Top Healthcare Technology Trends to Watch Out for 2024 and Beyond: Unveiling Innovations

In recent years, the world of healthcare has been a real rollercoaster ride. We’ve witnessed the twins and turns of the digital revolution, a global pandemic, and shifting demographics. We’ve also seen a massive shift in patients’ demands. Now, it’s not enough just to have a web presence as it was just a decade ago. In order to retain a loyal base of customers, healthcare organizations need to push the boundaries of what they thought was possible by giving users unique experiences and constantly innovating. 

During the last few years, many new healthcare technology trends emerged including telemedicine, mobile healthcare, biotechnology, and so on, but we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of technology in the healthcare industry. As we’ve moved into 2024, we already see many new exciting trends that are taking shape and are going to hit us strongly in the coming years. These are the trends we’re going to cover in this article.

Healthcare Software Market Overview

While some still perceive healthcare as a slow-moving industry, the complete opposite is happening. If we look back to 2023, the healthcare market size was valued at $309.2 billion, which was already phenomenal. Now these figures are constantly growing and are projected to reach $528.5 billion by the end of 2030.

In fact, the whole sector is growing by leaps and bounds. According to recent stats, the market for global healthcare services grew from $7.4 trillion in 2022 to $7.9 trillion in 2023 and is anticipated to reach $9.8 trillion in 2027. This can only mean one thing: the medical industry doesn’t stand still — it’s evolving at a fast rate, bringing innovations in every aspect of patient care. 

The best thing is? There’s much more to it than just numbers. Since technology began to develop, many gadgets have proven to be life-altering, significantly reducing deaths from heart attacks and cancer. Thus, investing in new technologies in healthcare is not only the right impulse, but also a contribution to increasing their value to society. 

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The last few years in healthcare are being marked with some breakneck technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML), and Blockchain. This year is going to be no less remarkable in terms of innovations and advancements. In addition to the continued evolution of AI and ML technologies, we anticipate several other key medical tech trends to take healthcare by storm. Let’s delve into these trends and explore how they’re going to affect healthcare delivery in the near future. 

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning: the key current trend

Right off the bat, AI and ML aren’t going anywhere. Same as a year ago, these two technologies continue to advance in 2024, bringing transformative changes to the industry. You’ve probably heard of ECG medical devices that can detect and predict abnormalities in the heart rates of clients. As of 2024 and beyond, we expect to see the rise of personalized medical devices driven by artificial intelligence that will be used to evaluate the patient’s health. 

When talking about AI, we can’t skip ChatGPT, another breakthrough in AI that’s making waves in healthcare. A smart piece of AI technology adept at creating various types of content, it’s slowly but confidently slipping into dozens of industries, with healthcare being no exception. Here’s just a small part of what ChatGPT can do for medical institutions:

  • Answering patient questions – with ChatGPT’s ability to generate human-like text, it can perfectly substitute for real customer support agents, acting as a virtual medical assistant and answering patients’ inquiries 24/7.   
  • Streamlining documentation – ChatGPT can also lend a helping hand with automating repetitive administrative tasks such as medical charting and note-taking, freeing up valuable time for medical professionals so they can focus on patient care.
  • Helping with decision-making – due to ChatGPT’s ability to analyze vast amounts of data, it can provide healthcare specialists with evidence-based recommendations and insights, making it easier for them to make diagnoses and plan treatment. 
  • Improving telemedicine – while telemedicine has already been around for quite a while now, ChatGPT can take it to the next level. It can be used to summarize patient histories, generate visit summaries, and facilitate communication between patients and healthcare facilities, improving the level of care delivery big time. 
  • Educating patients – last but not least, ChatGPT can come in useful in educating patients with regard to various health conditions and treatment plans. People will be able to type in their symptoms or diagnoses and receive personalized advice tailored to their specific situations.

