The digital healthcare revolution is well underway on a global scale. In 2022, it will gain more momentum as the onslaught of technologies integrated by healthcare companies keeps increasing. Both providers and patients will continue to look for new and more efficient ways to improve healthcare.
What Factors are Driving the Healthcare IT Revolution?
The COVID19 pandemic proved that healthcare interactions could be virtual. According to McKinsey, virtual interactions between healthcare providers and patients increased by 40 times in the past 18 months. Companies with strong IT teams are poised to generate tremendous value from such virtual interactions.
- The timing to experiment with technology-based healthcare couldn't be better. Funding in the global healthcare sector is growing at a fast rate. In 2021, digital healthcare startups raised $21.3 billion – a record high since 2020's funding record of $14.6 billion.
- 2021 was also the year of record-breaking mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare IT sector. For instance, Microsoft acquired Nuance Communications, a speech-recognition company, for $19.7 billion.
- India's healthcare IT sector is expected to experience a 39% increase in value by 2023. The sector can potentially touch a valuation of $5 billion by 2023 and over $50 billion by 2032. With over 5000 healthcare IT startups, the sector is currently valued at only $1.9 billion. The potential for growth in the ever-improving healthcare ecosystem of India is huge.
The Healthcare IT Sector's Future – Key Areas of Opportunity
The healthcare IT sector is massive. There are many areas of opportunity for new companies or professionals in this sector. Here are some areas that are driving real change in the global and the local healthcare IT sector –
The advance of data analytics technologies is transforming countless industries, and it'll do the same in the healthcare IT sector. Health-related companies now have access to new streams of businesses insights that can improve most if not all day-to-day operations. In the past, performing such analytics required impractical amounts of computing power.
Now, with AI-based software tools, companies in the healthcare IT sector can affordably optimize their business data. For example, AI-powered software tools from Optum helps doctors forecast patient needs or problems. These "big-data" tools process large databases of patient information to help doctors detect at-risk patients.
Telemedicine has been around for many decades. But, during the pandemic, its popularity soared. Doctors were quick to use online video conferencing tools, smartphones, and other wireless devices to deliver remote clinical services. Now, it's common for patients to demand virtual care for primary consultations and even initial diagnoses.
Many doctors are also performing "remote patient monitoring." Clinicians use the data they collect from these virtual monitoring sessions to provide customized treatment plans. They combine predictive analytics with telemedicine to prevent hospitalization or re-admission for at-risk COVID19 patients.
Healthcare companies with strong IT teams are better at keeping patients away from hospitals. They optimize their telemedicine tools to cut costs and improve care quality. With high-quality IT support, healthcare providers can ensure that their patients don't have to waste time waiting or doing paperwork.
Patients also don't need time-consuming consultations. Doctors can monitor and consult with patients anywhere and anytime with high-quality telemedicine tools.
Safer and More Secure Record Sharing
Sharing general medical information and specific- patient information with peers is a vital part of being a medical professional. Unfortunately, since the advent of professional healthcare, medical data has always been an extremely valuable asset. That's why hospitals, public health systems and other healthcare providers always face cyberattacks.
Since 2020, cyberattacks on hospitals, public health systems and other healthcare providers have become more frequent and sophisticated. During this period –
- 40+ ransomware gangs targeting healthcare providers in specific have been identified (but not all have been reprimanded)
- 93% of healthcare organizations experienced at least one data breach.
The reason behind these cyberattacks is simple – healthcare data is extremely valuable. It sells for premium prices in black markets. That's why a key area of opportunity in the healthcare IT sector is security. Many companies will employ new technologies like data analytics and blockchain technology to create safer ways to transmit patient information.
Healthcare IT teams will also use analytics to identify behaviours that reflect the risk of cyber-attacks. For instance, some healthcare IT experts observe changes in network traffic in real-time to predict cyberattacks. But, the chief information security officers of healthcare companies know that cyberattacks are always evolving.
Hence, the scope of growth opportunities for healthcare companies that deploy the best IT security tools is massive. Lead the healthcare industry in terms of security, and countless business opportunities will follow.
AI and machine learning technologies have many real-world applications in the healthcare sector. By leveraging these tools, healthcare companies can –
- Improve their quality of research. Use AI-powered tools to identify key data sets from large data banks. Boost your ability to find and share critical medical data with patients, fellow healthcare organizations, etc.
- Reduce fraud. From data security to managing insurance applications – there are many AI applications that deliver more efficient solutions to healthcare professionals.
The future of healthcare IT is all about improving access to healthcare, the quality of healthcare, and lowering healthcare costs. The healthcare companies on the path to total digital transformation are likelier to realize these objectives faster.