare field — let’s not forget about AI and all its possible use cases (i.e. medical image analysis or smart prediction of diseases) and about medical apps for doctors. However, it is also important to mention one of the biggest issues that medical organizations should consider and this is cybersecurity.
As hospitals implement more technologies, they also increase the risk of a data break or a cyber attack. Hence, medical facilities must work on their cybersecurity starting from today and we highly recommend getting acquainted with CIS controls to start with. The implementation of CIS security controls will ensure a robust level of protection that you can use as a base to further grow your cybersecurity and ensure your data and systems are protected against internal and external threats.
Irina is a professional copywriter with over 7 years of experience in this domain. She loves creating compelling and informative copy that provides readers with all the needed information. Irina is also a frequent contributor to different blogs and websites across different domains.View all articles by this author.