Global digitization and shift in customer preferences place new competitive challenges for healthcare providers. Today, those health companies that empower their services with a digital approach have all chances to stay afloat in the market. However, they have to realize which tech updates will benefit their business and provide outstanding customer experience and which ones can turn into irrational spending. That’s why healthcare providers follow digital health industry trends and implement them in their health apps with the help of professional outsourcing software development teams like SCAND.
In this article, you’ll find out why digital health transformation is important and what digital trends will be relevant in healthcare in 2022.
What Is Digital Health?
Digital health is a broad term, it implies the use of information and communication technologies by patients, doctors, and other healthcare participants for medical purposes. This way, digital health is the utilization of telemedicine, wearable devices, mobile healthcare apps, and other digital solutions.
The use of digital technologies in healthcare is becoming a more common practice these days. In 2020, with the COVID-19 outbreak, digital healthcare became especially popular. Due to massive lockdowns and the high workload of doctors, for many the only possibility to get medical consultation was telemedicine. Its global market was valued at $50 bn in 2019 and is predicted to grow 9 times by 2030, reaching $460bn. Meanwhile, many people started paying more attention to their health and the market for wearables started rapidly growing. It’s expected to enlarge more than four times in size from 2016 to 2022.
The global digital health market is continuing to expand and currently, it’s one of the most popular digital trends to invest in. According to Statista, its value reached $200bn in 2020 and is forecasted to exceed $500bn by 2024.
5 Digital Health Trends of 2022
Here are the main digital trends in the healthcare industry to expect in 2022.
Mobile phones are the most common gadgets used to access the Internet. CNBC predicts that 72.6% or 3.7 bn of internet users will connect to the internet only via their smartphones by 2025. Currently, the number reaches 2 billion people, comprising 51% of the world’s mobile users. Given this, in 2020 there were more than 90,000 new digital apps placed in app stores, and 250 more apps are added every day. All these stats prove that mobile gadgets work perfectly for digital health transformation. But, how can healthcare companies use smartphones to provide services? Here are some examples:
- obtaining “on-demand” services – consumers can get convenient services depending on their own schedule and at any place; e.g. making appointments with doctors using telehealth, quickly reaching their health records and sharing them with other doctors, and much more;
- access medical information – patients can quickly obtain the needed data using mobile apps, e.g. learn more info about doctors they plan to visit such as their previous working experience, working hours, consultation fees, etc. and choose the best option; find out where are the nearest medical facilities in their location or how to get there, and other info;
- undergo medical examinations – mobile apps combined with wearable gadgets allow patients to have quick health checks to some extent and avoid visiting break-and-mortar facilities for simple tests, e.g. blood pressure checks, saturation rates, etc.
The increasing use of Big Data and cloud computing in medicine opens up new opportunities for health organizations, one of which is predictive healthcare. Modern technologies generate massive amounts of data. Studied with advanced analytics tools the data can be turned into valuable insights on how to better treat patients.
For example, Big Data analysis can determine some chronic conditions in patients and give clues when and how to stop seizures or any types of attacks. Apart from that, doctors can use predictive healthcare instruments for more effective diagnosis or during operations. All these become possible due to the implementation of
- wearable technology that controls patients conditions 24/7 and generates the data for analysis;
- cloud platforms for rapid access to data and its processing;
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning components used for creating data analysis programs;
- the blockchain technology that ensures doctor-patient confidentiality by providing increased security.
It’s expected that the Global Healthcare Predictive Analytics Market size will reach $7.8bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 21.17% from 2020 to 2025.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Using VR for medical purposes is the most impressive undertaking in the healthcare sector. While some still associate VR with the gaming industry only, it’s been successfully implemented in medicine. For instance, pain and anxiety treatment, post-traumatic stress disorders, and even rehabilitation after strokes. Another example of efficient VR adoption is to use it for training social skills in role-playing environments for people with autism.
Apart from treating patients, VR can be successfully utilized by doctors for upgrading their skills in safe VR environments. Moreover, they can use VR headsets to plan complicated surgeries.
Although VR is in the early stages of its general adoption in healthcare, it’s expected to become more widespread among medical facilities. Grand View Research predicts that the AR/VR in the healthcare market will reach $9.5bn by 2028, expanding at a CAGR of 27.2% from 2021 to 2028.
Using wearable devices for personal health tracking is a common practice among fans of a healthy lifestyle. Recently, it was adopted by medical facilities. Doctors can learn more about their patients’ conditions by aggregating data with the help of wearables.
Now, patients don’t have to undergo medical checks. Instead, wearables aggregate precise and detailed data on patients’ health status 24/7 and provide them to doctors at any moment. Based on the aggregated data, they can make a more correct diagnosis, but more importantly, prevent the development of any health problems or provide timely treatment maintenance.
Currently, the most commonly used wearables include electrocardiogram monitors, oxygen meters, blood pressure monitors, exercise trackers, and others. The popularity of utilizing wearable devices for medical purposes is growing. Market and Markets predicts that the global wearable devices market will reach $30.1bn by 2026 from $16.2bn in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 13.2% in the forecasted period.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major digital transformer that brings changes to healthcare. Though it can’t be implemented as a stand-alone feature, it gives the basis for most of the digital technologies used in the sector. AI lies at the core of advanced analytical tools, data aggregating and processing, chatbots, virtual health assistants, and much more. Therefore, when health companies invest in the development of a particular feature for their mobile apps, they are highly likely to invest in AI as well.
According to Market and Markets, the healthcare AI software, hardware, and services market will grow from $6.9bn in 2021 to $67.4bn by 2027, rising at a CAGR of 46.2% in the period from 2021 to 2027.
Here is how healthcare companies can empower their digital solutions with AI technology:
- improved services – with AI, healthcare organizations can study their customers’ needs in more detail and better address customer dissatisfaction; moreover, they get access to general statistics over an entire organization, finding out ways to improve their services as well as working conditions for doctors and staff;
- personalized therapy – doctors can provide personalized treatment based on studying patient’s data with AI and finding out the appropriate drug combinations and medical procedures for each case;
- precision medicine services – when companies provide personal healthcare plans based on a patient’s genes studies;
- radiology – to compare images of parts of the body for diagnostic and treatment purposes;
- vaccine and drug discovery – AI can process realms of data and find its patterns or common uses, make different estimates, build prototypes, perform other scientific research, and much more.
Digital transformation in healthcare is real and present, disrupting conventional approaches in treatment and provision of medical services today. Those companies that want to keep the competitive advantage in the market have to stay updated with the latest digital trends in the healthcare industry and successfully incorporate them in their software solutions.
Healthcare businesses need to know how to wisely implement the latest IT innovations in their apps. Therefore, many of them prefer to hire a professional healthcare software development company rather than developing software apps on their own. This way, they achieve the best balance between quality and cost while ensuring the effectiveness of the created solutions.