The last few years have become significant for medicine if we talk about the number of new directions, new techniques, and the introduction of digital technologies. Healthcare is blurring the boundaries, opening the doors for interaction with all disciplines that can give it a qualitative leap to development. Artificial intelligence and wearable devices are becoming the usual means of organizing the treatment process and monitoring the human condition.
There are plenty of mhealth app options for patients and their doctors, healthcare professionals - App Store and Play Market if full of healthcare apps. We can even choose between hundreds of mental health and wellness apps. But the healthcare industry is not developing only in the healthcare application sector, there is also a big step in the development of robots in the medical market. Robots have learned how to disinfect spaces, take care of patients and deliver parcels, algorithms are now able to track breathing and cough severity in primary care, and artificial intelligence can predict the spread of the virus in order to control the flow of people in public places, using health data and other health information. The pandemic accelerated the development of technologies in the field of medicine and brought to the top trends that were not so noticeable before.
A new telemedicine format was included in the top five technological trends that were stimulated by the pandemic. Covid-19 forced patients and doctors to communicate at a distance, as a result, during the pandemic, the number of virtual visits to medical clinics increased 20 times. The medical app can now measure our weight and many other health indicators and send all this health data through third party app to our medical device of our doctor's hospital. According to forecasts announced in the new Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2020 report, in the future, every third visit to the doctor will take place in virtual reality. This is evidenced by the enthusiasm of doctors and patients, as well as the openness of consumers to new services.
For this to happen, medical organizations must rethink the accumulated experience of telemedicine and make the service as clear as possible for patients, even some medical professional organizations say that it is not that easy for older doctors to understand all of the patient health data. We need to turn potential customers into partners and give them the opportunity to personalize their experience as much as possible. According to world statistics, about 90% of healthcare managers consider this an integral part of successful competition.
So far, 70% of consumers of medical services are concerned that they cannot control the transmission of health data and their subsequent use. They want to decide for themselves what data companies can store after they have provided medical care. It's all about patient safety. To increase user loyalty, corporations are forced to make data collection transparent, customizable, and easily manageable.
The virus has forced us to monitor our health more closely. Sales of wearable smart electronics showed incredible growth even before the pandemic, now we are seeing a new wave of interest. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, 50 million devices were sold. The pandemic motivated people to send even more data about themselves to the cloud, including their location and body temperature.
So far, health care is missing the opportunity to combine and analyze the entire array of this data in order to develop predictive medicine. Meanwhile, the attention of millions of users will receive services that will allow predicting when, where, and what kind of medical service a person will need, what he may get sick in the future, and what treatment or prevention options are suitable for him personally.
Let's highlight the most interesting areas of high-tech medicine for business for the next 5 years.
1. Internet of Things for Medicine (IoT)
Health monitoring tools or indicators of physical activity are gaining popularity every year. And, given the rapid aging of the population of our planet, we can safely say that devices such as heart monitors that can warn of an impending heart attack will help to seriously reduce mortality rates, improve disease prevention and reduce the burden on the entire healthcare system.
According to the analytical company Tractica, the supply of smart clothing will grow from 1.7 million units by the end of 2016 to 26.9 million units in 2022. The wearable sensor market will be subject to even greater growth, increasing from 2.4 million units in 2016 to 92.1 million units in 2022. Both segments will generate revenue of $19 billion in 2022, according to a report by the analytical firm Tractica. Already, many clothing manufacturers are opening special divisions that will be responsible for integrating monitoring technologies into their products.
The World Health Organization also supports the development of this area, considering that compliance with the exact prescriptions of doctors with the help of special devices can seriously increase the effectiveness of prescribed therapy and save up to $ 290 billion.
The use of the data obtained with the help of IoT can benefit patients, specialists and medical personnel, medical equipment manufacturers, and those who pay for the provision of medical services. This will contribute to greater patient independence, better treatment, more efficient use of medicines, and lower healthcare costs.
2. Mobile applications providing medical support and mobile health
With the development of digital technologies, mobile applications are becoming an integral part of everyone's life. We take our little mobile device literally everywhere, Therefore, it is not surprising that applications have become one of the main directions of the development of digital medicine. The main growth factors are rapid progress in mobile technologies and applications, an increase in the number of lifestyle-related diseases, and patient awareness of the possibilities of mobile medicine in emerging markets.
According to the analytical agency Allied Market Research, the volume of the global mobile healthcare market in 2014 was estimated at $10.5 billion. In 2015-2020, analysts at Allied Market Research expect further growth in market volumes with an average annual value (CAGR) of 33.5%.
All applications can be divided into several groups: collection and storage of various medical metrics of the user (pulse, pressure, heart function, sleep, etc.); fitness applications (exercise complexes, performance monitoring); applications for a healthy lifestyle (dietetics, active lifestyle, tips, etc.); applications for reminders about taking medications and storing medical records (for example, Medical Note); applications for people suffering from a certain disease; applications for interacting with a medical center or clinic.
