Since 2020, we’ve seen some disruptive healthcare industry trends. We’ve also seen the sector push and invest more in groundbreaking new technology. The digital health trends mentioned in this blog are gaining momentum as we navigate through the pandemic and are expected to change the future of medicine and the overall healthcare experience.
Here are the most interesting and disruptive health and wellness technology trends to watch out for in 2022.
1. COVID-19 accelerated telehealth services to increase
The use of digital forms of communication, like smartphones, tablets, and computers, for facilitating healthcare service delivery comes under telehealth. Due to the pandemic-induced social distancing, in-person visits to doctors and physicians were reduced significantly. By April 2020, more than 43% of primary medicare visits started happening online via telehealth services . A Fortune Business Insights study predicts that the telehealth market will go beyond $185 billion by the year 2026 . While the pandemic is the main reason for the fast pace of adoption of telehealth services, the overall trend is certainly here to continue in 2022 and beyond.
2. Rapid growth in adoption of medical IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is truly one of the fastest-growing digital health and wellness trends of 2022. The growth will be supported by the increased adoption of cloud computing technologies and mobile apps across the world. Medical and health and fitness-related IoT is a briskly growing industry that uses integrated apps, wearable technology, and monitors for catering to healthcare needs. Combining healthcare and wellness with AI and machine learning, more enhanced versions of conventional medical devices, such as smart inhalers, can be developed.
Medical IoT can offer various benefits, which include:
- Monitoring remotely: Healthcare experts and professionals can monitor their patients remotely by making them wear wearable devices. These devices provide real-time data insights that help in reducing the number of in-person appointments
- More, enhanced convenience: With the advent of smart technology and 5G, patients get more features to manage their health needs and conditions. For example, glucose monitoring devices help patients keep a check on their glucose levels
3. Employee wellness apps to thrive
When the pandemic hit the world and changes our lives, it also brought in many unsaid mental health challenges for individuals across the globe. Wellness and mindfulness apps, like Calm, Atom, and Headspace, were not a niche anymore. The apps became a part of the mainstream meditation market and were downloaded in numbers. Employers around the world also started seeing wellness and mindfulness apps as helpful resources for their employees.
A recent SHRM report found that about 48% of the employees surveyed in the United States say that they’d have more confidence in digital health apps and tools if their employer offered them .
Multiple health and wellness apps available on the market allow people to set up a profile that helps them track key metrics like calorie count, blood sugar levels, and weight. With personalized healthcare services at their fingertips, people have more control over their health. Moreover, users can even share this health data with their providers.
3. Virtual fitness to gain momentum
Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic has been cruel to each and every one of us. But if we try to see the silver lining, the novel coronavirus made us all more health-conscious. We started to eat better and move more. Though gymnasium and fitness centres were shut due to the lockdown, virtual fitness alternatives became the latest digital health trend.
Since 2020, fitness trainers and professionals have started offering personal training and group workout sessions virtually. This allows people to perform workouts safely from the comforts of their home and cuts down expenditure drastically as the trainer doesn’t have to necessarily provide training from a gym.
Surprisingly, a study revealed that 9 out of 10 Americans who work out regularly said that they’ll continue at-home workouts even after gyms are allowed to reopen .
4. More people to incline towards teletherapy
The pandemic has also shed light on people’s mental health. In the first wave of the pandemic, many of us were confined to our homes and a vast majority of us were also stuck away from our homes. This challenged our minds body and emotions in a big way. Therapists also had to stop seeing their clients in-office premises due to safety reasons. The alternative that was worked around is – teletherapy.
In 2022, there will be an increased focus on and adoption of teletherapy. Virtual therapy sessions can be managed using wellness scheduling apps and software that are included virtual meeting integration. With the help of such a system, therapists can schedule online appointments easily and send them meeting links through emails and automated text reminding clients about their meetings.
5. Tech startups to focus on solving the anti-ageing problem
Since the beginning of the world, human beings have been trying to find ways to preserve their youth forever. Cosmetic surgeries, stringent diet plans, and vigorous exercise are some of the conventional ways people resort to. More advanced methods to longevity include biohacking, personalized pills, and genome study.
Biohacking includes tools like cryotherapy and infrared beds that help people stay relaxed, refreshed, and manage stress. These tools help in improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation by providing a mild sedative effect. Moreover, it also aids in getting more restful sleep.
Understanding one’s genome (genetic information of an organism) is also a great biohacking tool. By looking at your genome, experts can suggest to you the best food you should consume and should stay away from, and other valuable inputs for long happy life.
6. AI tech will be leveraged for better patient-centric care
The healthcare and wellness industry is revolutionizing the use of artificial intelligence in transformative ways. At least 5-% of companies in the healthcare sector now use machine learning for managing their information technology and 45% are using AI to manage human capital. With AI, physicians get access to a suite of powerful diagnostic tools .
Realizing how AI can be harnessed in the healthcare industry, more investors worldwide are getting in line to support AI tech in healthcare. The future of healthcare systems and smart hospitals is, in general, a decentralized and patient-centric model that’ll be built on data sharing. The model will focus on delivering lower medical costs and enhanced service to improve the overall healthcare experience of the patient.
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 Tsymbal, O. Mobidev (2021) “Healthcare Technology Trends and Digital Innovations in 2022 [Online] Available from: https://mobidev.biz/blog/technology-trends-healthcare-digital-transformation [Accessed January 2022]
 Fortune Business Insights (2020) “Telemedicine Market to Reach USD 185.66 Billion by 2026; Driven by the Surge in Product Adoption due to the Coronavirus Outbreak, says Fortune Business Insights™” [Online] Available from: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/05/20/2036192/0/en/Telemedicine-Market-to-Reach-USD-185-66-Billion-by-2026-Driven-by-the-Surge-in-Product-Adoption-due-to-the-Coronavirus-Outbreak-says-Fortune-Business-Insights.html [Accessed January 2022]
 Grensing-Pophal, L. (2020) “Apps can help employees with health care” SHRM [Online] Available from: https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/apps-can-help-employees-with-health-care-.aspx [Accessed January 2022]
 Fortune (2020) “Most Americans plan to continue at-home workouts even once gyms fully reopen” [Online] Available from: https://fortune.com/2020/08/17/covid-workouts-at-home-gyms-reopening-coronavirus-fitness/ [Accessed January 2022]
 Accenture Consulting () “HEALTHCARE: WALKING THE AI TALK”[Online] Available from: https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-75/accenture-healthcare-walking-the-ai-talk.pdf [Accessed January 2022]