Surely, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to go and see the doctor if you have a serious health condition. As useful and helpful as AI is, it by no means should be viewed as a replacement for professional advice. However, it will certainly become a helpful tool in the healthcare industry, aiding healthcare professionals and enhancing the overall patient experience. 

Besides, we should mention AI-driven chatbots. A nice-to-have feature just a few years ago, today, chatbots have become an integral part of healthcare that people come to expect from virtual rooms. 

Looking into the future, we can see this trend continuing. People are no longer ready to wait in line before someone answers the phone. Almost 65% of surveyed confessed they’d rather use chatbots to get information. Medical staff also find the use of chatbots much more practical, with 60% of them confirming they significantly save their working time. 

2. Telehealth: the new norm

Telehealth or telemedicine is another trend in healthcare that will continue in 2024. Even though the pandemic has long loosened its grip, opening doors of thousands of medical clinics all over the world, people have grown to love virtual healthcare options. 

According to the Accenture digital health survey, 62% of consumers prefer to use virtual hospitals, while 52% acknowledged they’d rather use remote patient monitoring to check on their health than schedule in-person meetings with the doctor. Digging further, the same report reveals that even for more serious issues like disease diagnosis, 42% of patients would not mind consulting doctors online. 

Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that telehealth has become the new norm, treated by many as a time-saving alternative to traditional healthcare visits. People love the flexibility of consulting with healthcare workers from the comfort of their homes. In addition, telemedicine extends the coverage of medical services, ensuring that everyone, including patients from underserved areas, can get professional, personalized care. All of this has led to its increased popularity and widespread adoption worldwide.

As you can guess, technology-wise, telehealth is set to advance. These days, it encompasses not just video consultations but also thousands of wearable devices, all connected to the Internet of Medical Things network. A prime example of a wearable used in telemedicine is a fitness tracking device. While originally designed to track fitness objectives, it comes indispensable in the postoperative phase, allowing patients recovering after surgery to share their medical data with medical facilities without having to travel to the hospital.

Another example is a medical alert system. Many virtual hospital wards use this medical equipment to monitor patients’ health and behavior, providing patients with increased bed availability and enhanced customer care. 

Speaking of the trends for 2024, we’re going to see a rise of virtual insurance plans. In the US, there’s already a requirement that private insurers cover telehealth services, and this trend is expected to expand globally. We will also see a greater number of wearable devices and wellness applications that can help translate results, cutting down visits to the hospital. 

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3. Transformative impact of big data

Data collection is an important part of every organization, but in healthcare, which deals with massive amounts of data, it’s especially important. The more data healthcare providers gather, the better the tools they need to manage it. That’s where big-data solutions come invaluable.

The ability to effectively collect, process, and analyze healthcare data helps organizations reduce human errors and make healthcare more personalized, enabling doctors to provide more efficient treatment even with the brief amount of time they have for each patient. Big data is also tightly related to AI. With vast amounts of data, AI-driven algorithms have more deliverables to work with, allowing them to build more accurate forecasts and predictions. Not surprisingly, big data is widely used in telemedicine, wearable devices, and predictive analytics, revolutionizing the way personal care is delivered and managed. 

One example of big data analytics application in healthcare is epidemics control. So much can change from one epidemic to another, making it incredibly hard for scientists to keep up with epidemic trends and predict outbreaks early enough to prevent them. This mostly happens due to the fact that disease control centers receive the important variables too late and/or do not have the necessary data-processing tools to get a step ahead of an epidemic. 

However, with big data and machine learning combined, everything changes. By processing real-time geographical, environmental, and demographic data, scientists can predict not only the time when the outbreak of an epidemic is likely to occur but also understand the cause of it and do everything possible to prevent the spread of contagious diseases by sharing early warnings with international centers. 

