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by Varun Dhawan

With the launch and resounding success of the Digital India plan by the government, our country is steadily moving towards digital empowerment in all aspects of life. Health is no stranger to the favorable results that this movement brings. With many supporting policies and plans to strengthen the digital health market, reports indicate that its revenue (₹252.92 billion in FY 2021) is expected to reach ₹882.79 billion by April. fiscal year 2027, growing at a CAGR of 21.36%.

The shift to digital health and its increased adoption is supported by several factors and trends, including patient awareness, the need to be more involved in their treatment due to better knowledge offered by the digitalization of the country and healthcare patient-centric insights delivered by today’s physicians, using data from health apps and devices. Let’s take a closer look at these health technology trends to watch in 2022, as they offer us a world of reduced admissions and readmissions, better adherence to medication regimen, early disease detection and, consequently, reduced costs. .

Consumerization of health care
With consumerization a widespread and commonly accepted crusade, it was only a matter of when and if the trend would spill over to healthcare as well. Everyone is used to well-designed products, from iPhones to Uber and Spotify in their personal lives. Trust and relationships have been front and center in social media, e-retail and finance. You get the right information when you need it most. It is now more than a trend. It has become a baseline expectation.

For decades, healthcare technology has been limited by age-old enterprise software and compliance. It was difficult to use and lacked a good user experience. However, we have come to expect a higher level of competence in health care, on par with other aspects of our lives. Fortunately, tech giants are actively investing in consumer health tech products. From smartwatches to smartphone apps, health cloud, patient engagement services, and more, this is a growing aspect that brings hope to all stakeholders.

On the one hand, patients are becoming more aware of their health and are more likely to accept wearable medical devices and apps for better adherence to medication regimen. On the other hand, it also offers physicians better insight into the lives of their patients, helping them to make more informed decisions and guide them towards preventive care measures.

Biomarker tracking – the next step towards patient awareness
Body sensors are expected to be the third largest wearable device segment today. We’ve stepped up from a time when step and calorie tracking were the pinnacle of health monitoring to wearing devices that track your sleep cycle, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and more. Moreover.

The data from these devices helps to make informed decisions about your health – from what food is best for you to when it’s essential to see your doctor – it helps us live a better quality of life. With devices readily available in the market like smartwatches or fitness trackers and apps and websites easily accessible on our smartphones, we can better leverage the patient-centered model of care used by physicians today. . Providers understand that patients want to play a greater role in their treatment and recovery. Thus, they are more attentive to their concerns raised by these devices, offering them preventive measures for a better quality of life.

The ease of access only reinforces my belief that this is a health tech trend to watch as this market is only set to grow and is expected to reach $78.1 billion in 2026 globally. .

Preventive and proactive care > reactive care
As patients become more proactive about their health and their lives, doctors want to prevent patients from getting sick by being more proactive. As individuals accept and endorse the use of devices such as smartwatches to track their vital signs, the data enables providers to better understand the social determinants of health surrounding their patients. This helps them to offer targeted treatment that suits their lifestyle and is also imminently responsible for improving the health of the people.

Moreover, as the taboo behind aspects such as mental and reproductive health slowly fades, more and more people are accepting help in these areas of their well-being. The move towards preventative care helps doctors offer a more patient-centered approach, helping them with effective preventative measures like meditation, better sleep cycles, and more. This is a growing trend that is expected to accelerate as digitalization and health awareness grows among the population, helping them become more proactive towards their well-being.

Big Data is here to stay.
What enables physicians to make these informed decisions is, as I mentioned, data — specifically, big data. With the consumerization of healthcare, patients becoming more aware and engaged, and the significant increase in the use of smartphones, wearable technologies, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, we now have treasure troves of about our health locked in electronic silos. According to a report by Forbes, global data interactions have increased by almost 5,000% between 2010 and 2020: 1.2 trillion gigabytes of data have grown to 59 trillion gigabytes.

As we have already seen, data is essential to health care in addition to helping doctors. It informs patients about their current state of health and helps those involved in a care cycle to move towards proactive management. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics help uncover insights that support better clinical decisions. As the statistics show, this area will only grow. Additionally, projections suggest that the healthcare big data analytics market could be worth $67.82 billion by 2025.

Automation – new but imminent
Access to a plethora of data and the growing field of analytics is giving way to AI and machine learning, helping the industry to gradually move towards automation. The idea is not new in the field of health since NASA became interested in remote surgery in the 1970s. However, it took a long time for the industry to reach a consensus on coexistence. As a result, the technology is still quite new. Despite having heard of breakthroughs in automation, the general public has yet to see the impact it leaves on healthcare. However, tech giants are exploring how to achieve this, which means the day when its influence becomes visible is not so far away.

It took some time for doctors to deal with the penetration of automation into their daily lives due to the fear of being replaced. However, the way things have evolved, it has become clear that while automation is key to making mundane tasks easier in the backend, remote surgeries are best left to astronauts as patients prefer a more human touch to their delivery. of care.

Healthcare technology continues to grow, and with the proliferation of the internet across the country, it has become popular and essential for today’s patients. Patient engagement, patient relationship management, population health, health cloud, telemedicine, robotics, et al. are all trending today, but I think the five aspects above are the health tech trends to watch in 2022 and beyond. They will be responsible for taking us to the next phase of caregiving and a better quality of life.

Varun Dhawan, Senior Manager, Product Design

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily endorse them. shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)