The Current State of Healthcare: 8 Tech Trends that keeps the industry strong in 2021

7 May 2021

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the crisis impacted the healthcare system. The roles of healthcare professionals have changed drastically, and they had to do their tasks while minimizing in-person interactions with patients. 

It is a difficult time for medical professionals, especially in regions where COVID-19 cases are rising. The fight against the invisible enemy is tough, but luckily some trends will help our frontliners in the long run. 

What changed in the healthcare (as well as life sciences and biotechnology) industry? Well, Salesforce’s 4th State of Sales Industry Profile from 2020 says a lot! The study stated that around 50% of salespeople in these industries claimed that the demand for their product/s has increased.

It also mentioned how it affected them as a result of the economic trends. Around 73% claimed that they’ve taken new work responsibilities; 78% had to adjust quickly to new selling ways, 58% expected their roles to change for good, and 79% claimed that their success metrics changed. 

There are many high performing HMOs locally and globally. In the U.S.,  one of the biggest UnitedHealth Group, Anthem. Inc., and Humana. Here in the Philippines, a study from 2019 showed that Maxicare (a Salesforce customer) was the leading HMO in the country, followed by Asus Corporation. 

Research showed that the spending on global healthcare could reach more than $10 trillion by 2022. Back in 2018, the industry was worth $8.45 trillion. A study titled “Healthcare Mobility Solutions Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Global Analysis – by Products & Services, Application, and End User” forecasted that this industry is expected to reach from $57,162.65 million in 2019 to $ 272,054 million in 2027. 

The numbers do show a lot. So what is one of the trends that will keep the industry strong for this year and beyond? Luckily, 3P is here to guide you in this journey about tech trends in the healthcare industry. 

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Telehealth services 

While people worldwide are under lockdown, it showed the need to shift to telehealth and telemedicine services. The current situation indeed resulted in having virtual appointments and consultations through video or voice calls. 

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Image by Tumisu/Pixabay

As the demand for 5G technology increases, so does telehealth services. Why is it that way? The answer is obvious: it is safe, cost-effective, and convenient. 

This trend is growing around the world. For instance, by 2022, China aims to get around 70% of its 1.4 billion citizens into its telemedicine program. In the Philippines, Maxicare’s telemedicine services began years ago, but it increased to 1000% during the beginning stages of the pandemic. Nations such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore are executing or giving out regulations to support this growing service. 

Predicting disease with data 

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King’s College London in the U.K. created an app called the COVID Symptom Study. This platform provides 4 million users a daily update on how they feel and helps detect individuals who are most likely developing Long COVID. It also gathers pandemic hotspots by utilizing public data. 

Cloud Computing 

Integrating cloud services into your business is one of the digital trends in 2021. Imagine having simple access to x-ray results and a patient’s profile all in one place, 

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For instance, the world’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, Salesforce, has a solution called Health Cloud. This solution helps simplify patients reaching out to a doctor and understanding their journey. With this platform, you’ll have a 360-degree view of the patient and their crucial data. 

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Image from Salesforce 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

AI can also play a role in enhancing healthcare. It may sound futuristic, but it’s real. A study showed that the global AI healthcare market is expected to reach $45.2 billion by 2026 from $ 4.9 billion in 2020. It is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.9% within the forecast period. 

The research stated that the major factors that drive this market’s growth are bigger data, the need to reduce costs, enhancing computing power, and increasing imbalance between health workers and patients. It is also the adoption of AI by multiple pharmaceutical and biotech companies globally to accelerate the development of vaccines and medicines for COVID-19. 

One example is the first drug designed by AI for people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is undergoing human trials. The growth of AI looks like it’s not slowing down anytime soon! 

Interoperability in healthcare 

The ongoing pandemic resulted in a lot of challenges in this industry. However, it resulted in a space for innovation too. One of the changes we can see is interoperability, the ability of technology like computers or software to exchange and utilize data. 

Having a lack of interoperability can cause clinician burnout, hassle experiences for patients, and waste money in the long run. But advantages of having this trend in your business can result in an open and collaborative ecosystem, enhance the electronic health record (EHR), and many more. 

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This trend takes integration to its full potential. It shows by enabling data systems, apps to access and exchange all in a collaborative way across the organization’s area. If you want to keep your EHR up-to-date, then it’s time to consider following this trend. You can read more about it in the Salesforce post here

Keeping the health supply chain secured 

Supply chain and logistics were some of the industries that were under the most pressure in 2020. The demand for this trend became high, especially when consumers want to get their necessities in their front door. Not only this but there is already a strained healthcare supply chain for some organizations and hospitals. 

According to Redbird Logistics Services, one of the challenges faced in healthcare supply chain management is automation, communication, and more transparency. 

Having a secured supply chain is crucial, especially in the public sector. By having proper supply chain management, healthcare organizations can help decrease costs in a demanding industry. One of today’s trends this year is an optimized supply chain that will help patients recover quicker and free up hospital beds.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) 

Mobile apps and devices play a crucial role in tracking and preventing illnesses for many patients and their doctors. If you combine IoT with telemedicine and telehealth technologies, then IoMT is here. For instance, it includes wearable devices (like monitors) and many medical measurements such as blood pressure, glucose level, and temperature. 

A study from Fortune Business Insights showed that it is projected with a CAGR of 28.9% while reaching $142.45 billion by 2026. Along with the improving healthcare infrastructure and facilities globally, this is contributing to the growth of the market. 

One of the advantages of IoMT is drug management through the “smart pills.” It contains microscopic sensors that can transmit data to connected devices after it gets swallowed. Some companies like Proteus Discover have utilized their smart pill in measuring medication treatment efficiency to enhance medical results. There is also another company, HQ’s CorTemp, which uses the pills to monitor the internal health of the patients. 

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Image from MedCity News 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) 

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VR in the medical field shows that it can be used for training, treatment, marketing, and disease awareness. For medical training, the health professional can use this technology to watch a filmed 360-degree video merged with CGI models of the anatomy being operated on. This provides an immersive experience to the health workers. For treatment, it can be used for physical therapy and pain management, robotic surgery, and letting the patient view what is inside their body. 

On the other hand, AR can assist in providing services. It helps doctors by providing information in a 3D space to access data that can positively impact their complex procedures. This technology is also useful for robotic surgeries and other advancements.

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Image by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels 

The lesson above showed why you should keep up with the trends in 2021. Having technology solutions is a necessity, especially with the growing demands and challenges of healthcare today. 

It is always crucial to invest in services to help both patients and doctors have a safe consultation. It is also best to have the tools that help frontliners fight the invisible enemy, COVID-19.  

With Third Pillar’s services, we ensure to provide Salesforce solutions like Service Cloud and Health Cloud to your organization. We also aim to give a human-centered approach in providing tech solutions for your team. 

Want to know how we successfully provided solutions to the healthcare industry? Read our case study right here

Message us here to begin your digital transformation journey, and our team will look forward to guiding you along the way. 

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