The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruptions in the healthcare industry. Organizations have been exposed to tremendous challenges resulting in overwhelmed health systems and inefficient processes.
Digital transformation is crucial to overcoming these challenges. Before, the healthcare industry thrived on a face-to-face mode of service. But with the onset of the pandemic, healthcare providers were forced to embrace new technologies, accelerating the transition to digital processes. As a direct result of this transition, the digital healthcare market is now four years ahead of 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1% from 2021 to 20281.
Together with the transition to digital, the pandemic also transformed the way organizations work with one another. Healthcare companies that relied on their own resources and digital capabilities faced critical safety, equipment, data availability, and infrastructure issues. Hence, they established a more collaborative ecosystem. Partnerships between providers and non-healthcare companies brought a new mindset to find innovative digital solutions to address the crisis.
Here are the top 3 digital healthcare solutions paving the way for a more collaborative healthcare ecosystem in 2022 and beyond:
Over the past 10 years, the demand to increase healthcare access and remote patient care increased. A study conducted by the American Hospital Association in 2015 found that 76% of patients value access to healthcare rather than the need for human interaction with providers2.
But it was only during the pandemic where access to remote patient consultations was fully utilized. There was a 154% increase in telehealth visits by March 2020—a massive leap from where it was in 20193. This trend will continue to rise as more people want a seamless digital healthcare experience. Telehealth is here to stay with the market expecting to grow beyond $185 billion by 20264.
As patients and medical practitioners adopt this new virtualization mindset, healthcare companies must align their strategies to this virtual change in the market.
A transformative telehealth company, Tyto Care, took advantage of this new mindset and incorporated it into its framework. Dedi Gilad, Co-Founder and CEO of Tyto Care, said, “Telehealth is heeding the call of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud that our unique solution is aiding health systems and consumers around the world in the fight against the virus. We look forward to further expanding the reach of telehealth and introducing new solutions as demand for remote care continues to soar."5
Telehealth is not a band-aid solution anymore but rather a step-up to providing holistic care. To survive and thrive in this new environment, organizations must ride this new trend and devise a comprehensive CX strategy to fully integrate telehealth into their services.
- The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
During the global pandemic, the increased burden on medical facilities pointed out the need for related technology to facilitate, accelerate, and streamline processes. This has led to the emergence of connected devices: the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
At a time where physical restrictions must be followed, IoMT devices became even more critical for patient care. Its in-home capabilities, including remote patient monitoring (RPM), Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), and telehealth virtual visits, allowed health workers to monitor patients at a distance. Medical practitioners are even using wearables to detect COVID-19 symptoms before they manifest.
A study conducted by the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) West Virginia University found out that Oura, a wearable health and fitness tracker, can detect COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, breathing difficulties, and fatigue. In an interview, the CEO of Oura, Harpreet Rai, said, “Oura is uniquely positioned to be an effective solution for illness detection with its accurate sensors and continuous body temperature measurement. For example, Oura uses individualized baselines to determine when an individual’s patterns are deviating from their unique normal and were shown to identify a fever for the majority of the participants when symptoms were unreported or even unnoticed.”6
With such potential, it is no wonder why there is now a growing need for IoMT services—with global sales of wearable devices increasing dramatically. The IoMT market is expected to reach $284.5 billion by 2027, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5%7. More than ever, as IoMT continues to revolutionize healthcare, organizations must take advantage of this emerging technology to provide holistic patient care.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is changing and shaping the healthcare industry as we know it, using this innovative technology to improve outcomes, cut costs, and reduce pain points in the industry. This is even more prominent in AI’s use during the pandemic—from predicting where COVID-19 will spread to distinguishing COVID-19 specific symptoms8.
As AI continues to hold great promise for medical providers, its use stretches throughout all points of care. Today, it is being used in robotic surgical systems, Augmented and Virtual Reality, virtual nurse assistants, and even disease detection. With such growth, AI in healthcare is expected to reach a CAGR of 41.8% from 2021 to 20289.
But like any form of new technology, AI holds risks and challenges, especially when it comes to cybersecurity and biases in data algorithms. Taking a “human-centered approach” is essential to boost AI in healthcare. This means placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront when developing and training AI models.
For Fitbit, a leading brand in wearable health technology, diversity in research helps address health inequalities and disparities. Last April 2021, they announced a $500,000 incentive for researchers looking specifically at healthcare inequalities using Fitbit products. According to them, "By putting additional resources in the hands of health disparities investigators and encouraging wearable research in the field, we hope to generate new evidence and methods for addressing health disparities while building trust in communities often absent from human health research."10
As organizations start to adopt AI into their services, diverse representation is needed to develop AI systems that are unbiased and just.
Trust and Safety as a way to maximize tech trends in healthcare
As much as these tech trends created many opportunities for the healthcare market, the digital transformation of health services also presented several challenges, especially in cyber security. With the majority of transactions being done online, threats in data security became even more prominent.
Just last October 2020, a group of hackers attacked six US hospitals with ransomware, prohibiting access to patient records and delaying transmission of radiology imaging. These cyberattacks hinder not only operations but also produce deadly results. According to a survey conducted by Ponemon Institute, 22% of healthcare providers experience an increase in patient mortality rate due to cyberattacks11.
With this growing threat, the need for strengthened Trust and Safety measures is crucial to safeguard health records and patient data. Digital healthcare providers must set innovative strategies and solutions to thrive in such a risky environment.
Digital Healthcare: Customer and Patient Experience will always be the priority
As these tech trends rise in popularity in the healthcare space, the need for collaboration between stakeholders and providers has never been greater. The pandemic has shown how effective and quick healthcare concerns can be addressed when digital health players come together.
But to keep this momentum going, a comprehensive customer support strategy is crucial. While patients want the ease of digital technologies, personalized care is still the standard for success—with patients attributing personal touch to an ideal digital healthcare experience. Crafting innovative CX strategies with the support of the right partner will give healthcare companies the edge to thrive in this collaborative ecosystem.
At TaskUs, we focus on delivering holistic end-to-end customer experiences and prioritizing our client-partners above all else—all while making genuine connections. Our commitment to providing world-class support to HealthTech businesses allows us to produce Ridiculously Impressive outcomes that will help you grow and succeed. Reach out to our team of experts today.