Furthermore, big data can become one of the largest drivers of scientific advancements in the healthcare sector, helping researchers uncover learning opportunities and find more effective approaches to developing and testing new treatments for various diseases and fatal conditions. Big data will remove the guesswork in trial and error experimenting and help research and development companies in discovering high-quality drugs and other health-related products at a faster rate. It will also drive the development of new IoT solutions to improve preventive care and enable more accurate, personalized treatment for every patient. So, we’re just at the beginning of the journey that will unfold before us in the years to come. 

4. Virtual reality in healthcare systems

One of the other top healthcare technology trends that is gaining momentum in 2024 is virtual reality (VR). Primarily used for video games and entertainment a decade ago, it has quickly found its way into healthcare, offering innovative solutions for both patient care and medical training. 

To better understand how big the impact of VR in healthcare is, let’s look at some numbers. In 2021, the VR and AR market size was valued at $1,206 billion. By the end of 2028, it’s projected to reach $11,658 billion, showing a tenfold increase. 

The applications of virtual reality in healthcare are diverse and continue to grow as technology advances. In telemedicine, it’s made it possible to treat patients who exclusively required in-patient care before. For instance, one of the most innovative uses of the VR technology involves the use of a robotic exoskeleton that allows the doctor to see what’s happening with the patient’s limbs while being miles away from them. 

Furthermore, virtual reality is widely used in surgical training and planning. Now, before a surgeon makes a single incision, they undergo training via surgery simulators that allow them to visualize every aspect of the surgery, potentially reducing the risk of complications. 

Virtual reality for teaching has already been implemented in multiple clinics across the globe. A case in point is Stanford University, a surgery simulator owner for the last 17 years. The simulator includes haptic tech that provides sensory feedback to the learner during the simulation. The university’s endoscopic sinus surgery simulation utilizes CT scans from real-life patients to develop 3D models learners can practice on. 

Besides training and education, VR helps manage a number of neuropsychological issues, including various phobias, PTSD, pain, and even brain damage. With virtual reality technology, patients get a chance to look their fears in the eyes in a safe environment, speeding up the recovery process. They can also manage and treat PTSD by undergoing exposure therapy designed to help them learn to deal with their feelings in a healthy manner. 

As mentioned, VR also proves helpful in treating pain. Specifically, it can be used as a distraction tool. A good example is SnowWorld, a game developed by the University of Washington to control pain in burn victims. In the game, users throw snowballs at virtual penguins while listening to Paul Simon, making the whole experience relaxing and entertaining. 

Speaking of VR in healthcare, we should also mention robotic VR solutions. This particular technology stands at the intersection of VR and robots. Designed to minimize the invasiveness of surgeries, surgical robots help perform complex medical operations with an incision as tiny as 1.5 cm, offering precision that goes far beyond traditional methods. 

For example, a robot developed by Vicarious Surgical can insert a camera and necessary instruments into a small port and provide 360-degree access to the area through a VR headset worn by the surgeon. The uniqueness of this robot is that it can completely imitate the movements of the surgeon’s hand, helping achieve the goals of the surgery in the least traumatic way. 

Without a doubt, VR is one of the technological trends in healthcare that is poised to advance. In the coming years, we’re sure to see this sector growing and expanding, making it a lucrative development path to consider.

5. 3D printing: from prosthetics to organ transplants

Another groundbreaking technology reshaping the healthcare landscape is 3D printing. Once primarily associated with manufacturing and design prototyping, 3D printing has now become an indispensable tool in the medical field, offering unprecedented possibilities ranging from prosthetics to organ transplants.

The versatility of 3D printing allows for the fabrication of customized prosthetic limbs tailored to the unique anatomical needs of individual patients. Unlike traditional prosthetics, which often require extensive manual adjustments, 3D-printed prosthetics offer a perfect fit right from the start, enhancing comfort and functionality for the wearer.

Moreover, 3D printing holds immense potential for organ transplantation. While the concept of printing human organs may seem like science fiction, a lot of things have already been done in this direction. Researchers have successfully printed tissues, blood vessels, and even small organs using bioinks composed of living cells. Although the technology is still in its infancy, the prospect of printing replacement organs on demand could revolutionize transplant surgery, eliminating long waiting lists and the risk of organ rejection.

