Yes, even according to a few reports, the digital health market is expected to reach $206 billion by the year 2020. Many of the leading companies have already updated themselves with digital transformation, relating to their main functional areas with a customer-centric approach.
In terms of digital health, 2018 was a groundbreaking year. That is because many companies choose health care transformation by announcing a series of new deals, offerings, and combinations which often paired entities at different levels of the healthcare marketplace.
Well, in an industry that historically pursued mergers and acquisitions via horizontal adjacencies, instead of vertical combinations, these initiatives were surprising. We have seen how the bets made in 2018 led to transformations, which is visible in real-time. So, some clear trends are seen taking shape that should guide strategic thinking.
Whereas in 2019-20, the table has been set for new health care paradigms. So, let’s learn about them in detail.
1. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Many mobile apps and devices have come to play a critical role in tracking and countering chronic illnesses for many patients and their doctors. And, a new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has emerged by combining IoT development with telemedicine and telehealth technologies.
Including ECG and EKG monitors, this approach includes the use of several wearables. Various other common medical measures can also be taken, such as glucose level, skin temperature, and blood pressure readings.
According to reports from Frost & Sullivan, nearly 60% of operations in the healthcare field had adopted IoT or IoMT systems since 2017. Not only profitability, but this trend has given rise to improvements in patient experience as well. And, by 2020, around 20 to 30 billion IoMT devices are expected to be deployed.
Moreover, Allied Market Research reported that by 2021, the market for IoT devices in healthcare is anticipated to reach $136 billion. With the arrival of new delivery methods, practitioners will have many interesting options for providing care more effectively, similar to the first smart pill approved in 2017 by the FDA.
It can be said that one of the biggest challenges this sector faces is providing consistent and effective communication with numerous medical IoT devices. So, for that, manufacturers regularly utilize their proprietary protocols to talk to devices, and this can grant problems, particularly when attempting to collect large amounts of data by servers.
However, as the collection of data by smartphones and microcontrollers can be disrupted by several factors in the surrounding environment, connectivity issues are also still common. Plus, to avoid losses, Buffering methods on local microcontrollers need to become more robust.
As indicated by a report from the Ponemon Institute's Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data, showing that 89% of healthcare operations had been the subject of at least one data breach, potential security concerns also need to be addressed.
One of the biggest sources of rapid change in the US healthcare system is the evolution in telemedicine. Yes, Telemedicine is increasingly proving to be transformative even in a large country where access to providers is limited.
According to the 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates, underserved communities also face problems arising from wait times, which have increased in urban areas from 18.5 to 24 days from 2014.
For patients to get access to specialists, Telemedicine is improving diagnosing and treatment and also making it easier. And, due to the inclusion of technology and availability of electronic records, it is now easier to forward documents to specialists. Well, this can mean the difference between having or not having expert input into a case, especially in rural areas.
What we think of as telemedicine is completely transformed by data exchange platforms. Telehealth services can do a lot more despite the current video chat platforms which dominate the sector serve immense purposes.
For example, by providing real-time monitoring of patients outside the office, hospitals have been able to reduce readmission rates. Plus, it is normal for remote monitoring systems to now be included in post-discharge plans for patients, and thanks to the advent of wearable devices.
3. Personalized Healthcare Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are great for engagement with a huge number of people at the same time. Even though the user is in control, but you’re in charge of the options, and that’s nothing less than a huge power.
And as things are developing more and more, there are numerous patient scenarios which can be served by a powerful native mobile application in the year 2019 and 2020.
From requesting physician appointments, uploading a patient’s medical history to getting test results via a mobile app, or checking in, the organizations can build useful digital tools that are perfect for the modern-era patients.
Resulting in a significant reduction in operational costs, mobile apps also reduce some of the pressure on the medical staff, receptionist duties, and waiting times.
Health organizations are also experimenting with other exciting features within 2018-2019 developments, such as notifications, personalized marketing offers, and alerts around key seasonal allergies (e.g., the flu season).
Also, such healthcare apps offer a great opportunity to communicate and stay in touch with your patients, long after they dropped your health facilities. Even though many marketers are missing the opportunity of giving credence to the criticisms that the healthcare industry is still not innovating, there’s so much potential in healthcare mobile-apps. Plus, these apps are helping in improving patient care
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare
Indulgence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the nascent trends in Healthcare. Developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines has given rise to an entirely new sector of innovative health technologies as it can process information and grant decision-making data similar to what a human does.
Moreover, it can enhance the accuracy as well as the speed of the diagnosis process. Analytics enables practitioners to start looking at possible approaches for early treatment. By bringing new drugs to market faster, Machine learning algorithms are also being utilized to safely explore chemical and biological interactions in the drug discovery process.
