Healthcare

7 Healthcare Information Technology Trends to Watch in 2021-2022

03 September 2021 • 10 min read
7 Healthcare Information Technology Trends to Watch in 2021-2022
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Around 80% of health systems plan to increase their investment levels in digital healthcare over the next five years, according to the HIMSS report. The intention is clear, but which technologies are worth paying for? This overview of healthcare technology trends in 2021 will provide the answer to this question.

Healthcare IT market overview in 2021-2022

The recent Future of Healthcare Report from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) indicates more than a half of surveyed patients are willing to use Telehealth services. Among all, they highly appraise their quality and cost-effectiveness. Thus, healthcare professionals seek new technologies to satisfy the demand and provide the desired performance to their clients.

As for the new healthcare technology that already addresses the customer needs on the market, experts appraise the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), cybersecurity measures, remote patient monitoring (RPM), virtual reality (VR), and Big Data analytics. These technologies have passed the pandemic test and proved their effectiveness in shaping the global digital health landscape.

Digital Health Trends in 2022

As for the near future of the industry, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are about to strengthen their positions. Among all, they suit the needs of patients the most accurately. For healthcare organizations, they can facilitate management and strongly empower analytics and decision making.

Besides, robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive automation (CA) are the most promising pathways for healthcare. Combining ML and AI with other technologies introduces next-level automation and augmentation of improved compliance, control, and capacity processes.

Top emerging technology trends in healthcare in 2021

  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • AI-empowered Big Data and analytics
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • Cognitive automation (CA)

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Wearables and trackers are a huge part of healthcare information technology development. Their key benefit is providing real-time and detailed data on the patients' health states, which is precious for doctors' observation.

IoMT enables a significant shift in patient awareness. With trackers, people get access to real-time data on their daily behavior and can provide changes on the way. If the device includes certain gamification features, it can even encourage patients with the rewards and increase their motivation to lead a more healthy lifestyle. Because of this, the impact of technology is tremendous, enriching a rational need for sticking to healthy habits with pure fun.

In their turn, doctors can receive notifications and participate in patient's treatment more actively than ever. The rich data set from this new technology in healthcare include sleep patterns, nutrition habits, the average activity level, and other parameters. With this information, healthcare practitioners can build more realistic coaching programs and track the treatment progress more accurately.

Chronic Conditions and Wearables

IoMT innovations reveal their best in the case of disorders that require significant lifestyle alterations. For example, they are smoking addiction, overanxious disorder, obesity — or Type 2 diabetes.

According to the latest data, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. Unfortunately, Type 2 diabetes treatment was on the patient's conscience for a long time, and doctors had no tools but to trust their words and promises. Since success heavily depends on lifestyle changes, healthcare providers had no instruments to control the progress.

The inclusion of wearables has fixed this problem, inviting doctors to cooperate with their patients on building healthier lifestyles. It contributes to establishing Patient First Approach, or the framework for educating patients about their treatment stages and milestones.

With Type 2 diabetes, these indicators include the maximum amount of sugar allowed and the minimum activity level per day. What's more, the device can store regular human insulin (RHI) needed. As a result, the treatment has become more successful and easy to follow.

Wearable devices and PGHD [add value] because individuals need more constant guidance and self-reflection to succeed than can be provided with sporadic office visits.
Dr. John Moore, Medical Director at Fitbit

Mockup MedRealTime Case

Cybersecurity

Data security is still the key industrial concern, and cybersecurity will appear relevant among trends in health information technology for a long time. All future technological enhancements will stick to the requirement to possess a significant security layer. The ultimate goal is to protect sensitive patient data delivered online.

The current examples of cybersecurity measures include the interconnectivity of IoMT devices, threat detection in the network, and the application of robust AI models to overcome the need to share patient information while analyzing it. By the way, you can use these highly effective recommendations to deal with cyber attacks.

Still, cybersecurity is a hot topic, considering the growing number and risks of data breaches. The increasing extent of information sharing and interoperability will only deepen the problem. In the given circumstances, the healthcare market will actively search for truly secure and reliable software that sticks to patient safety standards in the coming years.

HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platforms

Since the pandemic, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has become a required video conferencing standard. In essence, this federal law prescribes companies "to protect the privacy and security of individuals' medical records and other protected health information (PHI)."

Most Telehealth video conferencing platforms follow this rule. The use cases include Zoom for Healthcare, Skype for Business, VSee, Citrix GoToMeeting, and many other analogs of common calling software. As the next step in the industry, upcoming communication platforms will provide safety beyond end-to-end encryption that stores patient data in cloud storage and still puts it at risk. Such brand-new alternatives already include Signal, DuckDuckGo, and Tauria.

Also, you can check our custom HIPAA compliant video conferencing software designed for healthcare needs particularly.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

COVID-19 also contributed to turning remote patient monitoring into the current tendency in the medical field. The rise of virtual healthcare takes many forms, including online appointments, remote care, and video conferencing. And the wide range of IoMT devices empowers RPM with even more opportunities.

In the long run, hands-free communication is one of the most prominent tech trends in revenue cycle management. That's because RPM saves time and valuable resources for healthcare organizations of any scale. During the pandemic, it revealed its best while dealing with personal protective equipment. In the future, the achievement of RPM can unlock combining hands-free and on-site treatments for delivering the desired service appearance for different patient categories.

In general, RPM significantly contributes to health equity, which means wide access to health services for people in any geographical, social, economic, and political conditions. It is a huge step forward for humanity that demonstrates how technology can change the world for the better.

Mockup HIPAA Case

Mental Health Care

The global lockdown was a mental challenge to many people, and the enhancements of RPM have played a significant role in coping with these problems. Thanks to Telemedicine, patients could receive high-quality help from psychotherapists without the need to put their physical health at risk.

What's more, the technology opened the doors for the most vulnerable patients, including people suffering from chronic disorders, comorbidities, and other mental illnesses. Previously, they didn't have access to healthcare providers due to the scarcity of resources, shame to show up publicly, and racial inequity. But today, all they need is to have an Internet connection and launch a communication platform.

If you have an intention to establish your communication app for private communication with your patients, check our guide on how to make a secure custom mHealth app.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Current healthcare IT trends of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will find even more applications in the coming years. The technology supplements numerous activities in hospitals, both taken on-site and remotely.

The examples of VR implementation in healthcare already include surgical training, educating clinical students with real-case visualizations, and making virtual clinic tours. What's more, the technology can improve the quality of lung scans analysis, which has the potential to save many lives fighting with Coronavirus.

All in all, we're accustomed to perceiving VR as a fun technology. But for healthcare, its impact is rather therapeutic than entertaining.

VR Improves Pediatric Care Experience

One of the most unusual and effective implementations of VR in healthcare is accompanying painful medical procedures. Frequently, healthcare providers use the technology to distract children with a virtual game during the injection. For severe injuries, VR can create an alternative dressing on a wound to facilitate the progress of post-traumatic shock.

To date, such VR implementation is popular only in the US. But its positive effect of providing relaxing, meditating, and entertaining experiences for patients of different age categories is likely to turn it into a global trend shortly.

Big Data & Analytics

According to Frost & Sullivan forecast, the introduction of AI technology in healthcare data analytics can save the industry at least $150 million by 2025. Such an achievement is possible thanks to real-time and long-distance analysis and measurement of patient data. Given such striking cost-effectiveness, the AI trend is about to hit stride in the next couple of years.

We live in a world that creates tons of information every second. The larger the healthcare organization is, the more complex and unstructured the data set becomes. If processed manually, the healthcare providers can get lost in dozens of spreadsheets and meetings. That's why the digital future inevitably includes technology capable of processing Big Data instead of humans and providing real-time analytics for decision-makers.

Another power of analytics is in making predictions. In this case, the enhancements of predictive analytics and business intelligence enable leveraging data-driven insights of previous patient interactions with healthcare organizations and provide needed changes. It brings good for both sides. Patients get accurate treatment plans and timely services. In turn, healthcare providers enjoy staff optimization and a greater level of control over the supply chain.

