The Rise of HealthTech: What It Is and How It’s Used
HealthTech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, with a global market value of $511.9 billion in 2020 and an expected annual growth rate of 25.1% from 2021 to 2028. HealthTech includes a wide range of solutions that aim to transform the way we prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, as well as enhance our quality of life.
Are you ready to discover the amazing possibilities of HealthTech? Read on to find out more.
What is HealthTech?
HealthTech is a term that refers to the use of technology to improve health and wellness. It encompasses a wide range of products, services, and solutions that leverage digital tools, data, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and more to address the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare sector.
HealthTech is not a new concept, but it has gained momentum in recent years due to several factors, such as:
The increasing demand for accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare, especially post-Covid.
The rapid advancement and innovation in technology, such as cloud computing, 5G, blockchain, wearable devices, genomics, and nanotechnology.
The growing awareness and empowerment of consumers, who are seeking more personalized and participatory care.
The shift in business models and regulations enabling more collaboration, competition, and disruption in healthcare.
How is Technology Applied in Healthcare and Wellbeing?
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is one of the most disruptive technologies in healthcare, as it can leverage algorithms and machine learning to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence and expertise. AI can help with various aspects of healthcare, such as:
Disease detection: AI can analyze medical images like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, and detect abnormalities or signs of diseases faster and more accurately than conventional methods. For example, a deep-learning algorithm developed by Qure.ai can improve the early detection of lung cancer by 17% compared to conventional radiology readings.
Diagnosis: More accurate and timely diagnoses are conducted based on intelligent insights of the patient's symptoms, medical history, and test results.
Disease treatment: AI assists practitioners with choosing the best treatment options for each patient, based on their individual characteristics, preferences, and outcomes. For example, DeepMind Health can use reinforcement learning to optimize radiotherapy planning for cancer patients.
Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies to access healthcare services remotely. Telehealth can enhance healthcare in many ways, such as:
Virtual visits: These are online video or phone chats with a health care provider, mental health counselor, or nurse. Virtual visits can offer care in many conditions and situations without requiring an in-person visit.
Remote patient monitoring: Devices or apps can collect and transmit your health data to your healthcare provider. Remote patient monitoring can help doctors track patients’ vital signs, symptoms, or medication adherence with ease.
Mobile health: Patients can use mobile devices or apps to access health information, education, or support. Thus, they can learn about their health condition, manage their lifestyle, or connect with other people who share their health concerns.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR create immersive and interactive experiences by overlaying digital information onto the physical world. VR and AR are used for various applications in healthcare, such as:
Surgery: VR and AR can help surgeons navigate through complex anatomy, avoid critical structures, locate tumors and blood vessels, and monitor vital signs by providing them with real-time guidance, visualization, and feedback.
Rehabilitation: According to Frontiers, VR and AR can help patients with stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, and PTSD by providing them with engaging and motivating exercises that can improve their physical and mental health.
Education: Anatomy and physiology education, as well as surgical skills can be improved with the help of three-dimensional and realistic models of human organs and systems, and surgical scenarios simulations.
Future Opportunities and Challenges
An On-the-rise Industry
HealthTech is a rapidly evolving field. Some of the HealthTech trends that are anticipated to dominate the market in 2023 and beyond are:
Big Data:Big data analytics and cloud computing will be used by healthcare practitioners to gather and analyze large volumes of patient data, such as electronic health records, medical images, genetic data, and wearable device data.
Virtual Reality (VR): Healthcare professionals will use VR to create immersive and realistic simulations of various scenarios, such as surgeries and therapies. BCG claimed that VR is expected to offer new approaches to treating mental health conditions.
FinTech Integration: Firms will incorporate financial technology solutions to improve operations such as billing, insurance, and fraud detection. This will also make finance solutions like crowdfunding, microloans, and health savings accounts more accessible.
Artificial Intelligence: Using AI technology, healthcare professionals will be able to offer insightful analyses, forecasts, and suggestions. Various jobs and procedures, including diagnosis, triage, medication research, and clinical trials, will also be automated thanks to AI. According to Deloitte, eight of the top 10 funded health tech innovators in 2022 are platform-enabled ecosystems that leverage AI.
Obstacles to Overcome
HealthTech is a dynamic and exciting field that has the potential to transform the healthcare system and improve the lives of millions of people around the world. However, it also poses some challenges and risks that must be addressed carefully. Some significant challenges are data privacy, inclusivity, digital divides, and health inequality.
HealthTech is not just a trend, but a revolution that is reshaping the future of health and wellness. As the demand for better and more personalized healthcare grows, it will continue to evolve and expand its scope and impact.
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