Drivers of Digital Health Trends

With an estimated one trillion dollars in waste in just the US healthcare system alone, the need for digital health innovations has never been greater. There are deep and systemic challenges to overcome. People are living longer; chronic health issues diminish too many people’s quality of life; adequately trained healthcare workers are in limited supply, stressing physician workloads; escalating costs are squeezing patients, payers, and providers alike.

All these macro trends are paving the way for value-based care (in which reimbursements are driven by health outcomes) models. The market is rewarding those who can transform healthcare to be predictive and preventative and moving care beyond the walls of a hospital, increasing the adoption of digital health innovations or in other words digital health trends.

What exactly are the driving forces of digital health trends?

  1. The primary healthcare innovation driver is consumer demand

As someone employed with consumer-facing businesses would tell you, there is a relentless need for innovation.  Over the last decade, consumers have been driving innovation in nearly every industry, demanding increasing convenience, personalization, and quality.  You see it everywhere: next-day shipping on Amazon, commercial-free TV on Netflix, and Uber and Lyft rides on demand. Consumers’ growing expectations are not limited to their experiences in retail, travel, entertainment, or hospitality; they are beginning to make the same demands from their healthcare experience. In healthcare, the customers are both patients and providers, and they are both the key drivers of innovation. Wants and needs for better, faster, more-intuitive, and more-efficient healthcare products are giving fuel to the same kinds of technology upgrades in healthcare business that have been ongoing for years in consumer businesses.

A recent survey indicated that 92% of respondents agreed that consumer demand is driving progress in digital healthcare devices. Manufacturers have been heavily regulated for years, limiting innovations solely on healthy outcomes.  As they shift their focus toward becoming more responsive to consumer demand, they will also have to decide how to attract their customers with new products while still providing healthy outcomes.

In Accenture’s Digital Health Consumer Survey (2019), modern consumers not only preferred healthcare providers with improved digital capabilities but also expected they already had these solutions in place.  The survey interviewed nearly 8,000 people across Australia, England, Finland, Singapore, Norway, Spain, and the USA. On average, 70% of consumers said they were more likely to choose a provider if they offer the ability to request prescription refills electronically, send reminders via email or text, or communicate with them via secure email. Over half of the respondents also preferred providers who use remote or telemonitoring devices as part of their care delivery.

HiLiteMD’s Telehealth Platform offers telemedicine, virtual visits, and remote monitoring of patients through a feature rich experience that meets patients’ expectations while accommodating the provider’s need to streamline clinical processes and optimize business functions. Patients, their caregivers, and their family members are growing accustomed to this digital service and HiLiteMD can offer you and your patients the robust platform to deliver better care.

  1. Increased production of digital health solutions with shorter development timelines

Historically, the product development and launch cycles for a conservatively managed healthcare company has averaged eight years—or even longer. Things are different now. The renewed focus on digital solutions has led to the hyper-fast evolution of healthcare technology that is tied with the therapies. Greater incorporation of new tech tools (e.g IoMT, machine learning, AI) that inevitably comes with increased and fast digital health solutions are developing new digital trends- e.g adoption of connected health devices, 3D printing, etc.

In Jabil’s 2018 survey, only 21% of respondents affirmed that their digital health solutions were in production. In fact, more than half were still in the idea, development, or design phase. As more healthcare solution providers have started to adapt to the new normal, many ideas have come to fruition. Today more than double (44%) of healthcare solutions are in production.

Participants also unanimously agreed that digital health was lagging compared to other industries, due to lengthy product lifecycles. Today, two-thirds of participants say their product development and launch cycle for digital healthcare solutions is less than two years. The percentage of those with product cycles of less than 18 months is at 41%, up from 29% in 2018.

