January 14, 2022

Category: Healthcare Industry, Healthcare Technology

IN A NUTSHELL:

  • Digital health remains the buzzword for 2022
  • Home diagnostics market is here to stay
  • Increased focus on data security using Hashgraph & Blockchain technology

The healthcare industry experienced massive change and growth over the past two years and there are several trends providers and facility administrators need to focus on throughout 2022. Digital Health is the buzzword that is here to stay, defined by HIMSS as “digitally-enabled care environments that strategically leverage digital tools, technologies and services to transform care delivery.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated innovation in nearly every aspect of healthcare and digital technology played a significant role. The influence of technology on the industry will continue its momentum in 2022 as healthcare professionals seek new methods for improved patient care.

5 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2022:

  1. Digital Patient Care Solutions

The pandemic sparked a rise in telehealth and remote patient care delivery. What began as video calls on Zoom or Skype blossomed into a multitude of telemedicine platforms. Many services are now tailored toward specific scopes of practice such as psychiatric care, pediatric care, nonemergency medical care, and general primary care. As the healthcare landscape evolves, healthcare professionals are embracing new digital health technology to improve patient outcomes. Throughout the coming year we will see a rise in remote patient monitoring, especially for acute and chronic disease management. This technology takes telemedicine one step further by allowing healthcare providers to monitor patients remotely using sensors that track vital signs, health records and other personal information. These consumer-facing hybrid solutions will slowly become more mainstream as wearable devices are integrated with virtual appointments. The challenge lies in improving consumer access by expanding broadband as well as maintaining HIPAA compliance.

  1. Distributed Ledger Technology in Healthcare

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which is similar to yet faster and more secure than blockchain, will gain prominence for its ability to offer solutions to common industry problems. Healthcare cybersecurity is becoming more important than ever as ransomware attacks shake up the industry. More than 40 Million patient records were affected by data breaches in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, taking down healthcare networks for weeks at a time and disrupting patient care across the country. Distributed Ledger Technology is an excellent solution to the issue of cyberattacks in healthcare thanks to its consensus algorithm, cutting-edge security, and speed. Hashgraph DLT enables more than 250,000 transactions per second, provides mathematically proven accuracy, and utilizes asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance (aBFT) for maximum data security. Digital health SaaS platforms using Distributed Ledger Technology hold significant potential for various healthcare administration tasks such as medical credentialing software, payer enrollment, managing healthcare provider documents, maintaining HIPAA compliance, and more.

  1. Increased Focus on Mental Health

The stigma surrounding mental health has been slowly lifting over the past several years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing mental health conditions, caused new cases for those previously not living with symptoms, and accelerated public exposure to the issue. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 people suffer from some form of mental health condition, which can range in severity of symptoms. Several factors can affect a person’s mental health, including genetics, stress, brain chemistry, and nutrient intake. Thanks to the increased exposure along with high profile celebrities revealing their struggles with mental health issues, there is an ongoing period of normalization which will increase during 2022.

There are now a plethora of therapy apps and other digital tools aimed at promoting mindfulness and meditation in order to support better mental health. However, there are also questions concerning their efficacy and outcomes which hinder their progress. The demand for digital health solutions is not going away and is only expected to increase in the aftermath of the pandemic. Yet developers of these tools must make a solid case for the suitability of digital platforms for patients dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma—all of which are found to be mental health consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  1. Patient Empowerment

As digital health tools and access to information become more widely available, patients will expect care delivery tailored to their specific needs. Gone are the days where physicians are in complete control of the patient consultation. Healthcare professionals must be open to the notion of their patients taking charge of their treatment protocol. In the age of digital health, people have access to more data than ever before. At the same time, people are also interested in knowing their medical records and having access to treatment notes. Throughout 2022 and beyond an increasing number of patients will either expect their primary care physician to offer the treatment they request, or they will seek out healthcare which offers an integrative medicine approach.

  1. Home Diagnostics

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales of Home Diagnostics witnessed a huge upsurge and the trend is likely to continue in the future. At-home testing kits are marketed as more confidential, cost-effective, and less time-consuming than a visit to a healthcare provider to receive the same information.

As digital health technology is incorporated into this sector, home diagnostic kits enable patients to check and monitor medical conditions at their convenience and easily share results with healthcare providers or local agencies using the latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

Home diagnostics go beyond a self-test for a COVID-19 infection. An increasing prevalence of various lifestyle-associated diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, along with more consumer options for detection, is causing the sales of home diagnostic devices to skyrocket.

Silver Lining of Success:

Contrary to many industries which felt growth and progress come to a screeching halt in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare leaped forward. The traditionally sluggish pace of innovation and development skyrocketed ahead. Within less than two years, it is almost as if the industry accomplished what would normally take a decade. Given the course of recent history, this progress must continue in order to sustain efficient patient care delivery and to be prepared for the next global health crisis.

At the same time, there is an ongoing crisis encompassing the entire industry. Physician burnout is at a higher rate than ever before, widespread healthcare staffing shortages affect the ability of hospitals to treat a surge of patients, and healthcare administration workflows are in need of drastic reform. The ability for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to efficiently allocate resources during an increase in demand is critical to maintain patient care operations. This process can be time-intensive and extremely expensive if facilities do not have proper healthcare management software to ease administrative burden. An Institute of Medicine study found the United States wastes half of the estimated $361 billion a year it spends on healthcare administration. That amount is more than twice the nation’s total spending on heart disease and triple the spending on cancer.

If the past two years taught us anything, it is the importance of an efficient healthcare system. Like a well-oiled machine, there are many moving parts which operate independently and together to make this possible. Fine-tuning and improving these individual parts along with healthcare operations as a whole will be front and center in 2022—largely made possible by digital health solutions.

Related Posts:

+
+