Check out seven digital health trends for 2023 that broaden access to healthcare, empower patients, enhance the quality of care, and improve outcomes.
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Digital health technology is rapidly evolving and changing how healthcare services are delivered and accessed. The pandemic was a disrupter to the entire healthcare ecosystem; largely out of necessity, health technology was propelled years ahead. The result has been a complete digital health transformation within the healthcare industry.
Healthcare technology has historically lagged behind other industries, such as the automotive industry, fintech, and eCommerce. One study of six industries showed health care trailed as much as a decade behind other industries in tech.
Reasons include privacy concerns, lengthy FDA approvals, HIPAA regulations, and slower adoption of health technology and new systems. But the good news is this is changing — there are new opportunities in digital health.
Despite the complexity, digital healthcare technology is catapulting forward, driven by visionaries, problem solvers, and, at the center, patient demand and need for access and quality care. Investors focused on the healthcare space are playing a pivotal role in digital healthcare trends.
Healthcare startups are at the helm of healthcare disruption for the greater good. Startups are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down soon. Revenues for digital health in 2023 are projected to reach more than $32 billion.
Initiatives are being taken by healthcare organizations, policymakers, and healthcare providers to ensure digital health solutions don’t compromise the quality of patient care. Some healthcare innovators are taking advantage of digital health to better address the needs of underserved populations.
Let’s dive in to review seven digital health trends in 2023!
Virtual healthcare is here to stay, with healthcare services being delivered at home, straight to your computer or smartphone. This trend will continue, as 55% of physicians said smartphones will become the primary interface within the health system.
Telehealth services are convenient, enabling patients to consult with physicians from the comfort of their homes. Telemedicine addresses virtual health services ranging from primary care needs to chronic conditions that require more frequent visits.
Although more work is needed for patients who lack transportation to healthcare appointments or have mobility issues, telehealth services are a step in the right direction toward accessibility and health equity.
As internet access issues are addressed with broadband, expect to see more widespread adoption — a boon for health equity. Telemedicine is the modern-day virtual house call from your doctor.
When surveyed, 60 percent of physicians said digital technologies enable teams to remotely coordinate complex patient care. Remote patient monitoring is the most popular use of IoT (Internet of Things) in health care.
Something makes you undeniably accountable when you wear a health data tracking device. Wearables have been, and continue to be, a hot digital health trend, but do they actually make us healthier?
Also referred to as mHealth devices, wearables range from personal fitness trackers to sophisticated medical devices that report critical health data.
Wearables empower patients to be the boss of their own health. Wearables are instrumental in elevating continuous patient monitoring from the comfort of home.
Here are a few examples of health-monitoring medical devices that are being delivered via wearables:
CGM (continuous glucose monitors) — tracks glucose levels or blood sugar in real-time, so the patient always knows their levels and can monitor trends and self-adjust behaviors accordingly.
ECG (electrocardiogram) sensors — monitor heart rate and rhythm over time and communicate information wirelessly.
PPG (Photoplethysmography) sensors — a non-invasive measurement device that utilizes optical technology to measure heart rate.
There are over 300,000 health apps available, ranging from wellness to chronic disease management to sexual health. With over 200 new health apps added each day, we can expect this digital health trend to continue in 2023 and beyond.
Activity Trackers, like MyFitnessPal
Medication Reminders, like MediSafe
Menstruation Cycle Trackers, like Flo
Nutrition and Calorie Counters, like NOOM
Talk Therapy, like Talkspace
Meditation, like Headspace
Used for decades in other industries, big data has taken center stage in the digital health revolution.
The ability to process and store massive data sets enables many advances in healthcare, including predictive analytics. This is a game changer for decision-making in diagnosis and overall disease management.
Complex patient care is fueled by an elevated, data-rich knowledge base combining the latest medical advances and artificial intelligence. One of the most common uses of machine learning in healthcare is precision medicine. Machine learning in healthcare enables a deeper understanding of specific human diseases and aids in targeted, customized paths to wellness.
Most health organizations have turned to digital medical records, with continued improvements in data security protocols that protect patient privacy and accommodate HIPAA regulations.
Patients are empowered with online access to electronic health records, and health information has become more accessible than ever before. With over 72 percent of doctors using a certified EHR (electronic health records) system, the adoption of EHR will continue to grow in 2023.
Virtual reality, which started as a way to elevate gaming, is being integrated into healthcare in ways we never imagined.
Virtual reality uses a 3D image with an HMD (Head Mounted Display), immersing the user in a virtual environment. VR provides a simulated experience that is confined to the virtual world. VR was first used to treat soldiers suffering from PTSD and has since expanded to many areas in health care.
Since then, VR has been integrated into patient care, treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and addiction. Physical therapy patients don a headset and are guided through physical movements via games for faster recovery. Who knew physical therapy could be fun?
Additionally, VR health care is used in medical training and simulation. With medical staff shortages and training gaps, and the price of headsets decreasing, VR medical training will continue to be a growing trend in 2023.
As consumers have more and more access to targeted advertising, and companies have access to more data, a rise in personalization has been climbing. Consumers have moved away from purchasing a store-shelf supplement, and instead are seeking hyperpersonalization and personal recommendations.
From vitamins and supplements to shampoo and hydration, companies are utilizing personalized quizzes and questionnaires to ascertain the specific needs of their customers. These, along with advanced digital tech gathering data behind the scene, allow the business to speak directly to their audience.
And as consumers grow in their own knowledge of the interconnectedness of their mental, emotional, and physical health, this personalization of marketing speaks to their individual preferences better than the one-size-fits-all approach of yesterday.
Digital health technology is revolutionizing health care, creating efficiencies, empowering patients, and increasing the quality of patient care.
Digital trends in health care of 2023 include:
Increased Use and Adoption of Telemedicine
Remote Patient Monitoring via Wearables
New Health Apps
Machine Learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Further Adoption of EHR (Electronic Health Records)
More Use Cases with Virtual and Augmented Reality
Hyperpersonalization in Marketing
Although there are many challenges with the healthcare system, this also creates many opportunities, and the future of healthcare is bright. Digital health trends will continue to make strides in 2023 as healthcare providers, startups, and purpose-led investors lead the charge to make the world a healthier place.