TMCnet Feature
April 28, 2021

Digital Trends in the Healthcare industry in 2021

COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has changed the entire process of the Healthcare Industry now. This pandemic has transformed the digital healthcare industry. Many healthcare providers are already giving services with new trends in Digital & Virtual platform. Every healthcare provider genuinely wants to increase their capacity to engage a higher number of patients due to this pandemic crisis globally. Digitalization in the healthcare industry could offer better diagnosis, lower costs, improve work conditions for physicians and medical workers. It will also provide an overall higher standard of care for patients. We can say that this pandemic has been a trigger point for the healthcare industry is speeding up the need to adapt and accelerating the use of AI, IoT, and telehealth, among others.



Similarly, advancements in digitization will provide people living in remote areas access to top-notch healthcare facilities. The medical staff can also get comprehensive data to conduct full-width research.  Now I am going to discuss some of the major healthcare industry trends to keep an eye on in 2021.

Telemedicine:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can see an increase in the use of telehealth resources. Telemedicine is the act of clinicians seeing patients virtually instead of in physical workplaces and medical clinics. It has expanded colossally during the pandemic as populations around the world have limited physical experiences. In May of 2020, 42.5% of Medicare primary care visits utilized telehealth methods rather than in-person visits. Telehealth has many advantages and one of them is that it decreases contact between patients, healthcare workers, and other patients.

On the other hand, wearable devices allow healthcare workers to have real-time information on patient data while they remain at home. In the coming days, we are hoping for some important updates in telehealth services, which will ensure that the reach is global and the patients can have access to care delivery anywhere from the world.

Artificial Intelligence:  

We know that there are many steps involved in a patient's journey. It begins from identifying the disease, providing effective diagnoses. And in the end, there is a recuperation period over which the patient heals. Artificial Intelligence [AI] is a method to revolutionize this field by digitally transforming it. AI techniques are constantly being used by Artificial intelligence consultants in order to reveal the clinically relevant information from underneath heaps of healthcare data. This data is very important for clinical decision-making. Medical researchers have also developed AI applications that use pattern recognition techniques to look for the patient's genetic makeup and lifestyle to suggest suitable drugs. Moreover, Artificial intelligence is enhancing healthcare by transforming fields such as:

  • Genomics
  • Precision medicine
  • Medical imaging
  • Drug discovery

Machine learning helps in advancements that humans would not be able to obtain otherwise. The efficiency, precision, and speed of these developments cannot be obtained with human work alone. Immunologists have identified over one million fragments of proteins on a cell’s surface that are discoverable by T-cells with machine assistance. But, on the other hand, the use of Artificial intelligence has come with its challenges identified in the health care industry. One of the biggest challenges is its ethical use, whether it can be seen as trusted enough to make a decision on a patient’s health. Artificial intelligence is also providing strong effects within drug discovery, with the first-ever artificial intelligence, developed to help sufferers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, going into human trials this year.

Future Applications:

Voice assistants:

The use of Alexa for the completion of daily tasks in our homes has become a routine for us. Artificial intelligence would create a similar transition in the field of the healthcare industry as well with the formation of healthcare-based virtual assistants. Artificial intelligence-based assistants would help clinicians prioritize their daily tasks and automate non-core routine processes.

Medical imaging:

Automation of analysis of medical images with the help of AI has the ability to be one of the biggest applications of the healthcare industry. Analysis and aggregation of the image data, cross-referenced against the existing data-sets can be used to give the predictive diagnosis to the patients. It can be helpful on a large scale for future analysis of a certain condition by statistical analysis. It can be very useful in case of unavailability of trained personnel or in regions where access to medical facilities is limited.

Medical research:

Artificial intelligence can be used to effectively process data that isn’t possible to handle in a very short time and thus aid in research. This arranges data can be used to find population trends, match the ideal patients with clinical trials. It will also help in research studies and to come up with novel drug combinations to further pharmacological research. Artificial intelligence can sift through research data at an unprecedented rate and identify hidden patterns in a more accurate way.

