What is going to happen in the future of medicine? What will healthcare look like? And how will our roles change as healthcare goes increasingly digital? Which digital health trends are worthy of attention and which will prove to be just hype? These are some of the questions most often asked by healthcare professionals and industry experts.
In the 2022-23 update of The Top 20 Digital Health Trends For The Near Future we highlighted 20 developments likely to happen in the upcoming 2-5 years. They are based on our analyses of trends and relevant technologies that we have been constantly monitoring.
We would encourage you to get a copy on LeanPub for our exclusive insights into those 20 trends that we believe will have the most significance in shaping the digital health landscape in the near future.
If you are still on the fence, we prepared this article with 3 trends discussed in the e-book which provide a glimpse of what is further elaborated in it.
“Around the pill” strategies indicate the future business model for the pharmaceutical industry
Get a prescription, take your medication, report any side effects to your physician and repeat those steps for the whole duration of the treatment, which in some cases means a lifetime. This has been the traditional relationship between patients and the drug industry; but is an obsolete one in the digital age.
To revamp this stale dynamic, “around the pill” strategies could be an adequate solution. They involve pairing a pharmacological product with a digital health service as a package for the patient, rather than selling the product as-is. Pharma giant Roche had such a strategy in mind when it acquired startup mySugr. Roche paired mySugr’s innovative diabetes management app with their existing Accu-Chek Guide glucose meter to create the mySugr Bundle. This bundle augmented diabetics’ management of their condition. They further continued to integrate the app with other devices like Novo Nordisk’s smart insulin pens in 2021.
Other companies like Partners Healthcare Center and Japanese drug maker Daichii-Sankyo also partnered for an “around the pill” digital offering of their own for cardiac patients; and this approach is one that pharma companies, providers and payers alike will favour in the coming years given how it makes the offering more attractive to all parties involved.
Portable diagnostic device manufacturers might want to follow the path of handheld ECG companies
Bringing clinical-grade portable diagnostic devices that populate the digital health landscape from the concept stage into clinical practice relies on regulatory measures. Traditionally, this can represent several years if not decades-long processes. To accelerate these in an effective manner, companies could look at the path taken by manufacturers of portable ECG monitors like AliveCor.
Since releasing its first FDA-approved portable ECG device in 2012, the company has pushed to have its devices tested in clinical trials while refining their design. By 2022, AliveCor’s products were tested in more than 60 clinical studies, integrated technologies like A.I. and had their device deemed comparable to a traditional (and bulky) 12-lead ECG by a study.
As such devices have the longest track record of regulatory approvals and studies in digital health, companies developing other technologies might want to follow their footsteps. They could similarly lead the regulatory race, and have an edge over their competitors while helping create a more regulated landscape for secure adoption.
Primary care now integrates virtual visits and chatbots
Thanks in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing physical restrictions, healthcare increasingly turned to online solutions. Among those are chatbots and telemedicine, which are turning out to become integral parts of the healthcare system.
In order to perform risk assessments from afar, several dedicated chatbots were launched during the crisis. For example, the Coronavirus Checker chatbot from Emory University’s School of Medicine assessed your COVID-19 risk following some questions and gave recommendations according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The latter also teamed up with Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service to develop the Coronavirus Self Checker bot to help users make decisions about whether they should get tested.
After the pandemic, such chatbots are still used for patient triaging and to ease the burden from nurses by supplementing some of their tasks.
Just like chatbots, telemedicine visits received a boost as a result of the pandemic; some services’ use even increased by up to 158%. Providers as well are willing to use telemedicine, and the increased adoption indicates the trend that telemedicine is on track to become the new norm.
As such access to primary care will play a major part even after the pandemic, both patients and physicians will also need to prepare to adopt those new methods.
We hope that these 3 glimpses gave you an idea of what more to expect out of the full e-book on the healthcare-defining trends for the near future. Across each of its 20 sections, we further walk you through that area with relevant descriptions and examples that we find interesting. Moreover, we include reading suggestions at the end of every section, which you can turn to so as to dive deeper into the subject.
We also hope that reading the e-book will help provide more context around digital health developments and where the field is headed in the coming years. And do share your feedback with us once you’ve read it through!
Written by Dr. Bertalan Meskó & Dr. Pranavsingh Dhunnoo
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