Digital Health Trends 2021
Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress. – Li Keqiang
The new digital age demands continuous and dedicated efforts in healthcare innovation to develop new or improved health systems, policies, products, services, technologies, and delivery methods. Having a gaze at one of the most remarkable healthcare outcomes of COVID-19, the emergence of telemedicine has become a potential and effective medium of healthcare delivery. The digital technologies being unleashed into the industry have set up an unprecedented environment for digital disruption. With the digital transformation going at a rapid pace, healthcare is expected to transform our everyday lives for the better.
Most promising innovations in Digital Health Trends
Having said that, let’s take a peek into some of the top digital health trends that are set to transform the industry in 2021 and beyond.
With the healthcare industry entering the era of digital innovation, patients seek on-demand healthcare due to their super busy schedules. The term “On-demand” in healthcare resembles consumers demanding health or medical services at their own convenience concerning time and place. In fact, we are now observing doctors gradually becoming on-demand healthcare providers to meet the changing needs of their patients in the best way possible.
Most of the big names in the U.S. health systems have already incorporated the practice of video check-ups. Virtual therapies are being used for treating a myriad of health conditions, including chronic pain, autism, lazy eye, etc.
Virtual reality (VR), which was just a fancy concept for the entertainment industry a decade ago, is now leading the digital transformation in the healthcare and wellness industry. There is hardly any industry that has not been revolutionized by VR. It is being considered significantly promising for pain management as various research on the same highlighted the positive results of the use of technology in post-surgery care and chronic pain treatment. Additionally, VR and augmented reality (AR) have been at the forefront of drastically cutting down surgeons’ training time.
IoT in healthcare
Doctors and hospitals faced major hurdles in monitoring patients’ health regularly and make recommendations accordingly. With the emergence of IoT-enabled devices, remote monitoring in the healthcare sector became possible, which unleashes its potential in empowering doctors to deliver superlative care. By leveraging the IoT-embedded wearables and home monitoring equipment, physicians can track and monitor their patients’ health more effectively. The data or health insights gathered through IoT devices enable physicians to identify the best treatment process for their patients and get favorable outcomes.
AI for early diagnosis
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the epitome of innovation and advancements in the healthcare industry as plenty of big players are eagerly investing in AI to disrupt the industry. With the healthcare AI-powered tools market projected to exceed $34 billion by 2025, the technology is poised to shape almost all facets of the healthcare industry.
The power of AI can be observed in the areas such as medical imaging, genomics, precision medicine, drug discovery, etc. The potential of AI-enabled machines to sense and comprehend data like humans have opened a wide range of opportunities for health organizations and clinical practitioners that was previously unavailable or unrecognized.
Blockchain in healthcare
In the last few years, we have witnessed Blockchain technology transforming the healthcare industry by placing the patient at the center of the health care system and uplifting digitalization at a large scale. According to a report, Blockchain in the health industry is expected to reach $890.5 million by 2023. Technology is playing an instrumental role in ensuring the accuracy and safety of electronic health records. Considering its immense potential, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are already vouching for its efficiency by investing a significant amount of money in the applications of Blockchain technology.
Experts believe that Blockchain will be the key to unlock various barriers in healthcare data sharing and ultimately enable an industry-wide shift to value-based care. In addition to that, the technology is gaining traction as a tool having the potential to solve some of the age-old problems of the healthcare industry that has resulted in the wastage of money and resources.
Wearable medical devices
With a myriad of benefits such as user-friendliness, comfortability, and convenience of home healthcare, wearable medical devices are gaining immense popularity. The global wearable medical devices market size is poised to grow from $6.4 billion in 2020 to $16.2 million in 2025, with a remarkable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4%. Companies in the healthcare sector are proactively investing in wearable technology devices having the capability to provide regular and up-to-date monitoring of high-risk patients and deduce the likelihood of a major health event.
Increasing technological advancements and customer preference for wearables (heart rate monitors, sleep monitoring devices, blood pressure monitors, activity monitors, electro-cardiographs, and electroencephalogram) primarily contribute to global wearable medical devices market growth.
Big Data in healthcare
The beauty of Big data lies in the way it helps companies understand the market, determine product budgets, and create a customer persona based on the demographics. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are heavily investing in organizing their data in a better way to leverage all the key benefits that Big data brings along.
Big data can have a significant impact on reducing the rate of medication errors through patient record analysis. It can flag inconsistencies, if any, between the drugs prescribed and the patients’ health conditions. Furthermore, big data’s predictive analysis can facilitate accurate staffing by helping hospitals estimate admission rates in the future, which not only saves money but reduces emergency room wait times.
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