Since 2019, virtual care has experienced exponential growth. With that growth has come the demand for more connected capabilities and healthcare offerings — it’s not enough to just schedule and show up on a video call. This is where digital health companies shine at center stage by helping both patients and providers establish and experience more efficient care systems.
Here are 6 virtual healthcare technology trends to keep an eye on this year.
Demand for Virtual Care Will Increase
This first trend may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s more to it. The Covid-19 pandemic forced society to react and adapt to quickly changing healthcare options. During this time, we learned that a virtual or distributed option can work well for many of our healthcare needs, especially those that don’t require in-person meetings.
In fact, telehealth in 2021 was the preferred method and people chose it at a rate approximately 38 times higher than pre-covid rates. As we return to a sense of normalcy and our lives begin to pick up speed again, we see this as a flexibility option that patients won’t be ready to give back anytime soon.
API Development May Increase
APIs will be front-and-center as healthcare organizations work to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act. The 2016 legislation requires providers to give patients easy, digital access to medical records and many of these compliance projects that were delayed by the pandemic will most likely get back off the ground this year.
FHIR Will Continue to Create Confusion
FHIR, or the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard, is a non-mandatory guideline that simplifies and secures the exchange of healthcare information. The issue with FHIR is there are currently four different iterations of the standard and since it is non-mandatory, many healthcare operations are working under one of the first three versions. Without a true mandate, many organizations will simply maintain the minimum standard to avoid additional costs.
Health Tech Will Be Top-of-Mind for Developers
If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that progress, especially in healthcare, has to happen quickly. Tech developers are taking note of this and working to build innovative healthcare apps, modules, softwares, and more. This move from traditional tech to the healthcare sector will likely jumpstart the proverbial “bidding war” for talent. It’s a move that has the potential to be quite lucrative for savvy developers and beneficial for healthcare providers and patients.
Venture Capital Funding is Expected to Increase over 2021
Closely associated with several other predicted virtual healthcare trends it shouldn’t come as a surprise that venture capital (VC) funding surged in 2021. The digital health and virtual care sectors received several rounds of funding last year and it is expected to continue this year. It’s not just the demand for connected health data from consumers that will drive funding forward, but also the need for providers to comply with newly enacted and upcoming legislation surrounding patient care.
Blockchain Could Lead Healthcare Decentralization
Over the last five years we’ve heard a lot about blockchain – a type of shared database with secure storage capabilities – in regard to cryptocurrency, but now the model could lead the charge in decentralized healthcare. This isn’t a change that will take place overnight, rather, one that we see gaining traction in healthcare information security discussions this year. Patients are demanding greater control and security over their healthcare information and, in time, blockchain has the potential to be an effective solution to these demands.
If you’re interested in learning more about a career in virtual care, let our team help guide you with a confidential career strategy session.