The pandemic has brought attention to the fact that our current healthcare infrastructure is outdated and requires serious digital transformation. As a result, such businesses around the globe have been investing heavily in telehealth, with new solutions appearing to satisfy the market’s demand for reliable digital healthcare products and services. Though no one could have predicted the life-altering events of 2020, rapid acceleration toward digital transformation has helped us cope with many issues, from telehealth and business communication to retail. As we enter 2021, we can see a continuous digitalization trend, preparing us to respond to the many changes that await us.
Reforms and advancements in telehealth services were already on their way, but the entire industry has been forced to speed up due to unprecedented demand. In addition, the circumstances of the pandemic acted as a motivating factor that generated the need for a rapid shift toward digitalization.
Today’s healthcare systems are inextricably linked to technology. The systems use smartphone video conferencing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and other advancements to deliver the best possible treatment for patients and assist doctors in their work.
Trends Shaping the Telemedicine Market
The telemedicine age has finally started, and it’s here to stay. Today’s emerging healthtech applications will serve as a foundation for improving patient care. And all signs show us that in 2021 we will see certain telemedicine trends. Today we are discussing eight of them.
A recorded representation of a patient’s medical database is called an electronic health record (EHR). EHRs are patient-centered, real-time document-based systems that make information accessible to doctors and medical staff quickly and securely. While an EHR system can include a patient’s medical and medication histories, it is designed to go beyond traditional clinical records gathered in a provider’s office and encompass a wider perspective of a patient’s care.
In the modern medical industry, over 95% of US hospitals have begun using the EHR application, according to a 2016 survey by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) – and the advantages of doing so are apparent. Better service delivery, more reliable patient records, improve performance, and interoperability benefit EHR technology. Healthcare organizations will profit even more from the integration between telehealth and EHR.
Several telehealth providers have merged their systems with the most popular EHR tools, allowing health records data to be transferred seamlessly from one interface to another. As a result, when EHR and telehealth apps merge, the patient delivery system can be greatly enhanced. Our previous article discussed the regulations and integration challenges of integrating EHR with telehealth apps.
Telehealth IoMT and Wearable
Traditional telehealth services were designed for first-generation clinical applications, including tablets, apps for healthcare providers, and mHealth medical software. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) defines the next phase of telemedicine solutions. For mobile patient treatment, many non-traditional Android devices are being used.
Healthcare data generation is fuelled by the increasing proliferation of health and fitness wearables. The data gathered from IoMT infrastructure can streamline healthcare delivery, allow for better personalization of patient care, improve treatment preparation performance, improve health outcomes, and promote better patient care quality overall.
Traditional cumbersome devices that would have disrupted the patient environment have now been phased out. Instead, conveniently inserted in convenient gadgets or even implanted as biosensors, Microsensors have been developed due to recent technological advances in medical hardware.
Smartphones and smartwatches have since been integral parts of the IoMT. These wearables have several sensors built-in. In addition, custom-developed healthcare apps may capture patient data, offer real-time assistance to patients, or even serve as telemedicine portals via video conferencing for healthcare organizations.
Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based systems drive digitization, growth, and transformation in the data-centric industry. Healthcare organizations with vast amounts of electronic health records data supplement telemedicine solutions via Big Data and predictive analytics. Even today, we can see up-scaling innovations in Tele-radiology, Tele-pathology, Tele-dermatology, and Tele-psychiatry.
Among new surges in Telehealth, applications are on-demand patient access, ambulatory or neighborhood telehealth, Tele-ICU, and surgical/medical assistance. In addition, integrating healthtech systems to track and communicate with patients increases hospitals’ ability to offer niche services by effectively reducing readmission.
Immunology has made significant progress thanks to machine learning as well. Artificial intelligence can assist in identifying viral fragments with the properties required to achieve these objectives. Machine learning encourages people to make advances they would not be able to make otherwise. Via algorithmic methods, machine learning and predictive analytics in healthcare can increase the accuracy of care protocols and clinical outcomes. And deep learning, for instance, has already been successfully used in radiology and diagnostic imaging.