HiLiteMD has adapted and developed numerous technologies in less than a year that provides a complete and integrated solution that supports your entire business and clinical needs.  HiLiteMD’s technology provides a unified approach to patient communication, financial management, digital communication & telehealth.HiLiteMD Digital Health

HiLiteMD Digital Health Graphic

  1. Increasing interest in self-health management and reducing burden on healthcare clinicians and staff

The increasing desire patients have to monitor their own health is another factor propelling the demand for another popular digital health trend – the adoption of connected health devices. Wearable devices such as fitness bands, glucose meters, and blood pressure monitors help in tracking activities throughout the day. The data of these activities is stored in connected devices, which can later be used for analysis of the patient’s health. By using these devices, costs incurred for regular checkups are significantly reduced, since a patient can analyze his/her own medical parameters and adjust accordingly. Connected health devices have influenced the demand for Internet of Medical Things due to the increase in wearables, ultimately reducing unnecessary hospital visits and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.  Miniaturization, flexible circuitry, and biometric capturing sensors are leading to exciting new devices that will help patients with their recovery while reducing chronic issues and cost.  Ultimately, these tools allow patients to be actively engaged in their own health management.

As a result, more than half (52%) of participants surveyed said they are currently developing or planning to develop on-body or wearable devices. Consumers are already familiar and comfortable with these solutions (Apple watches, FitBit, Garmin etc.) so they are easily adaptable to IoMT platforms, such as telehealth, post-op vital monitoring or even digital twin studies.

These trends are not only driven by patients, but increasingly by their providers.  According to Frost & Sullivan, nearly 60% of operations in the healthcare industry adopted IoT or IoMT systems and realized cost savings, improved their profitability, visibility, and customer experience. It is estimated between 20 and 30 million IoMT devices are expected to be deployed by the end of 2020.  The IoT trend has changed everything from patient experience to market profits. According to the Allied market research report, by the close of 2021, it is expected that the IoT market will reach $136 billion.

HiLiteMD’s Telehealth platform allows patients and providers to schedule or set on demand visits to monitor progress.  This allows for better and continuous care and successful outcomes.

  1. Acknowledgement of external partners and interoperability requirements

Enlisting outside expertise is one of the most effective ways to solve challenges with the healthcare market.  Partners help to identify trends in how markets will progress over time, which helps with investment planning and identifying product lifecycles. This disruptive enlistment of external experts is vital to healthcare’s innovation and evolution.

Most digital healthcare solution providers indicated they would seek outside partnerships in advancing healthcare technology.  Nearly half acknowledge in a survey, they would need partners to help overcome challenges in regulations, certifications and approvals; while 42% say they would need their partners’ expertise in big data capture, security and analytics.  Similarly, as the healthcare supply chain is becoming increasingly global and sophisticated, there is a consensus that 42% would need expertise and assistance in this area.

HiLiteMD can help practices and hospitals advance their digital portfolio.   Through ongoing innovation, listening to customer challenges and understanding the market, HiliteMD allows healthcare organizations to stay connected with their patients.

  1. New methods to reverse the technology gaps

Following a wave of recently publicized data breaches, customers have become suspicious of big tech companies and their ability to protect their data.  A 2018 study conducted in the US indicated that Americans did not feel comfortable sharing their health data with tech companies.

Though consumers reported trusting some with their health information more than others, tech companies playing in the health data space in general were being financially hindered. Simply put mistrust hinders adoption. This brought out many health startups to reverse the tech gap such as HiLiteMD.

HiLiteMD meets the regulatory requirements to protect personal health information.  Consumers and practitioners alike can trust the HIPAA standards of the platform.  In addition, HiLiteMD delivers AI & Automation for advanced communication with patients. Using human behavior, the system adapts to optimize effective outreach and minimize tech gaps within the healthcare industry.

In closing, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the usefulness and validity of new technology-enabled care protocols, like telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Its increased use during this crisis has sped acceptance and adoption of digital health tools (e.g AI, machine learning) by both healthcare professionals and their patients. HiLiteMD with all its built-in tools includes a unified approach to patient communication, financial management, digital communication & telehealth.

Please contact HiLiteMD to schedule a demo and learn how we can enhance your digital communications and keep you connected now and into the future.

Please email or call 860-566-2105 to schedule your demo.