Another application that speaks about the confident prospects of mHealth has become Natural Cycles, which this year was officially recognized as a method of contraception in the European Union. Its creators managed to conduct the entire cycle of clinical trials on 22,785 women, attract $ 30 million in investments and get into the phones of 500,000 women for a subscription of $ 10 and $ 80 per month and year, respectively.
3. Collaboration of man and machine
Artificial intelligence and technologies for working with them are other trends that radically change modern medicine and healthcare app development. According to Accenture, 69% of healthcare organizations in Europe and the United States are implementing or have already implemented AI to automate work.
The importance of human-machine collaboration has been discussed for a long time, but its necessity for the successful development of mankind was best demonstrated by the pandemic. During outbreaks of the virus, AI helped to find the primary signs of the disease, kept electronic medical records, answered patients' questions - and thereby accelerated, improved, and reduced the cost of clinic services.
A typical example of such technology is a service from Partners HealthCare, which helps doctors to perform primary triage of patients. It is not the doctor who communicates with the patient, but artificial intelligence. It is he who determines whether there is a risk of infection and, due to the speed of data processing, greatly unloads the clinic's hotline.
Senior managers in healthcare are still aware of only a small part of the potential of artificial intelligence. By finding new ways of human-machine interaction, companies will ensure uninterrupted collaboration. Clinic staff will be able to free themselves from routine work in order to devote more time to working with people and building a patient-oriented approach to treatment.
People and algorithms need to understand each other better. To do this, companies should monitor and implement advances in natural language processing and computer vision, as well as hire and grow specialists who can train and program artificial intelligence for medical tasks.
4. Eternal Beta version
Covid-19 provoked the rapid deployment of new technologies and showed that products, services, and goods can no longer be static. In real-time, the world tested products that were developed in parallel with how they were used. Experts have already called this state an "eternal beta version" and noted how easily people were ready to trust services and technologies that were incomplete to the end.
A simple example: in April, the Australian government launched a newly developed application to track the spread of the virus. During the day, this health app was installed by 2 million citizens. They were ready to trust a product that no one had ever used and believed that big data would help doctors stop the coronavirus.
This habit will also pass into the "post-like" world: consumers have learned that their experience affects the refinement of the product and are waiting for updates from manufacturers. This is the dilemma of smart technologies: they have to get better, but for this, they force their customers to turn into testers of new hypotheses. Here, a new threat arises: the vulnerability of the product infrastructure, which is always in beta.
Healthcare organizations will develop technological products and services taking into account the constant expansion of their functionality. By releasing them to the market, developers must reliably protect the internal ecosystem and support the community of their testers. Making a constantly changing product comfortable and reliable for users is a special art that you will have to master.
With the help of innovations, an organization can create a mirror image of a new product - its digital counterpart - and already model scenarios and test hypotheses based on it. Hypothetical testing of products and services will help to understand how to increase the value of technology and reduce the risk of product deployment in critical areas of medicine.
5. Disinfection robots
Due to the mass infection of doctors and medical workers in the spring of 2020, robots have gained special importance in healthcare. People can assign them routine tasks, such as sterilizing rooms and measuring the temperature of patients. A striking example was the startup Youibot, which not only disinfected surfaces with ultraviolet light but also scanned the appearance of visitors, revealing the primary signs of diseases.
In Singapore, a Boston Dynamics robot dog was experimentally brought out into the street. She patrolled public places and broadcast a recording about how important it is to keep a distance. Autonomous robots of the Mayo Clinic in Florida transported used tests for Covid-19, and the Russian startup "Third Opinion" learned from tomography to determine whether a patient has "covid" pneumonia.
Robots do not replace human specialists but continue and expand their capabilities. Organizations of the future will hire mixed teams of robots and people, radically changing the way patient care itself works. Medical organizations of the future will face new challenges related to investing in talents, programming robots, and integrating them into the work team.
+ THE DNA of innovation
The pandemic did not slow down the technological revolution, but, on the contrary, stimulated it and showed that innovation is needed in any industry. Just as a person's DNA determines his personal characteristics and talents, so innovative DNA will directly influence the organization and its development in the future.
It consists of digital technologies, quantum computing and breakthrough scientific achievements, blockchain technologies, and distributed registries. The good news is that companies can assemble their unique DNA and combine the technologies they need with their core competencies.
New technologies help save lives and make doctors' work more efficient. Mostly because of health record data. In order to invent and implement innovations, healthcare organizations need the infrastructure to create them. According to the forecasts of Accenture analysts, in the foreseeable future, every third visit to the doctor will take place in a remote format using technology. To be among the first, medical organizations already need to implement a comfortable and transparent ecosystem for working in the digital world in conjunction with decision support systems, including those based on artificial intelligence.
If you've got a health insurance business, healthcare organization, etc., and got an app idea like a telehealth app check our mobile development portfolio and contact us to talk about medical app development and our cooperation that will definitely open new opportunities for your company.