Technological advancements are shaping the future of healthcare since they can solve the new challenges emerging with the changing dynamics in the healthcare industry. Despite a variable growth rate since 2010 (2-8%), the global medical technology is expected to grow at 5% per year by 2022 (Source: Statista).
Telemedicine — a pivotal aspect of technology in healthcare — is expected to have a global market value of over $41 billion by 2021. Innovations in AI-based solutions are playing a significant role in the technological transformation of the healthcare industry. According to forecasts, they are expected to generate $6.7 billion in revenues by 2021. (Source: Statista)
Further diving into these facts, this blog discusses some of the significant trends that are shaping the future of healthcare and the factors driving them.
Top Trends Shaping the Future of Healthcare
The traditional healthcare systems are failing in several ways. And, the emerging trends are mostly the solutions to revive the industry as a whole.
Crisis Solutions for Managing Pandemics
In general, chronic health crises such as opium abuse or lifestyle-related obesity pose heavy burdens on the USA’s healthcare infrastructure. On top of that, pandemic situations like the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak further widen the existing cracks in the system, making it more prone to misuse, corruption, and inefficiency.
Advancements in data solutions, analytics, and monitoring are helping not only health providers but insurers, health industry officials, and NGOs, by enabling better compliance, resource allocation, and behavior analysis. It also leads to a reduction in treatment costs for the patients.
Remote Patient Care & Telehealth
Inadequate access to healthcare facilities is probably the most prominent issue, both globally and in the U.S. This could be due to a lack of proper infrastructure or awareness, high costs, a low supply of healthcare professionals, and several other factors. Moreover, distance and other physical barriers often inhibit doctors from reaching out to patients.
By eliminating physical barriers, simplifying infrastructure, and reducing recurring costs, remote patient care and telehealth solutions are enabling better access to healthcare, especially among the previously excluded section of the population.
Consumerization of Healthcare
Following the trends in other industries, the healthcare sector is also becoming more customer-centric. It is increasingly prioritizing personalized solutions to enhance the ease of access, which can be seen as the emergence of something along the lines of Healthcare-as-a-Service.
There’s a trend for charging the patient for the value they receive. This mandates the prioritization of quality, which determines the cost and not the number of services.
Population Health Management
The generation, analysis, and channeling of massive amounts of data are enabling unprecedented medical research. Immense strides are being made in the fields of DNA analysis, genomics, medical imaging, and precision medicines. In turn, this is ensuring more efficient upkeep of public health in general.
Key Factors Driving the Healthcare Trends
This section outlines some of the key factors that are driving the trends mentioned above.
Use of Emerging Technologies in Healthcare
The increasing use of technology in healthcare is making the industry faster, more efficient, more reliable, and more accessible. Technological integrations are also simplifying healthcare infrastructures, while significantly broadening their reach. For instance, doctors can now reach out to their patients through telehealth solutions, without having to set up full-fledged establishments to provide treatment.
Further, much of the repetitive, routine healthcare tasks are being automated, thus freeing up the industry’s workforce to focus more on the intuitive aspects of caregiving.
Rising Costs of Treatment
By 2028, healthcare costs in the U.S. are expected to cross $6.2 trillion, meaning $18,000 per person per year (Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). The aging population is spending more on healthcare. Also, high equipment costs, administrative wastage due to complex infrastructure, high insurance fees, and high deductibles contribute to the rising end-user costs for treatment.
Simpler infrastructures directly translate to reduced costs in the long term— both for the healthcare providers and the end-users. Further, the introduction of real-time monitoring and analytics is allowing insurers and other health industry stakeholders to eliminate guesswork and gross calculations while determining costs.
Increase in Aging Population due to Improved Healthcare Facilities
By 2035, the aging population (>65 years) is going to outnumber children (<18 years) in the U.S. This means a massive increase in demands and costs. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
Telehealth, novel software solutions, and other digital solutions are focusing on enhancing the quality of healthcare. These solutions provide a way for patients to access treatment from their homes, which may prove essential for an aging population. Further, AI-based medical devices ensure effective, real-time health monitoring.
As consumerism takes a stronghold in almost every industry, healthcare is also putting more focus on personalization and user participation. Shifting away from the traditional inflexible and rigid services based on a one-price-fits-all model, healthcare consumers are demanding more value while preferring to pay only for what they get.
New Healthcare Models
As customers take a more central position, lesser costs for quality treatment (long-term results) are the primary determinant of healthcare’s value. That is, consumers demand to be sick less often and to stay away from hospitals. This is causing a shift towards a more preventive approach to healthcare, enabled by the emergence of fitness monitoring solutions.
Emerging Technologies Transforming the Healthcare Industry
In this final section, let’s discuss some of the emerging technologies that are significantly changing the course of healthcare.
Bridging the physical gap between healthcare providers and consumers, virtual healthcare solutions are mitigating the worst pain point of the healthcare industry— inadequate access.
Patients can interact with their doctors over video conferencing. Doctors can leverage a range of wearables and other monitoring solutions, which collect the patient’s health data. Using this, healthcare providers can ensure real-time analysis of health status, especially for elderly patients.
AI-based healthcare bots and virtual healthcare assistants are acquiring a promising role in shaping the future of healthcare. Chatbots can be used to offer consumers with ways to connect immediately for query resolution and for seeking reliable information.
Moreover, AI-based solutions can also be used for making clinical decisions, disease management, re-admissions, treatment planning, patient safety, quality assessment, supply chain management, cancer care, and diagnosis.
Robot-assisted surgeries are a potent means of minimizing error and risks, while significantly enhancing the precision, flexibility, and control over surgical treatment. Often, the procedures involve little or no invasions or scars.
As evident, technological advancement is playing a significant role in ensuring a better healthcare system for all. Several emerging solutions are enhancing the efficiency, speed, and scope of healthcare. The development speed and scalability are very crucial for healthcare solutions since any delays may cost lives.
Enabling healthcare providers to harness the full potential of technology, Unthinkable offers software solutions that help you reach a broader market at a faster speed, using intuitive methods such as reusable code blocks known as Technology Extensions. Get in touch today and contribute to the shaping of healthcare’s future.
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