The Capabilities of Predictive Analytics during COVID-19 Pandemic

During the pandemic, predictive analytics got the stage to reveal its full potential. The technology could detect drug and equipment shortages in times of uncertainty and point these problems to healthcare professionals. Besides, predictive analytics applies external data — like weather conditions — in the analysis. Empowered with GPS, the software serves as the must-have optimization system for crisis management.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA-empowered bots are a significant milestone in healthcare information technology development. Health providers can experience accurate automation, cost reduction, staff optimization, and even introduce transformational changes with the know-how. On the patient side, AI algorithms can guide people to the needed doctor by scanning their symptoms more accurately than traditional search engines.

In essence, the technological innovation of RPA has introduced robots that mimic human behavior to the healthcare sector. They have numerous capabilities, including screenwriting detection, data input, and the implementation of pre-defined actions. These days, healthcare organizations widely apply RPA for information management, appointment scheduling, claims management, optimal care delivery, and hospital management.

Instant Online Scheduling

RPA enables all the magic behind quick and accurate appointment setting in hospitals. Under the hood, the technology detects the relevant personal information about the patient, instantly matches the symptoms with the diagnoses, and pulls up the insurance details. Automatically, it checks the free spots in doctors' schedules in all the hospitals close to the patient's location.

On a day chosen, your doctor simply receives a notification about your visit with all the relevant data attached. If a problem occurs, the system will send you an alert and offer to visit another doctor. And all this happens as a matter of a couple of clicks.

Cognitive Automation (CA)

Cognitive Automation is the next-level tendency for true digital transformation. These days, it's among emerging IT trends in healthcare, but the tech package and applicability is about to change the state of managing an industry to the core. It takes the achievements of RPA but applies the mimicking of human behavior beyond the repetitive tasks. In short, it serves as a digital brain of the healthcare organization.

In essence, CA takes the automation capabilities of current software providers and applies ML algorithms to introducing decision velocity in the industry. It becomes possible to process zettabytes of data within seconds and provide decision-makers with ready-to-accept recommendations backed up by real-time data. As an ultimate goal, it is about establishing a self-driving enterprise where all the operational processes are automated.

These days, not each healthcare payer can afford such technology. But the prospects of providing a unified operating system and increasing the speed and accuracy of decisions are worth investing in. Within a couple of years, CA will become more common and open to numerous healthcare industry representatives.

Cognitive Automation Adoption in Merck Healthcare

Merck Healthcare uses the latest medical technology of CA from Aera Technology as a central part of digitizing and modernizing its existing legacy systems. In particular, the company managed to unite several ERP and manufacturing execution software types, along with a separate system for supply chain planning, under a sole solution.

The technology adopts ML algorithms to create more accurate forecasts that consider numerous internal and external factors. What's more, CA adoption in Merck Healthcare improved cost savings, processes, and security measures. Nevertheless, the novelty of technology causes problems with trust at the moment.

Softermii’s Opinion

Our experts point at three core tendencies in healthcare information technology development:

  1. Cybersecurity. Software developers will carefully check each new system to prevent hacker attacks, delays in treatment, and deaths.

  2. Shift to a unified system. The industry moves towards one system of care that relies on intelligence and automated decision-making.

  3. Remote healthcare. Technologies unlock numerous opportunities to advance the current healthcare system. The hospitals will use things like smartwatches, temperature sensors, and BP monitors more widely.
Cybersecurity is one of the most important trends in HealthTech. Once the pandemic hit the world, digitalization skyrocketed, and along with it, cyber threats became higher than ever. Professionals in HealthTech are very careful and slow while considering new systems and software. It's reasonable, as the risk of hospital systems not operating normally or properly can lead to not only delays in treatment, but also deaths.
Slava Vaniukov, Co-Founder and CEO at Softermii

Incorporate Top Healthcare Technologies with Softermii Experts

Are you interested in catching one of the health tech trends for this list? Let Softermii be your partner in this journey! Check our healthcare software solutions and get the one that fits your organizational needs.

We, at Softermii, keep abreast of healthcare industry trends. We know how to build extremely durable healthcare IT products. Our dedicated team is ready to bring all passion and expertise to creating custom software for your needs. Drop us a line to start enjoying the cost optimization benefits, accessibility of the best talents, consultations from industry experts, growth scaling, quick start, and constant connection with the Softermii team.

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