The COVID-19 pandemic shed a strong light on the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of healthcare sectors all over the world. But it also had a positive impact as it motivated the right people to invest in technologies and systems that can take the healthcare industry to a whole new level.
According to Rock Health’s Market Insights Report, in 2020, there were investments of over $14 billion dollars in US digital health companies.
As a result, we should start to see massive developments in innovation and technology used to improve the medical experience and bring medical research up a notch.
Plus, all these investments managed to set a few trends (such as the adoption of digital health or telehealth) that healthcare organizations should be aware of. Moving forward, we’ll discuss some of the most powerful trends and why they matter for anyone invested in the healthcare sector.
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Communication between specialists, hospitals, clinics, and even patients and their healthcare providers is still a tricky and sensitive subject. After all, medical information is extremely sensitive and personal so you have to be extremely careful when it comes to sharing.
However, the lack of proper communication channels also hinders the medical process and can impede research projects. That’s why there are tech companies working on specialized systems like the EHR interoperability software platform.
This type of technology allows specialists to safely share patients’ records and history (with the patient’s consent) with other specialists involved in the care of the same people. This allows specialists to collaborate with labs, pharmacies, and other providers in order to make sure the patient receives optimal care.
Telemedicine got very popular during the pandemic, when around 30% of all visits were provided remotely, via devices. And, given that many patients and consumers were happy with the process and results (no more long walks to the clinic or hospital for a checkup) the niche started to receive a lot of attention from investors.
As the field develops, we start to see more opportunities and technologies for remote patient monitoring and preventative population health management. As these trends become more common, it is expected to see a drop in emergency care load and readmissions.
Overall, telehealth technologies can improve access to care while also reducing patient costs and effort. It’s also a way to reduce demand on facilities and help medical staff improve management.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI systems are already used at a large scale in other industries, but in healthcare, they can truly make wonders. For instance, with the use of specially-trained AI systems, we can now diagnose some medical conditions more accurately and faster than ever before.
Plus, as the global health data volume expands, AI systems will have access to an ever-growing pool of information which will help them improve accuracy and speed. This is important for diseases where early diagnosis is crucial (such as cancer) and specialists are quite optimistic for the future.
Overall, the news is encouraging, but we still have a lot of work to do. There are lots of healthcare business ideas and innovations out there, but we need close collaboration between governments and the public sector to move forward.
Plus, as technology gets better, the healthcare system also needs to shed some of its slow processes and antiquated systems. While some redundancies make sense even in today’s world, there are many practices (especially around charting and keeping patient information) that need to change.
Still, the fact that investors are willing to put their money in the game is a huge step forward. The future may be a lot closer than we think!