By Mitch Collier, VP of product development at StayWell
Technology continues to transform the health care industry at an unprecedented rate. When used effectively, new technologies have the potential to help health care organizations meet growing demand and efficiently deliver better patient care and outcomes.
Here are four patient engagement technology trends to follow throughout 2020.
Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
Health care organizations are just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to AI and machine learning. However, the use of these technologies is expected to increase in the coming years ($8 billion industry by 2022), resulting in a variety of potential benefits. For health care specifically, McKinsey estimates there could be $100 billion in annual savings from improving the efficiency of research and clinical trials and building new tools that help meet the promise of more individual approaches.
The perception of certain technologies, such as chatbots, are also changing. Many have viewed chatbots as outdated, but nearly 60% of Millennial consumers say they have had a recent positive experience and another 50% say they’d be interested in using them for booking appointments.
Siri and Google Assistant—two of the most popular options for what’s called Conversational AI—can naturally enter in conversations with people using spoken or written language. Conversational “assistants” like this will only start to get more popular as technology advances.
Development of more personalized treatment plans using predictive medicine
Throughout 2020, we should see new applications focused on predictive health care and get introduced to more effective treatments that help ensure better outcomes for individual patients. Wearables are a great way to capture data for these purposes. More than 80% of people say they're willing to utilize wearable technology and it’s an opportunity for organizations to implement those personalized treatment approaches.
Capturing data from trackers and smartwatches helps organizations better predict and treat health issues even before patients experience symptoms. Precision medicine allows doctors to prescribe treatments more precisely thanks to data-driven understanding of how effective they’re likely to be for specific patients.
Continued rise of all-encompassing digital platforms
The popularity of all-in-one platforms is increasing as consumers look for more sophisticated services to handle personal needs. And like in all industries, consumers are expecting a user-friendly and customer-first digital experience in health care.
This is can be a main area of improvement for 2020. According to McKinsey, the pharma and medical technology industries lag far behind in digitization efforts when compared to other industries. Heath care organizations will need to integrate the latest technologies into existing business models and IT architectures to improve service.
Four keys to making a successful digital transformation include:
- Understanding the changing landscape and prioritizing critical sources of value (or differentiators)
- Implementing new approaches to product development and distribution
- Looking for ways to modernize IT foundations (e.g., upgrading talent, moving to digital platforms such as cloud servers, managing data as a strategic asset)
- Building and maintaining core management competencies
Expansion of “extended reality” (Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality)
The VR/AR health care market is expected to reach more than $5 billion by 2025. While VR is currently being used as a helpful in-patient care and treatment tool, it can also serve as a great stress-reliever for health care employees themselves. Combining these technologies with guided meditation provides an instant, mobile, and trackable solution that can help employees escape for some relaxation at a babbling brook or coral reef for a few minutes during their hectic workdays.
Other key benefits of VR approaches include:
- Improved health: Utilizing mindfulness and guided meditation can help health care employees be more productive, reduce stress, and increase focus
- Bio-feedback: By syncing wearables to visualize the impact of guided meditations, StayWell VR helps users better understand which exercises, locations, and times of the day have the greatest impact on heart rate
- Real-time insights: By partnering with employers and health plans, organizations can access comprehensive insights and results on their own dashboards