7 Top Health Tech Predictions for 2019

November 29, 2018 - 8 minutes read

Moving forward from 2018, health tech will pick up more steam as providers and hospitals successfully integrate with artificial intelligence (AI), the blockchain, predictive analytics, and more.

“Digital health” will be redefined as these disruptive technologies push the boundaries of what’s possible in healthcare. Asia will be a major player, and nations all across the globe will prioritize access to affordable, quality care.

Remote Self-Care Is Set for Rapid Growth

Digital healthcare technology such as telehealth platforms and mHealth applications will help patients treat and care for themselves, lowering strain on emergency departments and urgent care providers. This industry is expected to grow 30% and surpass $25 billion in 2019.

Chronic sufferers and older patients will get the most benefit out of remote self-care. To keep track of health records, insurance reimbursement will start recognizing this preliminary method of healthcare alongside behavioral health solutions, dental benefits, prescription management, and nutrition.

Leveraging a Data-Rich Landscape

Big data is a trend that can’t be ignored in healthcare. By this time next year, 50% of all healthcare providers and hospitals will have some sort of data analytics workflow in place.

Smaller multivariate data can be more meaningful throughout each specialty, according to experts. Overall, however, the specialties’ data analytics will still take inputs from the other specialties to refine their insights. Data being captured and analyzed will include drug efficacy and utilization, billing discrepancies, eligibility for clinical trials, treatment efficacy and variability, and remote self-care success rates.

Predictive analytics can be implemented soon after data collection begins. Predictive analytics applications include population care management, operational automation for everyone involved in the healthcare chain, and improved treatment recommendations.

AI will push data analytics further with constant, automatic refinement of algorithms.

Augmenting Every Aspect of Healthcare With AI

In 2019, AI will surpass $1.7 billion in value just in the health tech application industry alone. The technology will eventually get implemented in almost every aspect of healthcare, and the great thing about AI is that its impact can be seen quickly if the algorithms are set up correctly.

AI will also augment data platforms, improving productivity by 10-15% over the next two to three years. We also expect AI application development costs to drastically decrease over time. Right now, it may not be cost-effective for many hospitals to budget AI into their operations. But once the benefits of implementing AI become clearer to these organizations, it won’t be long before they’re making room for it as well.

AI will impact every specialty by bringing better image diagnostics, risk analytics, and drug discovery methods. The technology, combined with machine learning, will forever change how patients interact with their providers and the healthcare setting.

Voicing Your Needs Will Become Easier

Our world evolved from voice calls to text messages to voice messages. It’s often easier and faster to quickly record an explanation and send it to another person than it is to text back and forth or have a conversation.

Specialized startups like Boston-based Nuance and Orbita will play alongside the big tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Apple. These companies will bring targeted voice capabilities to healthcare while regulators will work on HIPAA-compliant chatbot and voice applications.

Right now, voice transcription technology isn’t perfect, and it works the best with bite-sized chunks of audio. But with the budgets and funding that the aforementioned companies collectively have, we have no doubt voice technology will experience a dramatic improvement by this time next year.

It will unlock major benefits for patients with chronic illnesses, older patients, as well as medical scribes and physician’s assistants.

Asia Will Emerge as a Major Health Tech Innovator

Expect to see Asia take on a much more active role in the future of health tech. The continent, home to almost 3 billion people, will become a major innovator for global drug and device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Emerging markets will add 20-30% more value to the pharmaceutical industry, which will grow 10-15% in 2019. Drug and device OEMs will market their products to Asian consumers, their lifestyles, and their buying power.

10% of healthcare research and development will be reinvested into local innovation in Asia in 2019. The Asia-Pacific region is growing the fastest (at a rate of over 30%) for cell therapy late-stage clinical trials. This is a great indicator of the growing genomics interest in Asia; China is expected to invest more in genomics over the next five years.

Tapping Into the Benefits of Blockchain

Blockchain will no longer be a foreign technology for healthcare; it’ll be implemented commercially to help track supplies, patient care, and revenues. By this time next year, 5-10% of enterprise healthcare blockchain applications will be sold commercially.

Startups like Guardtime, Change Healthcare, and Hashed Health will lead this charge, while healthcare ICOs and new startup proofs-of-concept will race to make their own mark on commercial healthcare.

While blockchain applications will only begin to blossom in 2019, it leaves a lot of room for innovation on where blockchain can be applied in the healthcare industry.

An Improved Insurance Experience

Private insurance companies will constantly be refining payment and billing regulations from 2019 onwards. Right now, insurance is outdated and failing to help patients receive affordable care. In fact, in 2018, insurance companies saw 1.5% less growth.

To circumvent their demise, insurance providers are letting patients see their data and adding more self-care treatments into their coverage. By the end of 2019, insurance companies will have added 5-10% more lifestyle and data-driven policies and services to their plans. Premiums will eventually be personalized based on a patient’s data, health statistics, and self-care needs.

Healthcare’s Future

By 2025, healthcare will have evolved dramatically. And 2019 will be the year we start to see and feel the benefits that technologies like AI, blockchain, and data science can bring to the industry. We can’t wait to see how health tech fosters better, more affordable patient outcomes while enabling providers to have more work-life balance.

What are you looking forward to most about healthcare’s future? Let us know in the comments below!

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