Further, a system that looks for eye disease by examining photos of the retina, the first AI-based diagnostic device, has recently been approved by the FDA. The algorithm checks for possible indications of diabetic retinopathy, but high-quality images are uploaded. As per the reports, around 87% of the cases, the disorder was accurately identified by the software. And about 90% of the time, it correctly identified individuals not having the disease.
Meanwhile, Project InnerEye, an AI tool for radiotherapy, is being developed by Microsoft. Apart from that, Microsoft is also working on AI-based system- the Project Hanover that intends to catalog biomedical research papers from PubMed to produce cancer diagnoses and determine which drug combinations might be most suited to individual patients.
Hence with the mentioned points, we can say that the modern healthcare industry is already working on AI-based technologies like machine learning, robotics, etc. One of the great examples is IBM Watson. Yes, it is a high-level AI-based system which is making a difference in different areas of healthcare.
This AI system improves care management, accelerates the drug discovery, matches patients with clinical trials, and helps medical institutions in saving both money and time in the future.
The predictions suggest that not only in 2019-20, but the AI will be more advanced to carry out a more extensive range of tasks without the requirement for human monitoring even beyond these years.
“Healthcare ranks top among other industries using AI.”
Since the AI started walking into healthcare zone, several IT solutions, such as GE Healthcare, IBM, Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers, etc. are busy in developing their proprietary AI solutions with IT service providers.
Along with the big names, many others are also reforming strategic partnerships with vendors to check the unification, development, and distribution expertise.
One can improve the availability and integrity of information by distributing transaction records through a peer-to-peer system with a shared digital ledger. Large numbers of users can securely access a common ledger even without requiring a basis for trust between parties all by using Blockchain technologies.
As the digital transformation in healthcare is going forward, developing this combination of security, ready accessibility, and portability are essential to an array of technology trends, including cloud-based hosting and IoMT devices.
And, with the arrival of blockchain in healthcare, interoperability is expected to improve dramatically. Healthcare information can be created, modified, and distributed with greater integrity, utilizing public-private key methods.
For instance, a specialist brought in for a consultation can be granted quick access to patient records through a secure system that all parties are using. Well, allowing patients and doctors to opt-in to provide data for research Information can also be kept as anonymous, all while complying with HIPAA and GDPR standards.
Another benefit is, running down the origin of the information is as simple as reviewing the digital ledger if questions arise about the provenance of a data point. For instance, concerns about counterfeiting and the drug supply chain can be addressed by seeing that all transactions are logged onto a blockchain-based system. And, this can lead to significant savings at the organizational level.
However, outlining a route for industry-wide adoption is critical, and it is nothing less than a challenge still to be addressed. Besides that, the common technical standard is yet to be adopted and also need verification for the agreement.
To test how such a system would be used to handle patient records, data from wearables, and clinical study information, the FDA signed off on a research initiative with IBM to utilize Watson Health in 2017.
6. AR/VR: Growing Role of Virtual Care in Healthcare Technology
Augmented reality and Virtual reality have revolutionized the healthcare sector. And, these technologies are used in the treatment of a wide range of illnesses. For example, to conduct orthopedic operations and remove tumors safely, several neurosurgeons are using AR technology.
Apart from that, to treat patients who can’t come to a medical center for the usual treatment, many mental health specialists use AR. Besides, there are various cases of AR and VR tools which do both treatment and diagnosis fast.
Also, to help doctors avoid valves and bifurcations, VR technology helps in mapping blood vessels in real-time. Sometimes, VR and AR are used for educational purposes, childbirth, surgical planning, as well as surgery.
“The exciting news is, the AR and VR healthcare market predicts a worth about $5.1 billion in a few years, with approximately 3.5 million users worldwide.”
Inclusion of Chatbots in healthcare sector extends a wide range of advantages that make us very excited. Yes, there’s plenty that can be done for healthcare marketing in 2019 and beyond with the potential for improvement in the organization of patient pathways, help in emergencies, medication management, or with first aid.
When it comes to healthcare, conceding a personal experience is vital, and that’s what a chatbot is doing. Yes, it is adding another touchpoint that people love. And, as expected, the number of chatbots are adding at an incredible pace.
From customer service to a potential diagnosis of mild conditions, the options are endless for chatbots – there’s plenty to be thrilled about within the technology.
In all, we can say the healthcare technology trends would be providing the best medical care and patients experiences in the coming years. And that too at lower expenses. Therefore, almost every government is supporting these technologies on Earth.
Perhaps, it is the reason why there is an abrupt rise in the healthcare sector. Also, the technologies which we discussed above are already in use by healthcare IT company and will further grow more in 2019 and beyond.