Digital health trends in 2021 will be far more exciting than ever before. Healthcare businesses are now finally looking to take risks to become more technologically occupied and somewhat tech-dependent. Sadly, so far, health care businesses have been slow to adapt to technology, but we could say that the pandemic has forced this trend with a new wave of remote healthcare.
Shifting your business to depend on tech requires a mind ready to take risks. Since it is still early for e-healthcare, investors can be unsure which technology could be reliable and worthy of investing in. It shows why, according to a survey’s results, almost 15 percent of companies had gone digital for all other industries combined, whereas only 7 percent of companies could say the same in the healthcare industry.
However, with the pandemic restricting physical meetings in 2020, it has forced healthcare businesses to focus on improvising health technology to do the service as remote as possible. In light of these events, we can expect some new digital health trends to take charge in 2021.
The Spread of Telemedicine
Telemedicine or telehealth refers to virtual or remote doctor consultation instead of physical meetings in brick and mortar clinics and hospitals. The worldwide practice of telemedicine has shown how convenient, useful, and more comfortable this approach is. Remote consultation allows patients to consult with some of the top relevant doctors around the world for better health advice. Apart from remote consultation, the increased use of medical devices has shown high dependence on remote monitoring devices and sensors for cancer patients. Telemedicine will further grow as the world will see new devices expected to be introduced in 2021 as the reliability of remote consultation has increased over the past year.
Nasim Farrokhnia, the chairperson for eHealth doctors in Sweden, said at a HealthTech event, “It’s about a broader scope of care and new patient groups.”
AI in Digital Health
AI has a huge role to play in the transformation of the healthcare industry. PARO, a therapeutic robot, is already improvised through AI to improve the conditions of dementia patients. But this is just the base; AI is expected to reshape the world of health care through precision medicine, genomics, drug discovery, and medical imaging. AI can use pattern recognition to prescribe treatments to cancer patients based on their symptoms and their body condition.
Furthermore, AI can be innovative with machine learning and make the drug development cycle more concise. What is even smarter is that recently in the USA, some researchers managed to develop an AI which can detect COVID-19 just by the sound of a cough, even in asymptomatic patients.
Apps and Wearable Devices
The world is seeing more and more solutions for measuring chronic illnesses through devices. This could save a lot of money as chronic diseases account for 80% of healthcare expenditure. The market for wearable devices is increasing rapidly by providing new solutions for multiple health concerns. This includes heart rate sensors and exercise trackers to measure heart rate and performance. To monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics, we have sweat meters, and we also have oximeters that monitor the amount of oxygen in the blood for respiratory patients.
Smartphone applications are now also being introduced to support smartphones for performing healthcare activities. Apps like Epocrates and Medscape are some commonly used applications that show how the trends are changing. A bill was recently passed in Germany, which allowed doctors to prescribe applications to their patients for therapy. Kalmeda is one app that is commonly prescribed, and it provides guideline-based behavioral treatment for chronic tinnitus exposure. Apps and devices are empowering patients to monitor their health conditions and take steps accordingly. It gives them a better guide as to when or when not to consult a doctor. The market, which was valued at $8 million in 2017, is expected to rise to $27 million by 2023.
Apart from these influential trends, other routines expected to become norms in the year 2021 include; digital health hubs, cross-border collaborations for similar health concerns, virtual reality in the healthcare market, and national digital health portals, and the use of big data. These trends, too, will progress swiftly this year and make their place in the market.
Now is the perfect time to invest in the digital healthcare sector. This is the right time to be innovative and create new products and services in this industry or improve the existing ones. The industry is expected to grow massively in the coming years.