Since 2020, the growth and popularity of telehealth technology have been tremendous. The outbreak of COVID-19 drastically accelerated this growth, showing 38 times higher utilization than prior to the pandemic, and it has yet to slow down. In 2022, market growth for telehealth is expected to continue climbing, as with several other healthcare IT trends. Whether a patient or a practitioner, to stay ahead on all things healthcare and IT, these are the eight trends you should look out for in the upcoming year.
1. Hybrid Healthcare
There is no question that telemedicine revolutionized healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the world slowly begins to recover from the effects of the pandemic, there is a question of whether or not patients will still prefer telemedicine. The reality is that even if in-person healthcare visits are available, patients prefer virtual visits for routine check-ups and appointments.
Still, some procedures need to be conducted in person, which is where hybrid healthcare comes in. Hybrid healthcare combines in-person and remote healthcare, providing patients with the best of both worlds. Patients can benefit from in-person visits with their physicians when necessary or desired. Alternatively, patients can conduct their appointments remotely for routine visits or to meet with a long-distance provider.
IoMT, the Internet of Medical Things, refers to a connected infrastructure of healthcare systems intended to provide care to rural and isolated communities or patients who cannot access their healthcare provider. Thanks to technological innovation and data integration, IoMT enables patients to access convenient and quality healthcare from any location.
This technology also enables personal health equipment to better serve patients in remote locations, ensuring that they get the care they deserve. As healthcare technology continues to develop, IoMT-enabled technology will become even more widely available, making healthcare more accessible for all.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring
While similar to IoMT, remote patient monitoring is slightly different. IoMT serves as the umbrella term of remote medical technologies. In contrast, remote patient monitoring refers specifically to a system of technologies used to gather, monitor, and process data for enhanced patient outcomes. Remote patient monitoring has enabled wearable medical devices that remotely collect and transmit patient health data.
This technology keeps patients and providers in touch without needing to directly communicate or meet in person. With a remote medical device, providers can remotely coordinate treatment and manage illness while maintaining continuous monitoring.
This solution is particularly beneficial to patients with chronic conditions and high-risk and elderly patients. They can reduce the time and cost burdens of their healthcare needs without compromising quality. As remote patient monitoring grows more advanced, there is no question that it will continue to grow in popularity in upcoming years.
4. Predictive Analytics
Another healthcare trend expected to boom in 2022 is predictive analytics. Thanks to AI and remote patient monitoring technologies, physicians can use predictive care for at-risk patients in their homes.
Wearable medical devices can collect patient data and use patient utilization patterns to identify warning signs for medical distress and patient deterioration. As a result, providers can be immediately notified with enough time to care for patients before it is critical. Similar to remote patient monitoring, this trend is particularly useful for patients with chronic or high-risk conditions, elderly patients, or patients with limited mobility.
5. AI-Enabled Telediagnosis
In addition to predictive analytics, AI has also done wonders to improve telediagnosis further. Using patient medical records and historical data, AI can analyze patients' images to provide diagnostic suggestions to physicians. As a result, diagnoses can be made faster, more accurately, and more consistently between patients.
As developments in AI continue to advance healthcare, telediagnoses will continue to improve accuracy and increase in popularity. With faster and more accurate diagnoses, patients will receive the right care as soon as possible, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery.
6. Virtual Reality
While virtual reality is often used for video gaming, its capabilities spread much further than entertainment. The use of virtual reality headsets has begun to revolutionize healthcare, significantly improving patient recovery time and hospital management.
Using a VR headset, physicians more efficiently conduct medical training, providing users with the means to improve their skills and knowledge virtually. VR can also be used for complex surgery planning, allowing providers to practice procedures before performing them on patients, resulting in reduced errors and thus better patient outcomes. Even patients can utilize VR to train social and coping skills in the safety of a virtual environment. As VR becomes more widespread, it may not be uncommon to see VR headsets available in hospitals worldwide.
7. Healthcare Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is heavily relied upon in nearly every industry today, and the same goes for healthcare. Thanks to cloud computing, providers can utilize on-demand healthcare storage for electronic health records (EHRs), saving significant time and money. Furthermore, cloud computing enables high-powered analytics, which means providers can offer more personalized patient care plans.
As medical records and images are stored and digitized in the cloud, providers can access patient records faster and more easily. As a result, they can care for patients more efficiently and accurately. This also means that patients are no longer responsible for storing and sharing their physical records. Instead, they can upload them and easily access them from any location.
8. Mental Health Technology
A huge trend that has broken in the healthcare industry in recent years is consumerism. The recent focus on being patient-centered has changed the way that healthcare practices view their patients, and one significant way is a newfound focus on mental health technologies.
Patients today prioritize their mental health more than any other generation of patients, and so they seek providers who can care for more than just their physical health. Fortunately, recent developments in technology are finally meeting patient needs regarding mental health treatment.
Some of these technologies include VR treatment, smartphone-assisted therapy, online symptom tracking, and telehealth. By making mental health healthcare more accessible, more patients can get the care they need, ensuring happier and healthier patients.
Digitization is the Future of Healthcare
There is no question that in 2022 healthcare will continue to make strides to become more digitally accessible. By offering digitized healthcare treatments and practices, healthcare can become available to patients to whom it was previously unavailable. With improved access, providers can reach more patients, enabling improved mental and physical health across the globe.
For healthcare practices looking to stay competitive in the upcoming year, the key to long-lasting success in your practice is to stay modern - and modern healthcare is all about technology and consumerism. By focusing on patient needs and adopting the technology necessary to meet those needs, your practice will be prepared for 2022 and beyond.