The world has been turned upside down in the last two years because of the pandemic. Healthcare has been one of the primary industries affected, but it has been resilient in the face of many challenges.
Everyone in the healthcare value chain, from medical practices to doctors and patients, has had to adjust to a new situation. Many critical innovations in healthcare tech have sprung up, making old processes more efficient, cost-effective, and most importantly, improving patient outcomes.
The signs are positive for the future. According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2021 Future of Healthcare Report, roughly 80% of healthcare systems are aiming to increase their investment in digital healthcare tools in the coming five years. Here are some of the top healthcare technology trends we predict for 2022.
Top 10 health tech trends for 2022
1. Remote patient monitoring
While this is already an established movement, it will continue to be one of the main healthcare technology trends of 2022. Remote patient monitoring represents the next frontier of healthcare tech. We saw during the pandemic how helpful it was to be able to provide treatment to remote patients. It made the world realize what was possible.
Even though the medical world is slowly returning to something close to normal, the lasting excitement of remote patient monitoring has stayed with us. The benefits are many. Hospitals and medical practices can now serve more patients than before because distance is no issue. Also, with on-the-minute monitoring, patient outcomes have improved as doctors can monitor any change in vital signs much easier and respond sooner.
Remote monitoring is particularly useful for people who are injured, immunocompromised, or anyone with mobility issues. However, it is also useful to chronic patients who simply need their conditions monitored without the stress of having to travel to a medical practice for a checkup.
2. Smart wearables and devices
To facilitate remote monitoring, smart wearable technology in healthcare tech has taken off in a big way. By allowing patients to take an active part in monitoring their healthcare outcomes, wearables are taking off in 2022 and are here to stay.
Once again, this technology is not new, but we predict that its uptake will show continued growth as one of the healthcare technology trends of 2022. The range of applications for smart wearables is vast. Patients can do anything from tracking their blood pressure to their reproductive cycles. Healthcare outcomes are so much better now as doctors can use this information to create individualized healthcare plans.
Data that is collected from wearables tracks vitals over a long period of time and is more accurate in creating better patient profiles. The market of smart devices is not limited to fitness bands and smartwatches, there are devices the average person may not have thought about, such as smart inhalers, smart hearing aids, sleep bands, bio patches, and so many more.
Telemedicine is where remote monitoring and wearables meet. It is the formalized system that allows medical practitioners and hospitals to use patient insights gathered by smart wearables to provide rapid diagnoses.
But it goes so much further than that. Telemedicine is a technology-enabled health system that handles everything from prescriptions to the payment of patient accounts. Telemedicine software development and designs are improving, and the range of applications keeps growing. Most importantly, medical practices now see the value of these systems as they can save time and money and are highly efficient and robust.
In 2022, we can expect healthcare providers to strengthen their telehealth practices as they see the benefits such as lower costs, access to greater patient numbers, safe and secure medical data storage, and improved patient outcomes. It will be doctors themselves who insist that their practices take advantage of the wave of formalized telemedicine training and systems.
4. Digital prescriptions
One of the major technology trends in healthcare in 2022 will be digital prescriptions. If we stop to think about how e-prescriptions have changed how we get our medicine, we can appreciate the scale of this innovation. In the same way that mobile banking has almost totally eradicated the need to visit a bank in person, now with digital prescriptions, patients can simply use an app interface to order new medication, rather than having to visit a doctor’s practice.
There is also the added benefit that e-prescription management tools reduce the chances of human error that leads to incorrect medicines being issued. Also, electronic health records such as these can safely and instantaneously be shared with different pharmacies if a patient needs to change where they get their medicine from.
5. Virtual simulation
Virtual simulation in medical training is expected to become one of the main healthcare technology trends in 2022. This system is expected to remove many of the old challenges presented by issues like the lack of physical training sites. It also reduces the need for everyone to be in the same room at the same time, which as a remote working society we can now truly appreciate.
Virtual simulation is a more immersive and memorable form of training that fosters improved knowledge retention. A key part of virtual training is the use of what is known as ‘digital twins.’ This involves creating an anonymous digital model of an actual human patient using their real-world clinical data. This simulation is more powerful because it is a highly specific and accurate way of treating real-life cases.
