Since 2020, we have seen some disruptive trends in the healthcare industry. We’ve also seen the industry push and invest more in groundbreaking new technologies. The digital health trends mentioned in this blog are gaining momentum as we navigate the pandemic and are set to change the future of medicine and the overall healthcare experience.
Here are the most interesting and disruptive health and wellness tech trends to watch in 2022.
1. COVID-19 accelerated telehealth services to increase
The use of digital forms of communication, such as smartphones, tablets and computers, to facilitate the delivery of health services falls under telehealth. Due to pandemic-induced social distancing, in-person visits to doctors and physicians have been significantly reduced. In April 2020, more than 43% of primary health insurance visits began to take place online via telehealth services . Fortune Business Insights Study Forecasts Telehealth Market to Surpass $185 Billion by 2026 . Although the pandemic is the main reason for the rapid pace of adoption of telehealth services, the overall trend is certainly here to continue in 2022 and beyond.
2. Rapid growth in medical IoT adoption
The Internet of Things (IoT) is truly one of the fastest growing digital health and wellness trends in 2022. This growth will be supported by the increased adoption of cloud computing technologies and mobile apps around the world. Medical and health and fitness IoT is a growing industry that uses embedded apps, wearable technology, and monitors to meet healthcare needs. By combining healthcare and wellness with AI and machine learning, more improved versions of conventional medical devices, such as smart inhalers, can be developed.
Medical IoT can provide various benefits, including:
- Remote monitoring: Experts and healthcare professionals can monitor their patients remotely by having them wear portable devices. These devices provide real-time data insights that help reduce the number of in-person appointments
- More comfort: With the advent of smart technology and 5G, patients are getting more features to manage their health needs and conditions. For example, blood glucose monitoring devices help patients monitor their blood sugar
3. Employee wellness apps to thrive
When the pandemic hit the world and changed our lives, it also brought many unspoken mental health issues for individuals around the world. Wellness and mindfulness apps, like Calm, Atom, and Headspace, were no longer a niche. The apps have become part of the mainstream meditation market and have been downloaded in droves. Employers around the world have also begun to see wellness and mindfulness apps as helpful resources for their employees.
A recent SHRM report found that about 48% of employees surveyed in the United States say they would trust digital health apps and tools more if their employer offered them .
Several health and wellness apps available in the market allow users to create a profile that helps them track key metrics such as calorie count, blood sugar, and weight. With personalized healthcare services at their fingertips, people have more control over their health. Moreover, users can even share this health data with their providers.
SEE ALSO: 7 online privacy trends we can expect in 2022
3. Virtual fitness to gain momentum
Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has been cruel to all of us. But if we try to see the silver lining, the novel coronavirus has made us all more health conscious. We started eating better and moving more. Although gyms and fitness centers have been closed due to the lockdown, virtual fitness alternatives have become the latest trend in digital health.
Since 2020, trainers and fitness professionals have been offering personal training and group workouts virtually. This allows people to perform workouts safely from the comfort of their homes and significantly reduces expenses as the trainer does not necessarily have to provide training from a gym.
Surprisingly, a study found that 9 out of 10 Americans who exercise regularly said they would continue working out at home even after gyms reopened. .
4. More people are turning to teletherapy
The pandemic has also cast a spotlight on people’s mental health. During the first wave of the pandemic, many of us were confined to our homes and a large majority of us were also stuck away from home. It challenged our mind, body and emotions in a big way. The therapists also had to stop seeing their clients on the practice premises for security reasons. The alternative that has been bypassed is teletherapy.
In 2022, the attention and adoption of teletherapy will be increased. Virtual therapy sessions can be managed using wellness scheduling apps and software that include virtual meeting integration. With the help of such a system, therapists can easily schedule appointments online and send them appointment links through automated emails and text messages reminding clients of their appointments.
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5. Tech startups are focused on solving the anti-aging problem
Since the beginning of the world, human beings have tried to find ways to preserve their youth forever. Cosmetic surgeries, strict diets and vigorous exercise are some of the conventional means that people resort to. More advanced methods of longevity include biohacking, personalized pills, and genome study.
Biohacking includes tools like cryotherapy and infrared beds that help people stay relaxed, refreshed, and manage stress. These tools help improve blood circulation, reducing inflammation, providing a mild sedative effect. Moreover, it also helps to get a more restful sleep.
Understanding its genome (genetic information of an organism) is also a great biohacking tool. By examining your genome, experts can suggest the best foods you should eat and avoid, as well as other valuable inputs for a long, happy life.
6. AI technology will be leveraged for better patient-centered care
The health and wellness industry is revolutionizing the use of artificial intelligence in transformative ways. At least 5% of healthcare companies now use machine learning to manage their information technology and 45% use AI to manage human capital. With AI, doctors have access to a suite of powerful diagnostic tools .
Realizing how AI can be harnessed in the healthcare sector, more and more investors around the world are lining up to support AI technology in healthcare. The future of health systems and smart hospitals is, in general, a decentralized and patient-centric model that will be based on data sharing. The model will focus on reducing medical costs and improving service to improve the patient’s overall healthcare experience.
SEE ALSO: The Current State of AI in Healthcare – 6 Important Trends for 2022
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 Tsymbal, O. Mobidev (2021) “Health Technology Trends and Digital Innovations in 2022 [Online] Available from: https://mobidev.biz/blog/technology-trends-healthcare-digital-transformation [Accessed January 2022]
 Fortune Business Insights (2020) “Telemedicine Market to Hit USD 185.66 Billion by 2026; Driven by Soaring Product Adoption Due to Coronavirus Outbreak, Says Fortune Business Insights™” [Online] Available from: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/05/20/2036192/0/en/Telemedicine-Market-to-Reach-USD-185-66-Billion-by-2026-Driven-by- the-surge-in-product-adoption-due-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak-says-Fortune-Business-Insights.html [Accessed January 2022]
 Grensing-Pophal, L. (2020) “Apps can help employees with healthcare” SHRM [Online] Available from: https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/apps-can-help-employees-with-health-care-.aspx [Accessed January 2022]
 Fortune (2020) “Most Americans plan to continue home workouts even after gyms fully reopen” [Online] Available from: https://fortune.com/2020/08/17/covid-workouts-at-home-gyms-reopening-coronavirus-fitness/ [Accessed January 2022]
 Accenture Consulting () “HEALTH CARE: TALKING ABOUT AI”[Online] Available from: https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-75/accenture-healthcare-walking-the-ai-talk.pdf [Accessed January 2022]