VR/AR Applications and Virtual Visits
MarketsandMarkets Research analyzed the projected rise of AR and VR in healthcare. During the period under analysis, the company expects a cumulative average growth rate of 30.7% in the AR market and 27.9% in the VR market” sentence into “In the US, the number of VR users will exceed 95 million in 2022. Another report by Fortune suggests that the global AR/VR market is set to grow worth $227 billion by 2029.” Source
Surgical preparation could become less complicated. Even the most seasoned surgeons face challenges, such as near-miss events when working on patients, but AR technology can reduce those occurrences.
Additionally, these advances can enhance medical school teaching, the most promising use of VR/AR in medicine. In 2021, top tech providers will invest in AR-based telemedicine services because of these major opportunities.
Remote Medical Services/Apps
Patients who live in remote areas cannot get immediate medical attention, so they cannot communicate with a doctor or get routine medical treatment. As a result, coverage is limited to advanced medical procedures. Telemedicine makes healthcare widely accessible to rural regions, which has historically been a daunting challenge. Doctors, therapists, managers, medicinal professionals, and all others can benefit from the promise of this novel approach to health treatment.
Telemedicine is a fast-growing and massive industry; it’s expected to be worth $64.1 billion in the United States by 2025. The international telemedicine industry is expected to surpass $191.7 billion by 2025. Approximately 74% of patients today prefer communicating with their doctors through technology rather than seeing them in person.
Rising Number of Startups
As a result of their ability to provide virtual care, telehealth applications have emerged as viable alternatives to physical clinic visits during the COVID-19 epidemic. In the first quarter of 2020, health technology startups in the United States signed 142 agreements and raised $788 million in financing. The high level of investor engagement, community support, and streamlined US regulations provide telemedicine startups with exciting opportunities.
Telehome and telehospitals, according to MordorIntelligence, are expected to rise at the highest rate in the North American industry, with a CAGR of 18.6% until 2025. Healthcare software development uses cloud-based technologies to power provider mobility and select solutions with simple user interfaces for first-time users and busy medical practitioners. Industry-leading SaaS systems, hospital-developed platforms, and public, corporate, and hybrid cloud technologies provide the computing and storage resources required to store data safely and maintain application availability. This makes it possible for healthtech startups to get off the ground and simplify their marketing campaigns.
Outsourcing of Development
Healthcare organizations are rapidly shifting to digital solutions and telemedicine app growth. As a result, healthtech organizations need top IT talent as the market becomes more and more competitive. According to the 2020 Global Managed Services Report across 29 countries, 45% of companies will outsource more than insource over the next 18 months, with 57% citing security risks associated with managing IT in-house as a key challenge. Healthcare is no exception.
Developing telehealth applications involves a considerable amount of time, commitment, and diligent project management. Most of the time, healthcare organizations cannot devote or lack the necessary human capital required for this task. Outsourcing telemedicine application development and EHR integration allows them to maintain high standards of patient care and continuously implement innovations.
Blockchain and Data Security
Despite all the buzz on the markets, Blockchain is a trend with great potential outside of cryptocurrency. For example, healthcare facilities may use digital ledgers to deliver customer account information, significantly improving data protection safely. However, the peer-to-peer structure of Blockchain requires a vast number of people to access a shared ledger anonymously.
Interoperability is one of the most important advantages of Blockchain in healthcare technologies. However, anonymity should be monitored so that patients can choose whether or not to include data for the study, consistent with the HIPAA and GDPR rules.
The telehealth network will become more active in the future, making life easier for healthcare professionals and patients. As a result, integrating both EHR and telehealth frameworks increases patient outcomes by easing health data flow, reducing the chances of data entry errors when reviewing patient information, and simplifying the billing method.
The ability of AI to work with other healthcare innovations opens countless opportunities. For example, smartphones, wearables, and emerging IoMT infrastructures promise more data sets for machine learning software to analyze, yielding improved and more accurate predictions.