Technological innovation has played a vital role in the transformation and growth of the healthcare industry. Not only is the medical space an early adopter of emerging technologies, HealthTech is currently one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide. The global value of the HealthTech market is estimated to grow from $245 billion to $809 billion between 2023 and 2030. Driving the advancement in healthcare technology is the need to create a better patient experience, decrease costs for patients, and find innovations for treating a growing and aging population.
According to the American Medical Association, the US is currently experiencing a physician shortage that is predicted to get much worse over the next decade. In the midst of staff shortages, medical professionals are having more demands placed on their time, so HealthTech tools are more necessary than ever. Leading advancements in HealthTech are technologies that optimize efficiency, help gather and analyze data, and improve accessibility for patients. Trends that will dominate the healthcare space in 2023 include artificial intelligence (AI), telehealth, and wearable technologies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of HeathTech advancements, and its market value is growing rapidly. AI in healthcare is estimated to reach $20 billion in 2023, doubling in size from 2021. By 2030, AI’s market value in healthcare is projected to reach a staggering $188 billion. As the use cases for AI in healthcare grow and implementation expands, it’s not surprising to see such strong projections for the future of this transformative technology.
With physician shortages and burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need has never been greater for tools that can relieve the burden on healthcare workers. By integrating AI into healthcare ecosystems, repetitive tasks and workflows can be automated, saving money and freeing up more time for staff to focus on patient care. AI-powered medical documentation software like Augmedix, which converts patient-doctor conversations into medical notes and preps patient charts prior to appointments, can save clinical staff hours of manual data entry time each day.
Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI that analyzes and learns from data sets, can optimize management of patient records and provide data-driven insights. ML’s ability to analyze large volumes of data can improve health outcomes by making connections in patient records that may have otherwise been missed. Google Health, Google’s HealthTech branch, uses ML to analyze electronic health records and output predictions based on patient data points. Google Health recently announced that its AI-powered cancer screening technology, which performs better than radiologists at a margin of 11.5%, is now being used at the clinical level. As AI continues to improve, we will see more and more integration into medical practices for task automation and data analysis, and we can expect AI to become a crucial part of the healthcare industry.
COVID lockdowns greatly accelerated the pace of telehealth adoption, as virtual appointments quickly became a necessity for delivering care in the midst of quarantines. While virtual healthcare services were available prior to the pandemic, government regulations had strict limitations on who could perform and receive telemedicine services. In March 2020, restrictions surrounding virtual healthcare were relaxed, and telemedicine appointments increased 766% compared to 2019. Virtual healthcare remained popular through 2021, with 37% of adults reporting that they used a telemedicine service at least once that year.
Currently, telemedicine use has decreased from peak pandemic levels, but it remains a preferred option for routine care for many patients. According to a 2022 study, 94% of patients who received telemedicine services said they would use it again in the future, and 80% of patients now prefer virtual appointments for routine care services. Patients listed convenience and ease of access as top reasons they favor telehealth over in-person appointments. Telehealth also helps bridge the accessibility gap for underserved communities, since it removes the need for transportation and eliminates time that would have been spent in waiting rooms. While in-person visits will never fully give way to virtual, moving forward we can expect telemedicine to become the new primary care delivery model.
Wearable technology is a growing trend that has the potential to improve healthcare for millions of patients. The most popular forms of wearable health technology are smartwatches and fitness trackers, which can monitor a person’s daily steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, blood pressure, and more. An estimated 320 million health and wellness wearables were shipped to consumers worldwide in 2022 alone, and projections estimate that the wellness wearables market will grow at a CAGR of 14% over the next four years, reaching $145.49 billion by 2027. Accurate and frequent measurements from wearables, combined with AI that can analyze data and predict patterns, can aid in the prevention of life-threatening incidents before they occur.
In 2023, we can expect advances in sensor technology to further improve the health monitoring capabilities of wearable devices. Smart watches will continue to upgrade their health features, like the most recent Apple Watch Series 8, which includes cutting edge temperature sensors and an ECG generator—which Apple claims can generate an ECG comparable to that of a single-lead electrocardiogram. In addition to smartwatches, the wearables market is rapidly advancing other types of non-invasive monitoring, with capabilities for measuring biomarkers such as blood pressure or blood glucose levels. Consumer electronics company Withings is advancing the field of medical wearables with its line of wifi-enabled blood pressure monitors that can send measurements directly to a user’s physician. The BPM Core from Withings, slated to be released in 2023, will be the world’s first wifi-enabled blood pressure monitor on the market to include ECG and a digital stethoscope. Several startup companies are developing technology for non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, like Nemaura Medical’s SugarBEAT, a wearable stick-on patch with a transmitter that sends wireless readings to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth—no needles required. The wellness wearables market will be an exciting space to watch this year as advancements in technology expand the capabilities of health monitoring devices.
As medical organizations seek to improve processes and relieve overworked staff in 2023, stakeholders should consider incorporating the tech trends outlined above into their ecosystems. Since HealthTech is a rapidly evolving sector, it’s vital to find a technology partner with the knowledge and experience to meet the unique needs of your organization. Sourcetoad has been building software applications for nearly 15 years and understands how to transform various stakeholder demands and HIPAA requirements into effective technological solutions. Whether you’re looking to automate processes to gain efficiency or provide an online or remote version of your services, our team has years of experience developing, implementing, and maintaining successful projects like yours.
If you have questions about developing custom software solutions for your organization, reach out to schedule an introductory call. We’d love to learn about your needs and discuss how we can help turn your idea into reality.