GeekWire recently asked five heavyweights within the digital health community for their 2023 digital health predictions. Especially given transformations in telehealth, remote monitoring, and personal digital devices over the past two years has changed patient care.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital health technologies and a digital transformation within the industry. Healthcare organizations that embrace new technologies create patient engagement and ultimately, better patient care.
So what trends were noted by GeekWire’s digital health leaders?
Taha Kass-Hout, vice president of technology-health AI and chief medical officer at Amazon Web Services
According to Taha Kass-Hout, technological innovation and collaboration encourage the industry to consider “prevention through a patient experience that is precise, personalized, and human.”
He expects that healthcare and life sciences organizations will continue to make investments in cloud technology. The goal is to improve the industry and switch from reactive to preventive patient care. According to Kass-Hout, this will involve:
- Integrating genomics and other omics data into therapeutic development
- Leveraging machine learning and analytics to advance clinician workflows
- Incorporating social determinants data into disease management at the patient or population levels
- Using structured and unstructured data to predict disease with much better accuracy
Kingsley Ndoh, founder and chief strategist of Hurone AI
Kingsley Ndoh thinks that the industry will see more people-centered innovations to support clinical decision-making. He also believes that there will be better integration of data generated from wearables, smartphone apps, and electronic medical records. All to support clinical decisions, behavioral change, and personalization at scale through the power of artificial intelligence (AI).
AI is increasingly used in healthcare to analyze large amounts of data and make predictions or recommendations. There is growing interest in personalized medicine, which involves tailoring treatment and prevention strategies to an individual’s unique characteristics, such as their genetic makeup or lifestyle.
Ndoh states that such innovation will incorporate more diversity in training while considering cultural perspectives.
Loretta Little, managing director of WRF Capital
As managing director of WRF Capital, Loretta Little focused 2023 on the growth of funding within digital startups. She believes there will be more companies that focus on mental health services as well as those that focus on improving connectivity and tools for better remote care.
Little affirms the importance of remote care, especially in underserved, rural communities with limited access to nearby resources. She adds that the “rural senior population represents a large percentage of chronic disease sufferers and will need to be linked up with services.”
Shyam Gollakota, cofounder of Waverly Diagnostics and Sound Life Sciences (acquired by Google), professor at the University of Washington’s Allen School
Shyam Gollakota explores the adoption of telehealth we witnessed grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gollakota thinks that we will witness its growth, along with remote in-home tests connected to telehealth services.
Gollakota further suggests that the next remote healthcare innovation will be in earbuds and electroencephalography (EEG) signals that open new opportunities for brain interfaces. He hopes to see startups that apply large language models to address various pain points to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Su-In Lee, University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering
Su-In Lee thinks that there will be expansions in AI devices next year, particularly with explainable AI (XAI) functionality. But she adds, the 2023 innovation with AI devices will largely depend on FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approval.
She states that increased reimbursement by insurance providers and the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will drive an upsurge in the number of FDA-approved AI devices. Lee sees FDA approval processes incorporating XAI analysis to engender trust, transparency, fairness, and actionability of machine learning models.
Improved innovation encourages efficiency and better patient care
The healthcare industry largely lagged behind other industries when it came to implementing digital strategies. But consumers are looking for modern and convenient treatment, consistent with their experience elsewhere. And thankfully health technology (or healthtech), and therefore the healthcare industry, is evolving and growing.
Healthcare organizations are learning to use technology to drive efficiency and quality care:
- Treatments become more effective
- Digital dispensation accelerates the prescription process
- Practitioners use real-time patient data for enhanced communication and care
- Patient-doctor interactions become more seamless
- Surgery become more successful and less expensive
- Health concerns become easier to predict
All five health leaders interviewed by GeekWire focused on people-centered innovations that drive patient experiences and engagement. Efficiency and quality care decrease stress among doctors, nurses, and patients alike. Waiting times, as well as surgical procedures and recovery times, reduce. Smart technology makes it easier to record and follow patients. Moreover, experiences become individually tailored and personalized.
But one thing not mentioned is how HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity play into the growth of technology.
What does this mean for data privacy and cybersecurity?
More technology within healthcare means more opportunities for cyberattackers to exploit more threat vectors. As protected health information is collected and stored digitally, a layered cybersecurity approach becomes increasingly important.
This means investing in updated procedures and employee awareness training. This also means ensuring strong access and storage controls to secure data and all a system’s entry points. And of course, this means guaranteeing a strong email security program, especially when communicating with patients.
That’s where Paubox Email Suite comes in. Along with enabling outbound HIPAA compliant email by default, our Plus and Premium solutions include robust inbound email security tools that block malicious emails from reaching an inbox in the first place.
The increased use of technology is important within healthcare, improving various aspects of patient care. But healthcare covered entities can only thrive by building and sustaining a strong culture of security while adopting new tech trends.
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