Insights Blog

By QLK Team
on Jan 12, 2021
  • Healthcare | Blog
Five Trends in Health Tech to Watch in 2021

The digital transformation is occurring everywhere and at all times across the globe. It's ubiquitous and all-encompassing.

As such, it's unsurprising that health tech is reaching brave new heights in 2021. Read below as this blog highlights the trends to keep an eye on this year.

Virtual Reality is Making Waves.

By 2026, it's projected that the digital health virtual reality global market will expand to a worth of $2.4 billion. It's believed that this form of care might offset the need for surgeries and pharmaceuticals.

Already, VR tech is being applied when treating PTSD, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Over time, VR (and augmented reality) will be valuable tools for visualizing surgical scenarios. It will help proactively map out sequences to help streamline procedures and make them more successful.

Consumers Relying on Wearable Technology

Self-monitoring one's health is a trend that will continue to grow, heading into 2021.

Wearable devices seem to be spearheading the movement mentioned above. The market should exceed $27 million in 2023—a rousing increase from $8 million in 2017.

Heart rate sensors and exercise trackers are the more standard forms people are accustomed to. There are also sweat meters for diabetics to keep track of their blood sugar. Plus, oximeters help respiratory patients stay on top of their oxygen and blood.

As this market grows, consumers will become more empowered to manage their own healthcare. In turn, providers will notice an improvement in patient outcomes.

This shift in consumer/patient behavior can only benefit the healthcare industry. Yes, patients being healthier is positive in and of itself. However, the treatment of chronic illnesses makes up 80% of the cost of healthcare. Such technology can drastically mitigate those costs and create room for more big-picture spending, leading to a broader, wide-sweeping positive impact.

Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing Taking Over.

Organizations are tapping into relevant clinical information that was previously inaccessible.

It was heaped below an overwhelming abundance of healthcare data. Fortunately, with AI intelligence techniques and field-specific consultants, this vital information can now provide critical insights. In turn, clinical decision-making will be more successful and generate more favorable patient outcomes.

The AI technologies being leveraged in these scenarios are machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP).

Entering 2021, AI will transform how healthcare systems function, communicate with patients and provide care. It will achieve these feats by bolstering patient management, streamlining the process.

AI presents a promising future through these applications:

  • Voice assistants will help clinicians with their priorities, automating less essential tasks.
  • Automating medical imaging can help with cross-referencing data for accurate predictive analysis.
  • NLP and MLP will monitor patient health, with voice assistants to keep them on medicine regimes and chatbots that collect information and track symptoms.

One recent development includes researchers in the US developing an AI that recognizes and diagnoses COVID-19, even in asymptomatic patients. It does so by hearing the sound of a cough.

Embracing the Cloud

Cloud computing will enhance data collection and record-keeping initiatives, which are both crucial facets of healthcare.

In the past, the industry has struggled in these avenues. However, cloud computing has proven beneficial for patients and providers, bringing forth a more seamless and time-saving consultation process.

Since storing data on the cloud leads to remote accessibility, collaboration efforts will thrive for those using this technology.

Heading through 2021, expect something like real-time data processing to take effect. Moreover, the cloud will remove geographical barriers impacting many practitioners. They can access the necessary information to make more informed decisions, no matter who stored the data.

The Age of Telemedicine

Telemedicine, or care provided through the phone, video conferencing, or other means that aren't in person, has been integral during COVID.

But Pandora's box has been opened on this front. Removing these physical barriers has made patients more willing to make appointments with their providers. Pandemic or not, people are busy, and not all doctor visits need to be in person.

As such, remote consultations have increased substantially. Also, remote monitoring technologies for cancer patients (and similar devices) have gone up in usage.

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