2022 Healthcare trends will be driven by AI, wearables and virtual medicine

Tech like AI, advanced telehealth systems and remote devices will be change healthcare for physicians and patients alike in the coming year.

For the past two years, our health and the healthcare industry have been at the front of our collective continuousness like at no time in recent memory. And as we move into 2022, technologies such as AI, wearables and new telehealth systems will play a significant role in helping us get and stay healthy.

Dr. Michael Aragon, chief medical officer at Outset Medical, a medical device manufacturer, shared his top five 2022 trends for healthcare with TechRepublic, and technology was front and center.

Michael Aragon, Chief Medical Officer, Outset Medical
Image: Outset Medical

1. Making health care remote

Wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit brought personal health tracking to the masses and in the past few years, the market has expanded dramatically to include a variety of in-home health teach that will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, spO2, ECG, PPG, sleep quality and even neurological disorders.

“This trend will continue to grow as individuals want the ability to have their health monitored without the
need to visit their physician,” Dr. Aragon said. He expects a flood of new products to hit the market in 2022.

Dr. Aragon isn’t the only one predicting dramatic growth in the wearables market. According to Deloitte Global, 320 million consumer health and wellness wearable devices will ship worldwide in 2022, and by 2024, that figure could hit 440 million units as more health care providers recommend them to patients.

SEE: Top 5 tech trends for 2022 (TechRepublic)

2. Taking healthcare to the home

According to September 2021 report from Grand View Research, the global home healthcare market reached $299 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.88% from 2021 to 2028. This was a shift from 2019 to 2020, when the home healthcare market declined 1.64%.

“The pandemic increased the demand for home healthcare equipment with patients, particularly those most at risk when exposed to COVID-19,” Dr. Aragon said. He doesn’t see this trend ending, as “patients refuse to give up the benefits of at-home healthcare being received during the pandemic.”

Outset’s Tablo Hemodialysis System is an example of a home healthcare device as it gives patients the option to dialyze in their own home.

3. Trustworthy AI

According to research from Arizton, the global healthcare AI market is predicted to reach $44.5 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 46.21%. This increased use of artificial intelligence will be driven by pharmaceutical companies using technology to boost innovations, the increase in patient volume and the shrinking workforce in healthcare facilities.

“The addition of AI reduces human error, whether in radiology tools and immunotherapy for cancer patients, determining the best treatment for a dialysis patient, or identifying where the latest infectious disease is spreading around the world,” Dr. Aragon said.

4. Embracing advanced telehealth

According to global management consultants, McKinsey & Company, the use of telehealth services skyrocketed during the pandemic, hitting a level 78 times higher in April 202o compared to before Covid-19. That level has since fallen, but telehealth usage still remain 38 times higher than before the pandemic. Dr. Aragon see this trend continuing.

“Innovation has skyrocketed due to increased interest in telehealth, and it will continue to grow as new virtual healthcare models and business models evolve and new services and health solutions are made available,” Dr. Aragon said. “Visiting the doctor will soon become a virtual experience for many patients.”

5. Promoting diversity in healthcare

Citing statistics that show minorities and people of color are not given equal access to quality care, Dr. Aragon said that “this is the year that the healthcare industry will take a strong look at these disparities and find ways to create healthcare that leads to cultural competency among healthcare providers so that they can better meet the unique social and cultural needs of their patients.”

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