Healthcare apps:

Digitalization of the healthcare industry has been on for a long time. The different technological adoptions in the healthcare industry have been successful and this is one of the main reasons the use of healthcare apps in the sector has been embraced by users and providers. The rate of such app development has been nothing short of massive, and some are thinking why there are more and more healthcare apps in this industry. The healthcare apps that have the confident features can be divided into several groups:

  • Collection and storage of various medical metrics of the user (pulse, pressure, heart rate, sleep, etc.);
  • Fitness applications (sets of exercises, performance control);
  • Applications for a healthy lifestyle (nutrition, active lifestyle, tips, etc.);
  • Apps for reminders to take medications and store medical records;
  • Apps for interaction with a medical center or clinic, including a video chat and conference options;

In the coming days with the identification of more problems, there will be more innovative ideas including healthcare apps. Another important factor that is behind the proliferation of healthcare apps is the change in the way of life of an average man. The use of mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile devices is now everywhere. We can understand that it is more convenient for people to get information, learn new things, interact, and even transact with their mobile devices. That’s why it is only natural that healthcare services be included in the trend.

Similarly, the communication between patients and their doctors has become much easier and flexible with the help of these health care apps. Due to the recent pandemic, mobile applications have made a great impact in the healthcare industry. These healthcare apps have solved most of the problems that caused reduced efficiency and productivity in the medical field. But a lot of things can still be done in this regard. It is believed that more healthcare apps will provide new ways of doing things in the medical field with the passage of time.

The importance of big data in healthcare:

Big data collects information about a business through formats such as social media, e-commerce, online transactions, and financial transactions. It also identifies patterns and trends for future use. Similar to the healthcare industry, big data can offer several advantages, including:

Lower rate of medication errors – Software can find any inconsistencies between a patient’s health and drug prescriptions through patient record analysis. In this way, health professionals and patients can know when there is a potential risk of a medication error.

Facilitating Preventive Care – a large number of people stepping into emergency rooms are recurring patients. They can account for up to 29% of visits. With the help of big data analysis, we can identify these people and create preventive plans to keep them from returning.

More Accurate Staffing – With the help of big data’s predictive analysis hospitals and clinics can estimate future admission rates. It will help these facilities allocate the proper staff to deal with patients. With these extraordinary advantages in mind, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies should invest in organizing their data. It needs an investment in analytics experts who can crunch the data to not only identify areas of weakness but also assist companies in better understand their market.

The Internet of Medical Things and Wearable Devices:

 IoT refers to devices connected with each other via the Internet. It includes wearables, connected inhalers, smart beds, ECG, EKG monitors, and other facilities. This digital trend in the healthcare industry has seen a significant increase recently. Internet of medical things tools helps clinicians to monitor patients at home. Connected devices help users take medication. Healthcare providers can measure vitals, set reminders, and alerts.  Glucose, blood, sweat, oxygen, and pressure measurement, cardiac and healthy lifestyle monitoring, fitness tracking, and weight control are among the most developed spheres of their application. The use of medical devices that can track health and take care of the elderly in distance will be increasing in the coming days. Due to the recent situation of COVID-19, many people were either unable to visit their parents on a regular basis because of the lockdown. In these difficult times, it was a relief to know that this bad situation was more or less under control due to mobiles and wearables.

Cloud-enabled Digital Tech:

Today it is very easy to Store medical data with technology. These days many hospitals are turning to cloud-based solutions to save patient data. Cloud facilitates data storage and maintenance. It also offers a simple way to get data, especially regarding patient history. Also, it makes consultations work more convenient as they can easily see the patient’s case file. The biggest challenge when using the cloud is bonding to protocols. Many health care providers still feels that the HIPAA Privacy and Security measures do not offer the vital protection that the healthcare industry needs.

AR/VR/MR in Healthcare:

Virtual reality is a very important technology with massive potential to increase the quality of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. From increasing patient and healthcare provider visits to helping educate medical students in procedure simulations, virtual reality is turning science fiction into reality. Today AR and VR technology provides services for helping stroke victims overcome motor deficiencies. Similarly, simulated environments offer more flexibility that physical therapy may not be able to provide. These controlled simulations can be helpful to collect data to help therapists tailor care plans for their patients. In education, this technology can also be used for visualizing surgical scenarios and planning the operation. Virtual reality acts as a tool to plan and optimize the sequence of events during the surgery and also create the possible course of action for any circumstances that arise.

Nanomedicine:

It is injected into a patient’s body to study molecular structure. Nanomedicine is specifically useful in biomedical research. By injecting in the bloodstream, It helps in releasing the drug to treat the disease while also monitoring the disease. It is very important to integrate large and complex data sets into a nano-level, to carry out nanoparticles into organisms producing the disease and offer smart drug delivery. These days many cancer patients are being treated through nanomedicine. It has shown some positive results by enhancing blood circulation and providing more precise monitoring.

To sum up, the rate at which digital healthcare solutions are producing is noteworthy. Such innovations will enhance patient care and offer great opportunities for companies to invest in.



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