2017 has seen a lot of trends emerging in the healthcare industry and it is expected to be revamped in the upcoming years. The year 2018 is said to witness how technology will contribute in uplifting the healthcare sector with transparency being one of the key concerns. Artificial intelligence, IoT, cybersecurity, disaster preparedness and the real-world patient experience are some of the prime trends.

Here are the top 13 healthcare predictions/concerns for 2018

1. Real world evidence

By 2019, nearly 50% of the healthcare companies will have dedicated resources to help and manage healthcare right from accessing, sharing and analysing real world data for use across their organization. The growing real-world data is providing healthcare and life science industries with the ability to better assess their existing and emerging treatments and drugs. Real world evidence can help target patients who can benefit from the drugs or exclude those from that might be harmful.

2. Digital mobile engagement

Digital mobile engagement among patients, providers and life science companies will increase 50% by 2019, thereby improving clinical trial treatment and medical adherence. This bridges communication gaps and enable information pathways. Both the doctors and patients are comfortable using their mobile devices for work and accessing medical records.

3. IoT for asset management and tracking

The proliferation of IoT enabled asset tracking and inventory management will almost double the current rate by 2020. Not only will it increase hospital operational efficiency, patient safety and staff satisfaction, it will also support in decision making. The IoT enabled platforms aggregates and integrates data to obtain insights into operations, assets, tracking and HR management.

4. Patient generated data

The rise of passive biometric and digital tracking technologies, improved data analysis tools and related innovations transform patient-generated data into a high-value resource. By 2025, 25% of medical data will be handled, shared and collected by the patients themselves for the healthcare systems, thereby enabling a personalized relationship with the clinicians for continued treatment.

5. Robotics at hospitals

Technology advancements in robotics facilitates deployment of robots to handle time consuming tasks, reduce labor, prevent errors to improve patient safety and sustain business operations. They are increasingly being used in supply chain functions, surgical procedures, clinical applications and cases.

6. Blockchain health ecosystem proliferates

With hospital executives, payers and others considering or deploying blockchain solutions, innovators recognize this technology has great potential in healthcare. Blockchain use-cases diversify into anti-counterfeiting, health data marketplaces and other areas for operations management and patient identity. In 2018, we can expect to hear a lot more about blockchain’s role in health-focused artificial intelligence applications, precision medicine and genomics.

7. Cognitive and AI adoption

Nearly 20 to 40 percent of healthcare and life science organizations will achieve productivity gains through cognitive and AI adoption. The introduction of applications with embedded cognitive/AI technologies have increased in IT adoption.

8. Empathetic health interfaces mature

Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Voice and related technologies accelerate the development of technologies that are more responsive, empathetic and human-like, which benefits elder care, mental health and other areas.

In 2017, empathetic interfaces made significant leaps forward, as chatbots, robotics and artificial intelligence have led to the creation of truly responsive interfaces that patients are beginning to trust and rely on.

In 2018, we will see empathetic interfaces expand across a range of areas, including depression, aging, providing companionship to older adults and even rehabilitation.

9. Increased back office operations reliance on tech

The overwhelming data management requirements and budget constraints will push organizations towards the BPaaS (Business Process as a service) vendors to integrate, manage, analyse and act on the hidden insights in the data.

10. Medical device vulnerability

Class-action lawsuits against medical device manufacturer for negligence resulting in the death of patients connected to the networked medical devices while hospitalized will be more common than anticipated. This will be precipitated by the IoT adoption in healthcare vertical.

11. Digital/virtual healthcare services

By 2021, digital healthcare services will account for 6 percent of global healthcare expenditures. A new generation of digital healthcare services is reaching consumers in a faster and more personalized way, relying on telehealth and patient engagement technologies. These approaches are leveraging IoT-enabled medical devices, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, further underpinned by the third-generation platform of technologies.

12. Disaster preparation

Healthcare organizations need to go the extra mile with disaster preparedness to keep healthcare going, such as keeping generators and critical systems in an underground concrete site.
Have a virtual backup to traditional services that can provide medical assistance in the event of damaged facilities. Organizations need to establish current levels of resilience and plan for what comes next.

13. Tax reform moves forward

Financial reporting systems will have to be updated to capture different information as new tax provisions go into effect. Based on any final tax reform passed by the government, businesses need to audit their systems to determine required changes.

Companies should continue to model proposed provisions’ effects and develop action plans to mitigate risks and take advantage of potential opportunities. Organizations with advanced insight into reform’s impact will build enterprise resilience, positioning themselves to respond to changes more quickly once they take effect.