Healthcare is a constant consideration in the technology development space, though the micro-trends that shape development can shift significantly from one year to the next.
As 2023 gives way to 2024, a few major trends are shaping the industry and pointing toward the next round of breakthroughs. These include:
The digital healthcare market is valued at an estimated $65.2 billion globally by Future Market Insights. The next ten years promise continued growth and expansion, with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 14.5% over the period. That adds up to a projected $253.6 billion by 2033.
While the demand for digital transformation in healthcare is high, 2022 displayed a major decline in healthcare investment, but the first two quarters of 2023 held around their 2022 levels.
Healthcare technology startups were hesitant to launch initial public offerings during 2023, but that may say more about the state of the IPO market than interest in healthcare innovation. Mergers and acquisitions did rise in number and value relative to 2022, with more activity expected for 2024.
Organizations in the healthcare space are expected to assign their design and development teams to take several different paths in 2024. Some of the latest trends in the healthcare industry are highly recognizable from other sectors — for instance, nearly every industry has been transformed by interest in developing AI-powered solutions. Others are more unique to the medical field.
The breakthrough technologies set to make an impact in 2024 include:
The development of electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) technology has opened the door for a new set of solutions. New developments are helping healthcare organizations pursue the vision behind these systems — that doctors should have easy digital access to up-to-date patient information to provide care more quickly and accurately.
Speaking with McKinsey & Company, Tencent's Alex Ng revealed a vision for the next evolution of personalized patient care in a hospital setting. EMR systems will be available to more people in a greater number of settings, from the EMTs in the ambulance to the doctors at the hospital. Using AI, these advanced next-generation EMRs will display contextually relevant information, and natural-language processing will pick up new information to add to the documents.
The patient experiences that developers are working to create will be more human-driven than the current model. While today's systems often require healthcare professionals to consult numerous fixed-location screens, having simpler ways to access and input relevant information will allow doctors to be more present with their patients while staying highly informed.
AI isn't just one type of technology. That's an important technology to keep in mind when pondering the many ways AI can help healthcare in 2024 and beyond. For example, the generative AI models that have made such a pop-cultural splash over 2023 are only loosely related to predictive analytics and other AI use cases.
From diagnostic and therapeutic roles to administration and population health management, AI will eventually have an impact in every corner of the medical field. The next few years will see practitioners pursue this immense potential while grappling with issues such as ensuring patient safety and more effectively sharing information.
The following are two distinct areas of AI with exciting implications:
Remote monitoring of patients via sensors is a cost-effective and streamlined way to keep a close watch on individuals' health. While a legacy view of telemedicine may have identified it as just a way to communicate with patients over distance, there are new, data-driven models capable of alerting doctors, carers or patients to relevant changes in condition.
A stand-alone health monitoring system powered by advanced yet affordable sensors can automatically share data with a patient's EHR. Standardization can help these platforms catch on in the years ahead, as can increased training of health professionals in their use.
In recent years, individuals have become more aware of the fact that they need to actively take care of their everyday physical and mental health. This has helped lead to a boom in healthcare that focuses on holistic everyday activities that can keep people busy and engaged, staying fit and improving their mindsets simultaneously. Software aiming at this wellness market is a rising field.
Software and hardware to promote healthy lifestyles come from multiple functional silos. Some use cases include sensor-embedded equipment and wearable devices, which are worth discussing as their own category. Others include software platforms and applications designed to track everything from daily exercise to diet. Advanced forms of these software tools can analyze patterns in activity and help people share their progress, thus gamifying wellness.
Wearable devices used to track health status, exercise history and more remain a rising category of electronics. Insider Intelligence projected that by 2025, 27.2% of U.S. consumers will have a wearable device, for a total of 93.7 million users. These include smart watches, fitness trackers, ECG monitors, blood pressure monitors and biosensors.
Promising use cases for wearable health tracking devices in the years ahead include encouraging everyday healthy behaviors and helping individuals manage their health. This kind of lifestyle change can preemptively reduce the need for hospital visits and expensive procedures, taking pressure off of medical and insurance infrastructure while still achieving better health outcomes.
A digital twin is a simulation that seeks to act as a replica of a real object or system. It's possible to perform projections and modeling on the twin to make predictions and reveal hidden patterns. The technology has important applications in medicine, helping doctors stay one step ahead of potential health problems.
Research published in Digit Health noted that digital twins have the potential to create more accurate, personalized treatment goals and projections about how patients will react to certain treatments and procedures. These predictions can lead to more precise treatment decisions, optimizing patient care.
The field of medical technology development is an industry with the potential to change the world for the better. If you're engaged in this space, you must ensure you're designing new systems up to your maximum possible capacity.
Transcenda's experts can help your team at any stage of project development, from lending engineering prowess to designing engaging and informative interfaces or even designing a product from the ground up. We recently helped Medidata revamp and unify its digital system, creating a user-friendly self-service interface for patients.
Ready to make the most of emerging trends in the healthcare industry? Contact us.