Virtual simulation is all about creating and making the most of the ‘virtual patient.’ Using a powerful combination of modern technology and artificial intelligence, medical practitioners can test drugs and treatments on a patient whose vital signs are based on real patients.
Digital twins do not exist as physical models or dummies, but they are a kind of medical avatar of a real person whose full medical history is available for students to explore during training. Be it training or treatment, medical professionals can investigate different medications without causing harm to actual humans. It is more humane, less expensive, and much more convenient.
6. More compliance, less burden
Many medical practices and pharmacies were able to operate with a rare amount of flexibility during the height of COVID-19. For example, pharmacies in many countries were able to extend the life of prescriptions as patients could not travel to doctors during lockdowns. However, we expect a return to stricter compliance to be one of the major healthcare technology trends of 2022.
The hope is that even though compliance returns, it does so with hospitals and medical practices being much smarter about how they can use technology to automate and standardize compliance requirements. In the example we used earlier, emerging telehealth systems now have digital prescription packages that allow pharmacists to save data and produce drug compliance reports with much less effort than before.
7. Extended reality
Extended reality (XR) is a term that involves a combination of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). This powerful combination of technologies allows doctors to create a perception of the physical world in a digital way. It could mean creating a virtual operating theatre overlaid with images from the physical world that could include a virtual patient.
XR is a new way of training doctors, surgeons, and nurses and is expected to grow in 2022. This form of training goes beyond just digital twinning and using data from real patients, it includes creating an entirely new virtual world in which doctors can study and learn the human body. In practical terms, they do not need actual medical cadavers but could explore the organs of a virtual patient using clear and life-like images supported by VR and AR.
8. Processing medical data with AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a powerful case for being used in healthcare tech. Imagine taking large volumes of unstructured data and having to analyse readings on physical paper with the human eye to produce meaningful insights and treatment plans. It sounds cumbersome and old school. This is how medical data has been mined for years.
Now, with AI, powerful applications, supported by immense processing power, can help doctors arrive at data-driven conclusions much quicker. Preventative medicine will offer the best use of these advances. Using powerful algorithms, doctors can synthesize vast amounts of real patient data and predict problems before they happen.
9. Personalized medicine
The traditional medical system has been created so that patients must fit into each solution. For example, drugs have been created to treat the most amount of people because it is much cheaper than creating specialized drugs for each patient.
We anticipate that one of the healthcare technology trends for 2022 will be personalized medicine. Through genomics, AI, and virtual reality, medicine can finally be created in a much more personalized manner. This means treatments can be tailored down to a very specific individual level.
Take the Empa research facility in Germany for example. It uses AI and modeling software to arrive at a fine-tuned personalized dosage of painkillers for patients. This highly specific approach often allows healthcare providers to provide such accurate doses that patients feel the effect of superior outcomes immediately.
In the last two years, the global healthcare system has been stretched to a breaking point. Doctors, nurses, and support staff have been at the front lines and in many cases have averted the collapse of traditional systems through their incredible efforts. But more resilience must be built into healthcare systems in case another global health crisis arrives.
It is for this reason that medical systems need to be more agile during tough times so that flexibility can help patients. The raft of new models in healthcare tech, including telehealth is making systems more resilient. In cutting out inefficiencies and making health workforces equipped with superior tools, systems can rise to the occasion better.
The importance of software development for the healthcare industry
Healthcare tech is evolving at a rapid rate. Now is the time to take advantage of the innovations in the market. Since the pandemic, we have seen major adoption of healthcare technology in all its new forms. Many patients now expect a healthcare service that is technology-enabled and convenient.
Even firms that have not necessarily been tech companies are taking advantage of the new healthcare technology trends because it is now much easier to find a strong healthcare software development partner. There has never been a better time to take advantage and get ahead.
Why you should choose S-PRO
New healthcare apps are being developed all the time. There is an open market for new innovations and lots of space for new entrants. This is the perfect moment to find a good software development vendor.
At S-PRO, we have extensive experience in developing software for healthcare apps. We have powerful development teams with a track record of success. With us, you can maximize any of the healthcare technology trends for 2022 by developing an app to cater for this need.