From telemedicine to the usage of AI and more, read on to learn more about what’s in store for healthcare technology in 2023 and beyond.
As technology advances, so does the ability to bring innovations and solutions to the healthcare industry. In recent years, we’ve seen some impressive healthtech advancements, with companies like Apple and Google creating their health-tracking platforms and telehealth (providing healthcare remotely via telecommunications such as computers, tablets and smartphones) becoming more mainstream.
With the global digital health market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6% between 2023 and 2030, let’s look at the top three trends that will be shaping the said growth and how they impact healthcare in the future.
Increase in telehealth or telemedicine
With the outbreak of Covid-19, telehealth has gained a great deal of popularity, and the trend is expected to continue. Globally, the telehealth market is valued at US$83.5 billion and is expected to grow by 24% between 2023 and 2030.
This should come as no surprise, as advances in technology have made it easier and more affordable to set up telehealth services. Also, there is a growing recognition of the benefits of telehealth, such as timely access to care and reduce costs, both for patients and the healthcare system as a whole. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for safe and convenient ways to access healthcare services has been further highlighted.
As the field of telehealth is constantly developing, we can expect more advances and innovations in the coming years. This will require healthcare providers to invest in new technologies and staff training to prepare for the growing digital transformation of healthcare in the coming years.
Expansion of the wearables market
Fitness wearables have become an integral part of society, with fitness trackers like smart glasses and smartwatches becoming more and more mainstream. Some popular wearable devices include the Fitbit Flex and Apple’s Series 7 smartwatch, which allow users to record their step counts, sleeping patterns, blood oxygen saturation monitor, electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor and heart health monitoring throughout the day.
Wearable technology has more than tripled in use in the last four years due to consumers’ increasing desire to monitor their health and vital signs. More than 80% of consumers are willing to wear fitness technology, according to research from Insider Intelligence.
Also, there is an enormous demand for wearable health devices from those with health conditions. The U.S. Health Information National Trends Survey conducted in 2019-2020 estimated that around 3.6 million people with and 34.4 million people at risk of cardiovascular disease used wearable health devices. However, that only translates to a small group of people suffering from (18%) and at risk of (26%) cardiovascular disease, while more than 80% of the latter group expressed that they are willing to use wearables to improve their health.
As a result of this growing demand, the wearables market is likely to continue to boom. According to the Wearable Healthcare Devices Market Outlook report published in December 2022, the global healthcare wearable device industry is expected to grow by 3.8X by 2032.
Increase usage of artificial intelligence (AI) in treatment and preventive tech
AI has helped the healthcare industry develop new drugs and treatments and improve diagnostic accuracy. One example is Microsoft Project InnerEye, a radiotherapy AI tool that dramatically speeds up the process of detecting and treating cancer. Another great example is Brainomix e-Stroke system developed in the UK. It can receive real-time decision support in interpreting brain scans using state-of-the-art AI algorithms. This helps patients get the correct treatment at the right time and place.
In addition to diagnosing diseases, AI can also improve mental health effectively by tailoring its services to the individual needs of each user. Also, users can seek support and guidance from AI-powered mental health services outside of traditional therapy hours and in a variety of formats (e.g. chatbots, guided meditation or breathing exercises).
Some mental health apps like Headspace and Calm could personalize relaxation techniques, meditations or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises for users using their AI algorithms. CBT is used to treat anxiety and depression by helping people learn how to manage their thoughts and emotions healthily. These AI algorithms alter their recommendations based on collected data, such as users’ self-reported mental health states, whether they finish an exercise and the frequency of app use.
The future of healthtech is bright. In the years to come, technology will play a more indispensable role in the healthcare sector. These three trends are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential that technology has to improve medical treatment and outcomes. As 2023 begins, it will be interesting to see how these trends develop further and what exciting advancements they bring us.
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