Currently, the healthtech industry is worth $2T. Yes, a trillion with a capital “T”. Many of the trends the industry was already headed towards were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but some new trends in android and iOS app creation took center stage. Innovators can now take advantage of the trillion-dollar business before corporations can pivot.
At Ventive, we’re already seeing some really cool ways that tech is applied to healthcare, so we want to share trends that we predict will only grow as innovators, stakeholders, and patients see how tech can enhance the healthcare experience.
1. Patient-centric Shopping Experience
Most, if not all, medical experiences involve some level of retail. durable medical equipment (DME), follow-up services, medical hardware, and software, etc., all involve options. For example, a patient might be able to choose from different products or tiered pricing. In the future, we predict that buying for your medical needs will become more and more like shopping on Amazon (including subscriptions and endless options based on manufacturers).
A medical shopping experience that mimics the patient's everyday shopping experience will be more profitable for the manufacturer, facility, etc.
Benefits: Health services more closely imitate the retail sector, increasing gross profit per customer and offering more convenience for patients.
Barriers: E-commerce platforms that navigate insurance portals while maintaining patient privacy and security, while adhering to sensitive timelines.
2. End-to-End Patient Care
A patient’s data is currently siloed across the various facilities, hospitals, providers, and offices that they visit for their medical needs. Future patient care (especially for those with higher needs) will be tracked and managed at a higher level; which means a patient's specific needs will be available and understood wherever they visit or are transferred. Providers will have context for a patient’s health history that they can access securely. The record will be attached to the patient and not to the facility or the care provider. This will elevate patient care.
Benefits: No lapse in care for patients that are transferred from facility to facility or from provider to provider.
Barriers: Breaking down silos requires high-level stakeholder collaboration across healthcare systems, as well as connecting disparate health systems.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality Enhanced Experiences
Augmented and Virtual Reality is steadily growing in quality and accessibility. This is an ongoing trend that will not stop soon and will continue transforming the medical field. The VR healthcare market was worth $2.14B in 2019 and is expected to grow to $33.7B in the next five years.
Currently, AR and VR are being applied to a wide variety of spaces:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Therapy for kids with autism
- Ecommerce trials for glasses
- Medical training
- Pain management
Benefits: Enhancing doctors’ training, providing additional eyes in the operating room, and offering a non-medicated pain management program.
Barriers: Cost, both for patients and care providers currently tops the list as the biggest impediment to the rollout of this emerging technology.
4. Insurance Copay/Cost Transparency
Patients want to know in real-time what their actual costs will be for appointments, procedures, and equipment (including vision, dental, medical, etc.) without waiting for a bill. . This will empower patients and their caregivers to understand what they owe whether they are in-network or not. This will become more of the norm in the coming years.
From the app development standpoint, this may mean creating more integrations between disparate systems, or building custom search engines that allows companies to sift through insurance company plans to give better information to their patients/customers.
Benefits: Customers use more of their insurance benefits without feeling taken advantage of and providers are able to upsell their services. (We’ve seen that in projects like this one.)
Barriers: Integrating with insurance companies may require custom app development, depending on the insurance company’s technology.
5. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning for Diagnosis
This is another trend that is already happening. AI/ML has found cancer and diagnosed issues that were missed by the human eye. This trend will not replace the need for human diagnosis but instead will augment the efficiency and accuracy of current diagnosis metrics.
Research laboratories are also using ML to sift through drug trials to find potential lifesaving drugs more efficiently.
Benefits: Better preventative care will reduce the overall cost of a patient’s care.
Barriers: Shifting government regulations and privacy concerns may hamper using AI and ML in ordinary office visits.
6. Paper Processes Streamlined
The days of endless paperwork and paper insurance claims are starting to recede into the past as hospitals and health providers realize the true cost of human errors and manual data entry. Moving to electronic check-ins and automating insurance claims will reduce the mountain of paper-pushing billing departments do.
Benefits: Reduced labor costs, faster billing and payments, and improved records management are all results of automating paper processes.
Barriers: The costs of digital transformation, and taking it on without a clear vision or stakeholder/employee buy-in, can hinder this trend.
7. Wearable Devices and IoMT (Internet of Medical Things)
While your smartwatch can track your heartbeat, without connecting it to a program your physician can access, your data will remain siloed. As technology moves to a digital-first approach, connecting medical devices to each other so that both patient and physician can tap into a broader understanding of a patient’s health condition can give insight not previously available.
Benefits: Greater data from patients for better diagnoses.
Barriers: Device integration as disparate systems try to work together and privacy concerns.
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