Healthcare is always undergoing some or the other transformation. Currently, the industry is under some radical shifts owing to the growing demands and the pressure to deliver exceptional patient care without increasing the costs.

Thanks to the proliferation of the latest technologies, the healthcare market is slated to grow by leaps and bounds. For instance, there will be about 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2023,  and 30% of these will find use in the healthcare industry.

Apart from the connected devices, there are many trends and technological solutions that are going to bring a change in healthcare. According to a report by Research and Markets, the digital health space will enjoy the overall 5-year compound annual growth rate of 12% (2018-2023).

What is driving this growth, and how is digital healthcare going to shape up this year? Let us get a better perspective about it:

The investments in AI technology will increase as the technology has demonstrated real-world ROI

AI in healthcare is being used for several purposes, including disease prevention, patient monitoring, pattern recognition, and so on. While it was valued at $600 million in 2014, it is expected to grow to $150 billion by 2026. This can be attributed to the tremendous potential AI solutions bring for various stakeholders.

A case in point is that of chatbots, which are in demand due to their efficiency and a multitude of use. This is increasing the investment with the global healthcare chatbots market projected to reach $314.3 million by 2023. Also, there are findings that state that AI can heavily reduce the early drug discovery timeframe by as much as 4 years. Moreover, it can lead to saving 60% of the costs.

Virtual interactions between patients and care providers (aka telehealth) will become the new normal

According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, telemedicine is going to be worth over $66 billion by 2021. Another report from American Well® found that 52% of Americans who were over 65 years old, were willing to opt for telehealth. The main factors that drive them to this decision include quicker service, cost savings, better access to healthcare professionals, and convenience.

This is a given as patients, especially the seniors, find it challenging traveling to healthcare facilities. Telehealth is where they can access some levels of health care in real-time.

For healthcare providers, telehealth translates into increased revenues and workforce optimization. They use apps, remote monitoring devices, biosensors, and similar devices to retrieve real-time date about the patients to offer them solutions.

Apart from helping seniors, advanced telehealth solutions also help patients in rural areas that have a shortage of rapid access to specialist healthcare.

Healthcare will become more data-driven

Healthcare is going more data driven as it brings several benefits to the table. To begin with, it helps decrease the number of inconsistencies and errors by analyzing patient records. Data also helps them provide preventative care and determine future admission rates. This can help them handle medical emergencies in a better way, especially when the healthcare facility is facing staff shortage.

Big Tech companies could venture into healthcare in a big way with robust solutions

With tremendous possibilities offered by the healthcare industry, many leading tech firms are making strides.

  • Google is already investing and acquiring some AI solutions. For instance, Google Ventures is backing about 60 health-related enterprises.
  • Microsoft is taking healthcare to the next level with NExT, an AI-driven solution. It is a combination of AI technology and Azure cloud resources. This will help automate patient care services to a major extent.
  • Amazon is also not far behind in investing in the healthcare sector and has acquired the medication packaging and distribution company, PillPack.
  • Intel has made investments in healthcare startups. For instance, it has a stake in Lumiata, which deals with data and predictive analysis and EchoPixel, a company developing tools for enabling non-invasive colon cancer screening.

VR will transform the medical training field

Virtual Reality or VR is also driving digital transformation in healthcare and is giving a new twist to the treatments. One of the ways it is helping the healthcare facilities is by offering an alternative to drugs such as opiates to treat pain.

VR, coupled with Augmented Reality, can offer a wide range of surgical practices. This helps medical practitioners practice their expertise and get experienced in planning more complicated surgeries.

Additionally, by using certain apps, healthcare providers can virtually walk patients through several after-care treatments. This is known as virtual assisted recovery, which helps them to modify the treatment by accessing real-time data.

Beyond wellness app, connected therapeutic apps, approved by regulatory agencies, will help in improving patient outcomes

Today, health apps mostly refer to health and wellness apps. These are easily available on smartphones and wearables and promote healthy living. However, not all the apps are regulated except for some of the health apps that are also considered to be medical devices. Apart from these apps, there is another category called Digital Therapeutics, which can be categorized as connected healthcare that can effectively improve the clinical outcomes and depend on patient behavior. Apps that fall under this category are more likely to be regulated. A case in point is that of Apple’s ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4, which received FDA clearance for the same in 2018.

Cloud-based healthcare solutions will gain momentum

 The healthcare industry benefits from cloud adoption. The worldwide healthcare cloud computing market is slated to surpass $55 billion by 2025. This is due to the various benefits it offers, such as managing EHRs (Electronic Health Records), scalability and security, disaster recovery, etc. Cloud-based healthcare solutions are also important for the healthcare facilities owing to the decreased cost of storage and server management. Cloud-based solutions also help healthcare facilities improve workflows and enhance patient care by making it easy to access accurate and up-to-date patient information from anywhere.

2020 – The New Dawn for the Healthcare Market

These are some of the latest trends that will bring forth transformation for the global healthcare market globally. Most of these are driven by the need to provide an exceptional personalized patient experience. Moreover, they are going to reduce the operational costs and improve bottom lines for healthcare facilities and firms.