The COVID-19 pandemic jumpstarted digital health innovations accelerating the adoption of new technologies. Daniel Kivatinos, co-president and co-founder of DrChrono, an EverCommerce solution that is developing an essential platform and services for modern medical practices, shares his healthcare technology trends and predictions for 2022.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will become more common inpatient monitoring. As patients are seeking more remote medical care, IoT and wearables that can stream data to the provider and care team, this new breakthrough will allow the providers to get paid for remote monitoring but also enable patients to keep track of their own data. One simple example is an Internet connected weight scale at home, it will make a patient accountable and allow the provider to also track the patients progress.
Telehealth. Like last year, we are going to see more and more adoption of telehealth among patients and other specialties in 2022. Physicians, medical practices, urgent care clinics and care teams are turning to more virtual healthcare experiences. An Updox survey reported that 51 percent of respondents say that they would continue using telehealth services after the pandemic has ended because they like the convenience it offers.
Furthermore, a recent report from McKinsey indicates that “telehealth use increased 38X from the pre-COVID-19 baseline” further supporting that telehealth is here to stay. Daniel added, “Telehealth will become the norm in healthcare. I foresee it might even overtake normal in person visits in specific areas like mental health and physical remote therapy.”
5G networks are going to become the de facto. Similar to what happened with the landline telephone, over time consumers and enterprises may start to opt out of Wi-Fi as 5G networks become more robust and get to a point where Wi-Fi almost becomes redundant. According to Daniel, “The shift to 5G will be powerful in changing healthcare, such as telehealth, physician practices, remote technology used in surgeries and emergency rooms, sending large medical files such as X-rays and videos, RPMs and wearables and the ongoing online support that physicians need to provide to their patients during their care journey.”
Wearable tech innovations. Wearables can revolutionize the way we care for people with disabilities. Amazon created a new robot called “Amazon Astro,” which can help patients that are confined or home bound by assisting with tasks in the person’s home. This is a big leap forward for someone who can’t walk.
Another example is Apple’s AirPod; people who have been using hearing aids can use AirPods to enhance sounds when listening to music and enhance sounds in their existing environments. Imagine the possibilities that AirPods and other similar wearables can have as an essential wearable when more sensors are added. AirPods can become more than listening to music, they become “Dr. AirPods” that can check your temperature, monitor your posture, and track other areas of your health.
The future of health is more personalized healthcare. In the coming years, we’ll see a movement towards providing more personalized healthcare and being more proactive than reactive about health screenings and treatments based on patient’s health data. One example we can see trending toward this movement is 23andMe’s acquisition of Lemonaid Health and together these two companies can offer more personalized and proactive healthcare based on a patient’s DNA and health history. Amazing collaborations like this can greatly improve clinical outcomes for patients.
Blockchain and crypto are taking off in healthcare. Going forward we’ll see blockchain and crypto adopted in many different countries which will also have an impact on healthcare. “Blockchain in healthcare is ALL about removing the middleman. It’s about increasing the security of various transactional activities in the healthcare space, while eliminating bureaucracy and manual inefficiencies, improving quality of care and democratizing patient data,” according to a 2021 report by Digital Authority Partners.
It will be exciting to see the developments over time where medical facilities may be open to taking different forms of payment, for example, urgent care clinics in the future accepting bitcoin and Ethereum for care given. Insurers will also start evaluating other options for payment technology. These different forms of payment will perhaps move money from patient to clinic faster or get the provider paid faster from the insurance company. We are going to see some amazing things in the future from the crypto community and a lot of new learnings that can be applied to benefit the healthcare industry.