Top 3 trends shaping the future of healthcare
Healthcare has taken a significant step toward digitalization. What are the top 3 benchmarks shaping its future?
What are the top 3 trends shaping the future of healthcare?
In the span of just two years, the healthcare industry underwent the most remarkable transformation, adapting to the new digital reality. While medicine and technology have always tried to go side by side, the pace at which the healthcare sector has recently conducted omnichannel digitalization is nothing short of amazing.
IoT devices, AI-driven diagnostics, and daily medical practices powered by virtual and augmented reality have already become commonplace in most medical facilities. However, the issues of accessibility and equitability of med services remain unresolved.
Given its complex and challenges-filled nature, healthcare cannot adapt to technological reality overnight. Although the past two years were full of innovation, there are more significant breakthroughs in sight as 80% of medical vendors expect to ramp up investment in digital health over the next five years ]. At the same time, digital med-oriented companies draw more and more funding, raising $14.7 billion in the first half of 2021 .
Medicine has already taken a step toward a well-rounded online reality, and the directions for its advancement seem obvious. However, what are the main trends shaping the future of healthcare?
Trend №1. AI adoption
Considering the constantly increasing amounts of medical data, the introduction of AI algorithm-focused software platforms into daily practice has greatly facilitated the workflow of physicians. AI algorithms are designed to filter, organize and find patterns in large data sets, thus allowing сlinicians to focus more on the patient rather than on routine tasks. However, this is not the only field of AI implementation. Although not all HCPs advocate the introduction of AI into their practice, the technology can help with diagnosis, analytics, and predictions pushing clinicians to informed decision-making
AI-based algorithms can help healthcare providers quickly reach a correct diagnosis based on previous medical cases, symptoms, complaints, and other data. As a result, physicians can move on more quickly to the most crucial stage — treatment. For example, this approach may apply to:
With predictive analytics, healthcare providers can determine which populations are most at risk for disease, while physicians — identify early disease warning signs before they can cause serious harm. Based on previously identified data and considering the patient's present condition, AI can also become the right hand of the physician to provide more personalized medicine for each patient.
What’s more, about 77% of medical service providers say they are either seriously exploring options or have already implemented technology to provide personalized medicine, as per the study . Such input is more likely to ensure the long-term growth of AI technology in the medical sector. Indeed, according to Grand New Research, the global healthcare AI market was estimated at $10.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38.4% from 2022 to 2030 
Trend №2. Telehealth
Virtual healthcare services have not been spared from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: several changes have struck them as well. While previously revolving around urgent care, today's virtual healthcare services are increasingly focusing on longitudinal online care, integrating telemedicine solutions with other tech stacks, as well as introducing a hybrid online/offline format for providing top-notch services. All to improve patient care under any circumstances or conditions.
McKinsey found that telemedicine has grown 38 times from its pre-Covid-19 period , with an expected reach of $185 billion by 2026 .
Meanwhile, hospitals lost about $161.4 billion from March to June 2020 due to canceled in-person visits, as stated by AHA . These losses could have been avoided or reduced with a well-functioning system of online doctor-patient communication and the provision of appropriate services in their remote interaction.
How can telemedicine help both doctors and patients?
- To make medicine more accessible by allowing people of all abilities to "visit" a physician, including a narrow profile one.
- To reduce the direct contact between a doctor and a patient, limiting the spread of infectious diseases.
- To provide a more convenient form of interaction without loss of time for both doctors and patients.
Trend №3. Enhanced medical data security
Electronic medical records contain one of the most valuable elements of the medical business — confidential patient information. By moving to online mode, companies have faced serious problems regarding data processing and storage: hacker attacks and data leakage. Overall, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, there were 712 healthcare data breaches. This was a new record for healthcare data breaches, exceeding last year's number by 70 cases .
Deloitte identified the following perils as the main ones for medical facilities :
Malicious links infect computer systems with malware.
- MITM attacks
“Man-in-the-middle” attacks involve hackers infiltrating conversations or data transmissions to obtain confidential information.
Cybercriminals encrypt data and block access to the entire medical system.
- Network attacks
HTTPS spoofing, ARP cache poisoning, and other malicious attacks aimed at damaging the wired and wireless networks that provide access to patient data.
Given the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, data breaches, and the sensitive and confidential nature of medical data, security has become the number one priority for most online-oriented med providers. And this tendency is only gaining momentum. Ensuring complete data security and maintaining patient trust is one of the main focuses of medical businesses. That's why before launching your medical startup, make sure its future functionality complies with standards and regulations — such as HIPAA and GDPR as the most obligatory of all.
Note: Depending on the type of would-be medical solution and the location of your users, the application of certain regulatory standards may differ. For example, PIPEDA regulates the storage and handling of Canadian residents' data, while the DPA applies to UK users.
Given the far-reaching step it has taken toward innovation, it looks like healthcare has a bright digital future. With the introduction of AI, smart data storage, and the ability to cross-platform doctor-patient integration, healthcare businesses have chosen the right focus — a preventive and patient-oriented one. Nevertheless, the challenges of data security, integration of legacy systems with new ones, and flexibility regarding doctor-patient engagement remain unresolved.
To succeed in such a demanding and highly competitive market as healthcare technology, detailed user research, a well-designed roadmap, and the use of optimized technologies may not be enough. Behind every new project, there are people: your team and partners. If your medical project needs well-thought-out development and a timely launch, our med-and-tech-savvy team can be at the helm of your startup. Contact us, and we'll get you up and running!
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- McKinsey, Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality, [last accessed: 27.07.2022].
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