Unprecedented intersections between technology and medicine are reshaping the healthcare industry and the quality of care worldwide. From integrating medical devices and robotics to predictive analysis, the acceleration of healthcare technology trends drives the industry forward. However, there's still much concern surrounding labor productivity, data security, and quality of care.
These critical problems impact the lives of millions of people, and the adoption of advanced tech brings along a promise of their resolution. In this article, we'll dive into the technology trends in the healthcare sector and how they address most pressing industry challenges.
- As productivity bleeds, the need for healthcare technology rises
- Top 10 trends in healthcare technology
- 1. Accelerated emergence of AI-powered workflows
- 2. Growing use of data analytics
- 3. Enhanced data interoperability
- 4. Popularization of intelligent virtual assistants
- 5. Risk prevention with predictive analytics
- 6. Blockchain-powered transparency
- 7. Growing use of wearable devices
- 8. Emphasis on security and compliance
- 9. Consistent evangelization of mobile health practices
- 10. Ongoing cloud adoption
- Taking one step closer to the future of healthcare technology
As productivity bleeds, the need for healthcare technology rises
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector exhibits alarmingly slow growth in labor productivity. Although the number of hospital workers increases and the hours worked compound, labor productivity remains static at best. The slow pace of technology adoption is identified as a contributing factor to this anemic labor performance.
Healthcare providers are swiftly realizing the need for new technologies to enhance performance, achieve superior patient outcomes, and reduce treatment risks. While healthcare productivity leaves much to be desired, the industry is already making steps toward adopting advanced technology.
Top 10 trends in healthcare technology
The adoption of innovative technology will help resolve current inefficiencies while increasing the overall productivity of healthcare organizations. Let us look at the major healthcare technology trends shaping the industry's future in 2024 and beyond.
1. Accelerated emergence of AI-powered workflows
As healthcare institutions deal with dropping productivity while maintaining or even increasing the number of employees, they face critical inefficiencies in terms of spending. At the same time, many industries, such as financial services and banking, quickly adopt automation and AI to expedite routine tasks and optimize processes, thereby optimizing the employee workload.
The good news is that AI-powered automation efforts are already underway in the healthcare sector and their role will continue to grow in the following years.
A notable example of the adoption of AI in healthcare is diagnostic imaging. This integration automates the most time-consuming steps for radiographers, allowing them to dedicate more time to patient care. AI-based reconstruction further ensures the delivery of high-quality images crucial for precise diagnoses by radiologists. The application of AI extends to simplifying cardiac ultrasound procedures through precise 3D organ modeling alongside automated measurements. Such an approach not only aids sonographers in acquiring and analyzing images more effectively but also empowers clinicians to deliver superior and more efficient care.
Looking ahead, the momentum of automation is set to receive an additional push with the emergence of generative AI in the healthcare sector. According to the survey by Bain & Company, healthcare leaders realize the most significant short-term opportunities for generative AI in alleviating staff’s administrative burdens and enhancing operational efficiencies. Notable applications include automated documentation and summarization of patient visits, ultimately netting physicians more time to concentrate on higher-value tasks.
2. Growing use of data analytics
Big data analytics involves the examination of extensive datasets to extract insights, construct predictive models, optimize processes, and more. In the realm of healthcare trends, statistics suggest that the US market is anticipated to grow 3.7 times from 2023 to 2030, reaching a total of $794.08 billion.
Research published in the Journal of Big Data suggests that implementing big data analytics could lead to a 25% reduction in expenses for healthcare providers. This is especially important considering how much data the healthcare practice generates on a global scale.
The healthcare sector stands as the foremost contributor to global data volume, constituting approximately one-third of all worldwide data. Projections indicate that by 2025, an estimated 36% of the total data generated will be dedicated to the healthcare industry. The research further reveals that healthcare organizations generate an average of 80 megabytes per patient annually. Albeit substantial, these numbers are not surprising as healthcare practice involves vast amounts of information about the patients. This includes everything, from basic info and patient history to insurance and payroll data.