Beyond prosthetics and organ transplants, 3D printing is also being used to produce surgical tools, medical implants, and anatomical models for surgical planning and training. By enabling the rapid prototyping of medical devices and implants, 3D printing accelerates innovation and customization in healthcare, leading to better patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.

As 3D printing technology continues to advance and become more accessible, we can expect to see its applications in healthcare expand even further. From personalized medical devices to regenerative medicine, 3D printing holds the promise of transforming the way we approach healthcare, ushering in a new era of precision medicine and patient-centered care.

6. Nanotechnology is no longer a science fiction

When talking about trends in healthcare technology, we’d be remiss not to mention nanotechnology, a technology that seemed futuristic just a few years ago but has now become more of a reality, influencing the way doctors treat, diagnose, and prevent diseases. The reality of building machines that are smaller than the human hair is unfolding before our eyes, and its applications are both profound and transformative. From advanced drug delivery systems to the regeneration of damaged tissues, nanotechnology has made it all possible.

A remarkable example of how nanotechnology is being used in healthcare is a “smart pill”. A small machine in the shape of a pill, it comes with diagnostic sensors and a tiny camera that can sense serious diseases long before they exhibit any symptoms. All the patient data gathered by smart pills is sent wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet controlled by healthcare professionals or patients, enabling a level of monitoring and early diagnosis previously unimaginable. 

Along with smart pills, nanorobots have been developed to help with diagnosing the internal health of patients. Same as pills, they are designed with tiny cameras, but in addition to them, they also contain small motors for seamless navigation of different body parts. The operation principle of robots is similar to pills. Once swallowed or ingested, they go straight to the affected area, take photos, and share them with the person controlling the robot’s journey. 

Nanotechnology is still fairly new, but it’s evolving at a rapid pace, transforming the healthcare industry in many ways. It’s helped improve the accuracy of drug delivery, medical imaging, and disease diagnosis. With further development, nanoparticles will become even smaller and more agile, able to travel to hard-to-reach organs such as the lungs and even the brain, tailoring treatments for each patient with unprecedented precision. These developments will inevitably be accompanied by the emergence of innovative medical devices and diagnostic tools that require knowledge of the latest advances in information technology. 

7. Internet of Medical Things is becoming increasingly important

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is one of the other major healthcare technology trends in 2024 that is expected to revolutionize the future of healthcare. In fact, this trend evolves particularly fast. According to Statista, in 2030, the number of IoT connected devices around the world will reach 29.42 billion, which is double from 2023. 

In healthcare, IoMT equipment is increasingly important. It includes wearable devices, home monitoring tools, and hospital systems that all work in tandem to ensure seamless data exchange. These devices not only track vital signs like rate and blood pressure but also more complex metrics such as glucose levels, sleep patterns and trends, and even oxygen saturation, providing healthcare providers with comprehensive patient health information in real time. 

The rise of IoMT has been largely driven by the 2019 epidemic, prompting people to monitor their health more carefully. However, two other factors have fueled its growth as well — the aging population and the increase in chronic diseases. According to a recent United Nations report, the elderly will make up 2.1 billion of the world’s population by 2050. And since elderly people often face more health issues, IoMT devices that enable remote health monitoring via phones and software applications become increasingly important. 

In response to the growing popularity of IoMT equipment, the medical industry has come up with the development of an electronic health record (EHR). This solution has become a breakthrough in healthcare tech, allowing medical facilities and other health-related institutions to efficiently handle different medical data in one single place. 

As the number of IoT devices keeps growing, software companies are looking into the perspective of getting a slice of that lucrative pie. For example, Microsoft has developed its proprietary cloud platform to make it easier to deliver various healthcare services. Apple wasn’t far behind. Shortly after, the folk came up with an idea of turning their products into portable hubs. 

