The massive digitization of the healthcare industry is an inevitability brought on by the ongoing pandemic, and one that is set to transform healthcare technology as we know it. There are several key players shaping the future of health tech, ushering in a new era in which healthcare costs will likely be slashed, as healthcare IT-integrated tools are harnessed to provide quality care to health centers globally.
Studying the likely digital health tech trends in 2022 gives healthcare providers and administrators alike the insights they need in order to proactively adapt to the changes in the industry. The buzzwords in health tech indicate that 2022 will see heavy investments in the areas of telemedicine, IoMT, Bit Data, blockchain and AI.
Telemedicine in Healthcare
The surge in telehealth usage during the pandemic was driven by a willingness from both healthcare providers and consumers, to go digital – safety through distancing being the major contributing factor. Recent studies indicate that telemedicine usage has increased almost 40X from its pre-COVID baseline.
The telemedicine trend seems here to stay. A greater percentage of patients seem to prefer the option of virtual healthcare over in-person visits. Healthcare applications contribute significantly to the strong trend, offering app-integrated features such as video appointments, secure file transfer, and EMR (electronic medical records). A major enabler in virtual appointments are wearable devices, allowing healthcare professionals to be able to access real-time patient data from the safety of their homes.
This trend is likely to see continued growth in 2022, as investments in healthcare IT and telemedicine continue to grow at record levels.
The role of big data is proving to be indispensable, especially in the current pandemic scenario, in coming up with newer healthcare application models, based on predictive analytics. By leveraging the power of big data, hospitals can now move towards data-driven decisions across departments, from clinicians, to finance to human resource departments, thus saving on costs and improving patient outcomes drastically.
Additionally, big data plays a huge role in the development of the Artificial Intelligence sector. For AI to grow, it requires tons of big data to support it. Hand in hand, these two trends are set to spearhead massive innovation in healthcare IT. There is no doubt that big data will continue to garner substantial investment in the years to come.
Internet of Medical Things
As telemedicine continues to trend upwards, the healthcare IT industry is poised to rely heavily on IoMT for better patient outcomes. Possessing an ability to accurately collect and transmit crucial patient data such as ECG, temperature, blood pressure and glucose level readings through patient-wearable devices, IoMT devices are set to transform the way healthcare is delivered globally. The agglomeration of IoMT tools and infrastructure is a boon for rural healthcare and can potentially change the way that medical services are offered to remote, isolated communities that have no access to healthcare providers.
The capabilities of IoMT are enormous: better accuracy in diagnosis, faster access to digital health records, lowered costs and improved patient experience. Connectivity issues and data security are, however, areas that need to improve for this technology trend to thrive. As IoMT continues to evolve (the development of the smart pill is an example), its impact on healthcare applications is going to be revolutionary.
The use of Blockchain technology on digital health has had a profound impact in ensuring patient data security and privacy of healthcare records. In employing Blockchain technology’s peer-to-peer system, healthcare applications can transfer data between two parties without compromising on data security and preventing unauthorized access.
By facilitating interoperability between health information systems and ensuring the highest data security standards, Blockchain can help to plug data breaches and bring in greater transparency to the process of data capture. By making electronic medical records more efficient and ensuring data security, Blockchain technology is set to create new opportunities for interoperability within the healthcare industry. Especially critical to the current COVID scenario, Blockchain will be invaluable to digital health in addressing the issues of data security, integrity and portability.
Artificial intelligence in healthcare IT is currently transforming the speed and precision with which diagnoses are being arrived at. The applications of AI are numerous: using AI, new pharmaceuticals can be brought to market at an accelerated pace, through machine-learning algorithms. AI models can be used to accurately predict mental health trends and healthcare models arrived at to address these issues.
Artificial intelligence is also being leveraged in conjunction with big data; tons of data available from smart wearable devices provides the data support that AI algorithms require in order to analyze trends and arrive at predictive analysis results that can be used to drive better decision making within healthcare institutions.
The healthcare industry will be revolutionized with the integration of emerging trends like telemedicine, big data, Blockchain and AI. For hospitals and healthcare providers, making the transition from current systems to smarter models that incorporate newer technologies might be difficult initially; however the payoff in terms of better predictability, reduces costs, and most importantly, patient-centric healthcare is well worth the effort.