Top Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic widely strained U.S. healthcare resources, leading to an impending shortage of 670,000 healthcare workers nationwide by the end of 2025. As a result, the industry is increasingly looking to new developments in technology to meet the growing demand for care.
While the healthcare industry was already undergoing a digital transformation before the pandemic, adapting to new challenges has quickened the pace. For the foreseeable future, the adoption of new digital technologies will continue to define trends for healthcare in 2023 and beyond.
This guide covers the major trends that healthcare organizations should expect to see in 2023.
- The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges to the healthcare industry, which organizations are addressing through the implementation of recent developments in healthcare technologies.
- The adoption of new technologies will shape major healthcare trends for 2023.
- Healthcare organizations can expect artificial intelligence, retail healthcare services, wearable medical devices, and telehealth services to play prominent roles in the industry over the next few years.
Healthcare Trends for 2023
Here are four ongoing trends in healthcare that will likely continue through 2023.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Image Source: Precedence Research
The global market for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare had a value of $11 billion in Q4 of 2021 and will more than triple – capping $52.97 billion – by 2026. Over the past decade, healthcare organizations have increasingly used AI-based technologies, such as pattern recognition, computer vision, and natural language processing. As the cost of AI development continues to drop, these tools will have an expanded role across all levels of the healthcare industry.
Important use cases for AI in healthcare include:
- Data analytics: Using AI to extract insights from datasets too large for traditional methods of analysis improves the efficacy of clinical trials and early diagnosis and intervention initiatives. AI-driven analytics can also streamline administrative and financial operations within the healthcare industry.
- Data management: AI and machine learning technologies assist in the consolidation of data scattered across separate systems, allowing organizations to develop more holistic datasets and efficiently serve patient data requests.
- Computer vision: The application of AI in medical imaging, such as x-rays and MRIs, enables early detection of many conditions and diseases, improving patient outcomes.
- Medical device monitoring: The use of wearable medical devices is on the rise. While the surplus of patient data these devices generate can guide better care decisions, the data is too voluminous for healthcare workers to monitor. However, AIs can passively monitor an effectively limitless amount of medical device data and notify care providers when conditions require medical attention.
2. Retail Healthcare Services
Retail healthcare services – healthcare businesses located in or affiliated with retail outlets such as grocery stores and pharmacies – are on pace to double their market share in 2023. Major players like Walmart, Amazon, and CVS have already started providing services such as vaccinations, blood tests, and check-ups as alternatives to hospitals and private practices.
Retail healthcare services may not be a direct result of advancements in healthcare technology. Nevertheless, technologies that enable telehealth make this trend possible as retail service providers can leverage a relatively light staff of doctors and nurses to provide oversight through video conferencing with patients and on-site staff. As a result, retail service providers deliver frontline primary care at a lower cost than traditional services while moving care options into more convenient locations for patients. This removes the need for scheduled appointments and long wait times.
3. Wearable Medical Devices
Image Source: MESM
In the last decade, the monitoring capabilities of wearables have increased in scope and precision. Common wearables include:
- Heart rate and blood oxygen monitors
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) scanning apps for smartwatches
- Smart textiles for blood pressure and heart attack symptom monitoring
- Smart gloves to manage tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease
- Fitness and wellness apps for smartphones to track activity levels and sleep patterns
While wearable technologies are an example of the internet of things (IoT), experts expect further developments in wearables to track with advancements in edge computing. Edge computing refers to the distribution of data and computational resources closer to end users and allows disparate points within a distributed system to operate with greater independence.
Edge computing is a promising technology for wearables for two reasons. Firstly, outfitting medical devices with advanced processors and installed analytics speeds up processing cycles and prevents service interruptions when devices go offline. Secondly, processing data in devices themselves mitigates the risk of data exposure and alleviates patient concerns about having their health data stored by medical device manufacturers and operators.
4. Telehealth and Virtual Care
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In 2016, just 14% of physicians used telehealth technologies to deliver remote care to patients. By 2022, that number had risen to 80%. While the rapid adoption of remote services began as an adaptation to temporary COVID-19 restrictions, many care providers and patients have opted to continue the practice as it tends to save time and money.
Remote healthcare services also provide other benefits, including:
- Improved care for elderly patients or patients with memory loss issues, as they can receive care in a familiar environment or the company of a family member.
- The advent of robotics technology has made remote surgery possible, allowing skilled surgeons to provide faster emergency services and perform surgeries in locations they can’t physically reach.
- Healthcare organizations can adopt remote warding plans that put patients with similar conditions under the supervision of specialized staff in a centralized location.
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