4 Key Health Tech Trends for Businesses in 2024 This year, healthcare faces the influence of pivotal societal drivers: an aging population, the rise of transformative technologies shaping the healthcare landscape, and persistent global economic uncertainties.
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In 2024, healthcare faces the influence of pivotal societal drivers: an ageing population, the rise of transformative technologies shaping the healthcare landscape, and persistent global economic uncertainties. These factors collectively steer the course of healthcare, presenting a unique set of challenges and opportunities for the health tech industry here in Europ and abroad.
Here are the pivotal societal forces set to play a major role in healthcare technology trends for 2024.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI).
In the realm of health tech, the burgeoning integration of AI to enhance efficiency and effectiveness has become a focal point, with high expectations of revealing novel insights to inform diagnoses and treatments. The advent of generative AI further accentuates its potential by expediting the planning and execution of research tasks. Positioned at the forefront of health tech trends for 2024 is the incorporation of AI-powered workflow automation and optimisation. While strides have been made – particularly in prospective studies and image analysis – large-scale deployment is still in its early validation stages, prompting a call for diverse exploration and validation in real clinical settings. The landscape encourages imaginative approaches, urging the exploration of AI's capacity to draw connections beyond traditional image data, embracing non-image data types and unconventional problem formulations.
Collaboration emerges as a key theme, with AI–human partnerships poised to yield superior results resembling real medical practice. Amidst the promises lie significant technical and ethical considerations, yet systematic addressing of these challenges holds the key to unlocking AI's profound impact on the future of medicine. Navigating these uncharted territories presents vast opportunities for businesses to harness AI in health tech, promising transformative advancements aligned with the evolving needs of the healthcare industry.
Turning to generative AI, the advent of Large Language Models, epitomised by OpenAI's ChatGPT, is reshaping the landscape of healthcare. GPT-4 and counterparts like Google's Med-PaLM promise transformative applications, from automating clinical notes to assisting physicians in diagnostics and treatment planning.
2. Telehealth 2.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Harnessing the synergy of medical apps, wearables, and virtual health record platforms, Telehealth 2.0 prioritises population health and prevention. For future success, these integrated systems must enable continuous monitoring and secure data sharing.
In the evolving landscape of telehealth, the next wave surpasses video consultations, integrating user-friendly tools like medical apps and wearable sensors. Pioneering ultrasound technology now offers noninvasive, real-time tracking of dynamic changes in breast tissue, revolutionising diagnostic imaging for improved breast cancer survival rates. On the horizon is a world where health data is seamlessly monitored, securely shared, and analysed through the power of IoT and artificial intelligence.
The numbers tell a compelling story, with the portable telehealth industry projected to hit $227 billion and wearable devices expected to reach $70 billion in sales by 2025. More than 80% of healthcare organisations are already benefiting from positive returns on investment with mobile strategies. While challenges like liability and reimbursement exist, innovative solutions in technology integration, cloud computing, and IoT adaptation are on the horizon. Businesses now have a golden opportunity to lead the charge in this tech-driven healthcare revolution, exploring novel paths like drone-based technologies for point-of-care delivery of medical tools and augmented reality in electronic health records.
Telehealth 2.0, embodying patient-centred care, brings the clinic directly to the patient, signalling a crucial step toward a comprehensive healthcare reform. This isn't just about adapting; it's about businesses taking the lead in transforming how we experience and receive healthcare.
3. Precision medicine.
Precision medicine represents a groundbreaking shift in disease management, steering away from a one-size-fits-all approach by tailoring interventions based on individual genetic, environmental, and lifestyle differences. Achieving such tailored treatments involves healthcare professionals integrating a myriad of factors, both genetic and non-genetic, to deliver precise care for each patient.
In the domain of precision oncology, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT qPCR) stands as the gold standard for monitoring cancer-associated genes, particularly in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) like BCR-ABL1 mRNA. While BCR-ABL qPCR remains fast, accurate, and clinically valuable, an innovative evolution, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), has emerged to offer even more precise detection of minimal residual disease in CML. This technique, relying on partitioning reagents to amplify and visualise individual template molecules, provides higher precision and improved indicators, overcoming technical challenges, surpassing other PCR techniques.
This technological advancement is rapidly gaining traction within the scientific community, opening new avenues for applications in broader therapy areas of precision medicine – now finding widespread application in clinical therapy and biomedical research, showcasing its ability for precise gene expression detection at the single-cell or single-molecule level. As health tech trends converge with precision medicine, ddPCR emerges as a powerful tool shaping the future of molecular diagnostics.
4. Virtual reality.
Virtual reality is reshaping healthcare paradigms, particularly in the aftermath of challenges posed by COVID-19 to traditional models. The pandemic underscored the vulnerabilities of fee-for-service systems, prompting a swift evolution towards remote interactions that enhance patient care and lower costs for providers. Virtual health offerings, spanning care coordination, patient education, telehealth, and care-at-home, leverage digital capabilities to address critical challenges, including health equity, rising costs, and workforce shortages.
The potential of virtual health delivery extends beyond video visits, encompassing a spectrum of direct-to-patient and provider-to-provider care. Adopting electronic health records is a foundational step in embracing virtual health, providing a comprehensive view of population and individual health. Virtual health, with its goals of expanding access, improving outcomes, enhancing coordination, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency, offers a promising solution to challenges such as health equity, cost of care, environmental impact, and workforce shortages.
The benefits of virtual health are multifaceted, attracting investment from major players in both healthcare and technology sectors. Noteworthy collaborations, such as Best Buy's acquisition of Current Health and Apple's partnership with Zimmer Biomet for remote sensors, exemplify the convergence of healthcare and technology giants. As digital health technology integrates into clinical processes, leveraging cloud computing, machine learning, and connected devices, it not only reduces care costs but also addresses critical issues like the shortage of critical care physicians. The market for remote monitoring devices is projected to exceed $101 billion in 2028, showcasing the increasing reliance on virtual health solutions.
As healthcare hurtles into 2024, it stands at the crossroads of unprecedented societal shifts. Precision medicine, with its individualised approach, spearheads advancements, especially in oncology through revolutionary ddPCR. Artificial Intelligence emerges as a transformative force, unlocking potential in workflow automation but requiring vigilant navigation of ethical landscapes. Telehealth 2.0, fuelled by IoT, propels patient-centric care, offering a glimpse into a tech-driven healthcare future. Virtual reality becomes the linchpin, reshaping delivery models post-pandemic and gaining traction with a 39% spending surge.
In this dynamic landscape, businesses hold the key to driving innovative solutions and revolutionising the healthcare experience. The future beckons, and the time for transformation is now.