Already well underway before the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation rapidly accelerated in the past year, introducing new tools and services to enhance patient care.
This significant change will continue to advance as health-tech funding set records in the past year, reaching $15.3 billion and surpassing biopharma in the number of investment deals for the first time. These investments collectively support products, services, and support structures that promote better patient outcomes in an increasingly digital-first healthcare environment.
As Deloitte’s Future of Health report notes, “The life sciences and health care industry is on the brink of large-scale disruption. In a future of health that’s defined by radically interoperable data, open yet secure platforms, and consumer-driven care.”
Identifying and applying the most impactful digitalization trends can help healthcare providers be more responsive to patient concerns, industry demands, and precarious financial realities. For decision-makers looking to capitalize on these opportunities, here are five digitalization trends transforming healthcare today.
#1 AI-enhanced patient care
Few technologies attract as much attention and speculation as artificial intelligence (AI). Collectively, the global market for healthcare-focused AI is expected to reach $120 billion by 2028, reflecting the expectation that the technology will reshape the healthcare sector moving forward.
A PwC analysis identified eight ways that AI is changing healthcare today, including:
- wellness support
- early detection
- decision making
- end of life care
In addition, AI is streamlining record management, creating better, more usable data that supports everything from back-office initiatives to patient care efforts.
#2 Subscription-based payment options
A cadre of tech startups are changing how healthcare providers price their products and services, using subscription-based payment options to connect price transparency and consumer preferences in a novel way.
This trend is especially important in a post-lockdown environment. More than 12 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic, reducing the number of appointments and revenue potential for many healthcare providers.
Subscription-based payment options present an opportunity to develop reliable recurring revenue streams while boosting patient loyalty.
Notably, subscription-based payment options don’t have to replace existing insurance payment models, but they can supplement these offerings, allowing healthcare providers to reach more patients on their terms.
What’s more, subscription-based payment options cater to a growing group of uninsured gig workers and millennials who frequently operate outside of the existing insurance framework.
#3 Telehealth offerings
The pandemic illuminated an indelible reality: effective healthcare often means meeting patients where they are. Social distancing and other limitations prevented many on-site consultations, but this trend will only proliferate in the months and years ahead.
According to the American Hospital Association, telehealth implementation has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic. Meanwhile, up to 60 percent of healthcare consumers want expanded telehealth options in the future.
Expanding these opportunities positions healthcare providers to expand their patient base by reaching a greater cohort of healthcare consumers, especially rural patients who often lack easy access to healthcare solutions.
#4 Mobile connectivity
Today’s patients are digital-first and mobile-centric. Investing in mobile can accelerate personalization while tapping into patient preferences.
Integrating a mobile app allows healthcare providers to easily deliver push notifications that reduce strain on patients. At the same time, healthcare providers can leverage this technology to provide 24/7 chat capability, subscription benefits management, and other patient-driven initiatives.
#5 Connected health
Technology is creating new and better connections across providers, channels, care settings, and other relevant patient care facilities. This is great news for patients as connected health technologies improve patient engagement and health outcomes across a variety of metrics.
When patients are more engaged, providers are informed, and payment methods are accessible, everyone stands to benefit. The past year reminded us that high-quality healthcare is critical for everyone. Technology’s proliferation in the next year can make this system even more effective, helping patients and providers thrive in 2022.
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