Looking ahead, the IoMT market is poised for further advancement. We can expect continued innovation in wearable devices, home monitoring tools, and hospital systems. They’ve already invented smart beds that can adjust the angle and pressure without the assistance of a nurse. What happens next, we can only imagine. 

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8. Digital Twin technology takes the patient care to the next level

Our review of the latest healthcare technology trends 2024 wouldn’t be complete without digital twin technology. This is a groundbreaking technology that has the potential to improve and optimize the efficiency of healthcare by reducing medical errors and ensuring the accuracy of surgical outcomes. 

Essentially, Digital Twin technology means just what it says on the tin. It implies building a “twin” version of a product, anatomy, or medical device to be used in a virtual environment. Using this virtual model, healthcare workers can simulate various treatments, surgeries, and interventions, enabling them to assess potential outcomes and tailor personalized treatment plans for each patient. 

This technology is making big waves in the medical industry and holds immense promise for future developments. Just like surgical simulators, it can be used for medical training and education, allowing healthcare practitioners to gain hands-on experience without exposing anyone’s life to the risk. In the same vein, it allows healthcare professionals to hone their skills by visualizing outcomes from more complex procedures that require extreme precision and accuracy.  

The Digital Twin is growing exponentially with no signs of slowing down. If we look at its market size, the expected growth rate of $21.1 billion by 2028 stands as proof of its increasing adoption in healthcare. Here are a few applications for Digital Twins where we’ll see it in the future:

  • Personalized medicine – Digital Twins are going to be widely used in personalized medicine to help tailor treatment plans for patients based on their unique needs and genetic information. 
  • Drug discovery – the effects of new drugs will be tested on virtual patients rather than relying solely on traditional clinical trials, which will significantly accelerate the medication development process.
  • Education and training – with the help of different virtual replicas, practitioners will be able to learn and practice surgical procedures, explore the effect of various treatment options, and access the patient’s health condition in a risk-free environment. 
  • Workflow optimization – ultimately, the technology will help streamline workflow in healthcare settings, providing better patient care and reducing the administrative burden on medical staff.  

As we’ve covered the major trends that are gaining traction in 2024, it’s also exciting to take a glimpse into the future technology trends in healthcare. Further down, we’re sharing health trends that might just shape the future of technology in medicine. 

Genomic medicine (Genomics)

Genomics in healthcare involves examining the genetic information of patients and identifying disease markers, potential risks, and best treatment responses based on their unique genetic makeup. As researchers get more interested in the human genome, genomic medicine comes to the forefront of technologies that will expand in the future, revolutionizing healthcare practices.  

Robotics and automation 

Among other top trends, we’re going to see an increased rise of robotics and automation. From surgical procedures and diagnostics to patient care, robots will be integrated by a growing number of healthcare institutions to assist complex surgeries and automate repetitive tasks, offering an effective solution to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and patient outcomes.

Blockchain

As the number of connected medical devices grows, the need for data security and integrity becomes critical, requiring more robust ways to protect sensitive healthcare information. That’s where blockchain comes into play. By offering a decentralized system, it can ensure that important data sent to healthcare facilities remains within healthcare systems and is not stolen by unauthorized users or subject to data breach. 

Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is another key healthcare tech trend that’s shaping the future of healthcare. This field, as you can guess from the name, combines biology, computer science, and health information technology to analyze and interpret biological data, particularly genomic data. As genomics becomes more popular, the advancements in bioinformatics will come next, providing researchers and healthcare workers with invaluable insights into vast amounts of healthcare data necessary to tailor medicine and treatment options. 

These are just a few glimpses of the future technology healthcare trends, and undoubtedly, many more innovations will emerge in the coming years. So, it’s vital to stay in tune with the market trends to ensure you don’t fall behind the competition and continue to provide the best possible care for patients. 

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