3. Enhanced data interoperability
Data interoperability allows hospitals to exchange data seamlessly without sacrificing precision and meaning. Coding and data interoperability rules play a crucial role in facilitating the connection of software built with the inclusion of different technologies.
The three layers of interoperability encompass:
- Foundational interoperability, allowing different systems to exchange data through networks or point-to-point connections.
- Structural interoperability, enabling systems that use diverse technologies to send, receive, and transform data.
- Semantic interoperability, empowering systems to interpret medical terms with multiple alternative names or shared meanings.
Healthcare IT News reports that, on average, hospitals utilize software from 16 different vendors, necessitating connectivity into one system for seamless administration.
According to a recent Google survey, 55% of healthcare organizations consider interoperability adoption one of their top priorities, with half ranking it as their number one priority. Approximately 63% of respondents anticipate achieving better patient outcomes after adopting medical data interoperability.
Research from the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) indicates that 32% of patients have experienced negative outcomes due to a lack of medical data interoperability. That is why healthcare organizations will experience a growing need for data interoperability solutions and will inevitably increase their investments in medical data interoperability year by year.
4. Popularization of intelligent virtual assistants
Among healthcare technology trends for 2024, digital assistants and chatbots will play an increasingly vital role in supporting healthcare professionals by offering guidance on treatments, diagnoses, and medications. Additionally, they serve patients by addressing inquiries about their care and facilitating access to information that enables more informed decisions about their well-being.
As their capabilities expand, these virtual assistants will seamlessly integrate with electronic health record systems, facilitating tasks like appointment booking and scheduling. Furthermore, they contribute to patient adherence by sending medication intake or exercise reminders. In the future, they may even provide companionship to individuals residing alone or in remote areas, contributing to enhancing their mental health.
5. Risk prevention with predictive analytics
In recent years, predictive analytics has emerged as a promising healthcare technology trend. By extracting operational and clinical insights from both real-time and historical data, predictive analytics empowers healthcare providers to enhance efficiencies and take proactive measures.
According to the Philips Future Health Index 2023 report, there is a notable increase in the intention to invest in AI for outcome prediction among healthcare leaders, rising from 30% in 2021 to 39%.
Predictive analytics helps healthcare providers anticipate and manage patient flow, strategically deploying staff and resources where they are most needed. These capabilities, crucial during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are now integral to data-driven hospital operations. Continuous monitoring of medical equipment, such as MR scanners, also benefits from predictive analytics, allowing the identification of potential maintenance or replacement needs for hardware components. Consequently, a substantial chunk of service cases can be addressed proactively, preventing avoidable disruptions to healthcare operations.
In the clinical domain, predictive analytics supports the early detection of health risks based on vital signs and other patient data. This proves invaluable in emergency care scenarios where timely intervention is critical for patient well-being.
Additionally, predictive analytics contributes to remote patient monitoring, keeping an eye on individuals at home. By enabling early risk detection, predictive analytics facilitates a shift from reactive to preventative care, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes.
6. Blockchain-powered transparency
Blockchain solutions enable secure healthcare records, significantly enhancing overall security. The architecture of blockchain-enabled systems, relying on a decentralized network of computers, ensures top-tier security. Through the implementation of a decentralized system, healthcare providers can facilitate:
- Secured electronic health records
- Transparency in the supply chain
- Integrity of medical data
- Secure transactions
- Reduction in fraud claims
Following the stats on healthcare technology trends for 2024, the market share is projected to reach $14 billion by 2032, exhibiting a 34% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
It is also worth noting that 39.5% of healthcare organizations have already integrated blockchain-driven technologies, with an anticipated 55% expected to adopt such technologies by the year 2025.
7. Growing use of wearable devices
Over a decade ago, wearable technologies such as smartwatches entered the market, promoting healthier physical routines. The ever-expanding array of sophisticated smart health devices, which now even monitor wearers' vitals, underscores the ongoing demand for health technologies seamlessly integrated into individuals' lives, tailored to their evolving needs and preferences.
