The healthcare industry has been tackling the arduous process of digital transformation for more than a decade. Digital health is totally transforming our healthcare system—COVID-19 only accelerated this critical need for digitalization.
Back in 1999, the Institute of Medicine reported that approximately 100,000 deaths per year were because of medical errors. More recent estimates are closer to 250,000 deaths. 1999 was a long time ago, but it is not long forgotten.
Healthcare innovators are leading us into the future by building technology that makes healthcare quality the standard. Here are some of these digital health trends that are modernizing the healthcare industry.
9 Digital Health Trends Making Progress
Digital health technologies are allowing healthcare consumers to book appointments on their phones, use telemedicine services, and track their health with apps. For providers, these technologies are reducing inefficiencies, improving care coordination and delivery, and lowering costs.
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that savings could be between $1.5 trillion and $3 trillion a year by 2030, thanks to several interventions, including remote monitoring, artificial intelligence, and automation. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Telemedicine was already on its way to consumers prior to COVID-19’s arrival, but the arrival of the pandemic certainly sped up the process and furthered expansion.
2021 has been all about virtual appointments (when appropriate) and making remote medical care a possibility in areas that didn’t previously have access to healthcare. In 2022 and beyond, telemedicine is set to become a worldwide standard in hospitals, GP offices, and clinics.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives, including digital healthcare technology.
AI in healthcare will continue to be massively helpful in forecasting disease outbreaks and aiding in new drug discovery. But it also has the potential to help the FDA create a functional database on AI-based FDA-approved medical technologies.
Imagine an at-home program that helps monitor patient symptoms after they get the COVID-19 vaccine that continuously tracks vital signs. Think about how much that could help the aging senior population.
Self-monitoring devices and sensors help detect a multitude of symptoms. Smartwatches, patch sensors, and pulse oximeters are all devices that help patients self-monitor. These devices and sensors will become more common.
4. Cloud-Based Patient Records
Patient records will no longer be stored in hard copies and pulled from file cabinets in doctor’s offices. Everything will be digital. Already healthcare providers are using cloud-based technology to store patient records, keep data safer and more secure, and improve accessibility.
This digitalization of patient records will not only continue to enhance healthcare processes and operations but also pave the way for more patient engagement and personalization.
5. IoT and Medicine
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects that have sensors and software that communicate with other digital devices. Medical IoT is trending for wearable devices, integrated applications, and monitors for patients and their specific healthcare needs.
AI and machine learning, coupled with IoT, will only enhance traditional medical devices. Being able to sync with a mobile app makes this digital health technology even more significant.
6. Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are expected to grow by 30.7% annually between 2017 and 2025.
In the healthcare industry, virtual reality helps doctors-in-training practice and plan surgeries, helping surgeons get more comfortable with performing procedures before they actually have to. VR is also helping support mental health and chronic pain management.
7. Age Tech
Age tech is filling a major market gap by serving as the intersection of healthcare technology and underserved senior populations. Designed to support older adults, age tech investments are showing no signs of slowing down.
From improving monitoring to increasing connectivity, age tech is improving the quality of life for seniors in a variety of settings. This market will continue to expand, helping the world’s rapidly aging population have the necessary tools to advocate for themselves and the type of care they need.
Fintech has been around for years, but its position in healthcare is becoming much more prominent. Today the value of fintech investments is $33.9B worldwide and there are 10,605 fintech startups just in the United States.
Fintech companies are disrupting the healthcare industry in a good way. Fintech is eliminating inefficiencies and knowledge gaps common to most healthcare payment plans by leveraging blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
9. Digital Health Apps
Digital health apps are growing at a rapid pace, largely due to the pandemic-related acceleration of digitalization across healthcare and wellness. In 2020, more than 90,000 new digital health apps were introduced to consumers. Today a total of 350,000 digital health apps are available to consumers, with 47% of apps focused on managing specific diseases and health conditions.
Digital health apps are putting more information than ever before directly into the hands of healthcare consumers. However, for this innovative technology to truly innovate, apps still have a long way to go with data unification.
Ensuring Quality Digital Healthcare in All the Excitement
Although the promise of digital health technology is exciting, with great power comes great responsibility.
For example, digital health apps aren’t regulated by the FDA or any other regulatory body. Unfortunately, this means that healthcare consumers are frequently consuming false information which can lead to negative progress and outcomes. So what should quality digital healthcare look like?
Accurate and Accessible Information
Quality digital healthcare allows patients to have quick access to accurate information. This data must be consistently reviewed for discrepancies and inconsistencies. Any areas of inaccuracy should be disclosed to the patient.
Better User Experiences
One of the most important aspects of great digital healthcare is a great user experience. The whole point of digital experiences is ease and convenience. Patients need to easily navigate to find relevant information, so they can self-serve as the technology intended.
More Prioritization on Privacy
Privacy is a huge concern with anything digital, but even more so for the healthcare industry because it involves highly sensitive patient data. Digital healthcare technologies should ensure sensitive information is protected while allowing data transparency so patients are able to access and control their data.
A healthcare data platform like Skypoint Cloud is helping healthcare providers and professionals improve and advance patient care. When you have a connected view of all of your patients across multiple clinical delivery spectrums, you’ll see higher-quality outcomes and better-coordinated patient experiences.
By using Skypoint to transform your organization, you’ll join our community of healthcare builders and creators who are working together to transform the industry.