Digital transformation in healthcare – Trends
Digital healthcare is growing the world over. As per Statista, the global digital healthcare market will be recording a projected CAGR of 25% from 2019 to 2025. Consequently, the market is expected to grow from USD 175 billion to USD 660 in the period. However, post the covid-19 outbreak in 2020, the sector is expected to accelerate further. India is also following the world trend on the subject. The emerging sector is estimated to be reaching US$9,046.63m in 2022, while the review is projected to grow by almost 28%CAGR from 2022 to 2025.
What is Digital Healthcare?
Digital healthcare is the integration of healthcare services with digital technologies. Being a kind of care delivery that uses various digital tools, digital healthcare makes quality medical care services accessible, affordable, and sustainable. Furthermore, it helps healthcare providers and the governing bodies to encourage predictive and promotive healthcare.
Some of the types of technologies that are experiencing greater adoption in the healthcare industry include telecommunication technologies, Big Data, cloud/edge computing, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), internet-of-things (IoT), 3D Printing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), robotics and assistive technologies, and immersive technologies like virtual/augmented realities (VR/AR). The fact that few of these technologies, such as telecommunication technologies, help in delivering healthcare consultation in remote areas, amplifying the reach and penetration of medical services all over the country, makes digital healthcare a potent solution to address several public health challenges.
Digital Healthcare trends
There are several healthcare trends evolving in the sector. Some of the key ones are as follows.
Big data analytics
With the integration of digital technologies in healthcare services, the Government, various government and non-government bodies, as well as the service providers from all three verticals of healthcare – diagnostic, medical care, and pharmacy – are generating huge volumes of data. Analyzing these Big Data volumes can offer crucial insights, support public health policies and regulations, as well as enhance the quality of healthcare tremendously.
Some of the major benefits of big data analytics include preventing/modeling disease outbreaks and spread, promoting preventative care, early detection of diseases, reducing medical errors and enhancing treatment accuracy, facilitating real-time alerting, offering personalized care, indenting new drug therapy, and developing precession medicine, streamlining hospital administration and operations, making healthcare services more affordable.
Instant/On-demand healthcare and 5G
The rise of virtual care platform in the pandemic waves have accelerated the need for on-demand healthcare which brings medical consultation to people in their hour of need, in times of emergency. On-demand healthcare services use telemedicine technologies to remotely address convenience, eliminate hassle, ensure work-life balance and provide a competitive edge to healthcare providers. With 5G telecommunication infrastructure being rolled out in various economies including India, instant healthcare will leverage the superfast bandwidth in enhancing quick connectivity, facilitating clear audio-visual communication, and improving instant healthcare services.
Artificial intelligence for personalized healthcare
Healthcare is evolving from a one-size-fits-all approach to customized, patient-specific solutions, which is also known as personalized healthcare. Artificial intelligence has a major role to play in making personalized healthcare a reality. While the human genome, patient lifestyle habits, and historical data all contribute to creating a patient profile, it is through artificial intelligence that these data sets can be analyzed to design a suitable specialized and customized treatment regimen for the patient. AI is able to deal with the veracity, variety, volume, and velocity of patient profile data generated for personalized medicine. This helps in the creation of accurate, effective, and specific targeted therapies for individuals.
Virtual reality to help provide better training
The biggest challenge for doctors and nurses from the intensive medical care viewpoint is that they have to partially begin their practice on real-life patients after practicing their theories in cadavers and other settings. The difference is stark and unnerving. Virtual reality is a digital simulation of real-life scenarios. Medical training takes doctors and healthcare practitioners closer to real world-like scenarios and trains them in a life-like environment.
Virtual reality has several benefits to offer. It helps enhance the accuracy, understanding, and experience of doctors, and prepares them for life-like situations. It democratizes learning, and learning can be imparted to students remotely. It lowers medical costs, reduces trauma, and significantly increases the possibility of stronger outcomes.
Wearable medical devices
These are point-of-care digital technology devices, such as smartwatches, fitness bands, etc., which help patients by monitoring, recording, and sharing health data. The devices are able to capture data on a host of health parameters, such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep quality, so on and so forth. The devices benefit patients by helping them track their health, wellbeing, and fitness, and the data generated help doctors make an informed diagnosis.
In the post-pandemic world, telehealth platforms have gained much importance in providing clinical and non-clinical services in distant and remote areas. Telehealth leverages telecommunication and electronic information technologies to offer audio-video conferencing-enabled telemedicine services. The services benefit the patients by healthcare services affordable and accessible. It imparts health education to patients and professionals and supports the administration of public health.
Blockchain in the healthcare industry.
A system of recording information, blockchain is a digital technology that prevents changing, hacking or fraudulent activity in a system. As the healthcare sector generates lots of data, efficient, transparent, and secure data storage capabilities are needed. Blockchain benefits the sector by securing the recording of patient and other healthcare data and transparent management of all medical inventories. It provides tamper-resistant security and decentralizes the storage of all medical and hospital data.
Connected medical ecosystem.
The system of healthcare delivery leverages the Internet of Medical Things, or numerous healthcare devices connected to the patient care system, enhancing patient monitoring and quality of health services. Connected medical systems benefit patients and healthcare providers in remote settings as well. It benefits patients by enabling healthcare providers to make treatment regimens more targeted and personalized.
Digital technologies are still in the initial stages of proliferation in the healthcare industry. Today, they present limitless unrealized potential in scale and capabilities. The technologies will play a critical role in ushering in the next era of advanced healthcare services which will be affordable and equitable to one and all.