In 2024, this healthcare technology trend will continue to encourage healthier behaviors. This expansion is exemplified in applications that aid individuals in adhering to healthcare routines and closely monitor the growth and development of children. This marks a transition towards a world where people possess tools to predict and prevent potential health issues.
For instance, everybody knows about the importance of good oral hygiene, but only some stick to its basics. People tend to forget about some of the important but seemingly minor routines, and that is where wearable devices can help in building and maintaining positive habits. An electric toothbrush synchronized with an AI-powered smartwatch application can help collect brushing data and offer personalized recommendations to enhance users' routines.
This is just a small example, but connected devices may go a long way in suggesting and maintaining health routines for people with chronic conditions. Even though wearable devices are not the newest trends in healthcare, they surely are one of the most persistent ones. Such a development creates all the conditions for uninterrupted growth of demand for such devices and solutions.
8. Emphasis on security and compliance
Security and regulatory compliance stand as indispensable elements in every healthcare solution, given that medical organizations handle extensive volumes of sensitive patient data.
The healthcare sector is witnessing a significant trend emphasizing security and compliance. Healthcare providers are obligated to adhere to various standards, with HIPAA compliance being the most common requirement for medical organizations in the US.
Alarmingly, 52 million personal healthcare records were exposed in 2022 due to security breaches. IBM research underscores the gravity of the situation, revealing that the healthcare industry incurs the highest average data breach cost, amounting to $10.1 million per attack. The report further discloses that 83% of interviewed healthcare providers experienced at least one security breach. Apart from financial losses and fines, the hospitals also experience reputational losses. That is why proper security measures remain among the top priorities for hospitals worldwide and will continue to be one of the core healthcare technology trends in the following years.
9. Consistent evangelization of mobile health practices
Mobile health (mHealth) refers to the utilization of mobile devices to provide and receive medical services. Mobile apps play a crucial role in collecting medical data, conducting image analysis, and facilitating telemedicine sessions. Within the technology trends in healthcare, various types of mobile healthcare apps have emerged, encompassing doctor appointment apps, telehealth apps, patient portals, messaging apps, and education apps.
Learn how the Trinetix team designed a holistic healthcare mobile application
Predictions for healthcare trends in 2023 indicate that the mobile healthcare market is projected to grow 10 times by 2030. Currently, over 96,000 digital health and medical apps are collectively available on Google Play and AppStore platforms. These numbers point to the high rates of mHealth adoption among patients and healthcare practitioners. This is natural as more people get used to mobile devices being integral parts of their daily routines.
10. Ongoing cloud adoption
Leveraging cloud infrastructure allows for scalable, highly efficient, and secure solutions for storing and processing healthcare data in remote data centers. According to GlobeNewswire, the global healthcare cloud computing market is projected to achieve a value of $201 billion by 2032, with North America contributing 51% of the market share. Additionally, 70% of healthcare providers already utilize cloud infrastructure, and an additional 20% plan to adopt it soon.
The adoption of cloud infrastructure not only enables a potential saving in IT costs but also has the capability to reduce the number of security incidents. Cloud infrastructures are generally considered to be more secure, and since healthcare data is so vulnerable, it is reasonable that cloud adoption will be among the major healthcare technology trends.
Taking one step closer to the future of healthcare technology
The healthcare industry arguably is one of the most reliant on the timely adoption of modern technology. At the same time, we must admit apparent inefficiencies in the modern healthcare sector. Despite the growing workforce and demand for healthcare services, the efficiency of care leaves much to be desired. The good news is that the current technology trends in healthcare are already in motion, bringing a promise for more efficient care delivery and growing patient satisfaction.
If you're interested in contributing to accelerating the new, better tomorrow for healthcare by digitally transforming processes in your facility, let’s chat! Our team of vetted experts is committed to gleaning max value of any technology you wish to integrate into your workflow, from the discovery session to product launch and support.