As the Healthcare industry becomes more consumer-focused, and consumers more tech savvy, even the most traditional healthcare organisations will have to innovate. The industry will see several instances of innovation whether new clinical research-backed, scientific solutions, technology disruptors such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and Blockchain or business model and process changes.
This article presents the Top 5 Healthtech Trends for 2020 for the Healthcare market in 2020. The trends are drawn from the findings of the global Ecosystm Customer Experience (CX) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) studies and is based on qualitative research by Ecosystm Principal Analyst Principal Analyst Sash Mukherjee.
The Top 5 Trends for Healthtech for 2020
Here are the top 5 healthtech trends for 2020 that we believe will impact healthcare organisations (provider, payer and life sciences), patients and consumers in 2020.
The Shift from Patients to Customers Will Become Real
As more devices (consumer and enterprise) and applications enter the market, people will take ownership and interest in their own health outcomes. This will see a continued growth in online communities and comparison sites (on physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical products). Increasingly, insurance providers will use data from wearable devices for a more personalised approach, promoting and rewarding good health practices.
Beyond the use of wearables and health and wellness apps, we will also see an exponential increase in uptake of home-based healthcare products and services, whether for primary care and chronic disease management, or long-term and palliative care. The desire for real-time access to healthcare has led to a rapid consumerisation of the industry and has forced healthcare providers to actively focus on customer experience (CX), which according to the global Ecosystm CX study is the top business priority for healthcare organisations today.
Healthtech Will Take Lessons from Fintech
Healthcare organisations will take lessons from other customer-focused industries such as hospitality, retail and financial services. A focus on CX will also require an omni-channel strategy.
Given the similarities between the financial and healthcare industries (stringent regulations, process-based legacy systems and so on) Fintech organisations will teach Healthtech organisations how to disrupt the industry. Like Fintech, Healthtech play a greater role in inclusion – ensuring health and wellness for all, including universal health coverage. As the industry focuses on value-based outcomes, governments introduce more regulations around accountability and transparency, and people expect the CX that they get out of their retail interactions, Healthtech start-ups will become as mainstream as Fintech start-ups.
Healthcare Providers Will Jump on the Innovation Bandwagon
Traditionally, healthcare providers have lagged behind payer and life sciences organisations when it comes to innovation. However, that is changing fast as several provider organisations now have innovation centres, where ideas on how to improve operational parameters and clinical outcomes are incubated. They are also being creative when it comes to getting funds for these programs.
Incorporating the newest scientific advances into care protocol is largely driven by finances. But technology disrupters such as IoT, AI and machine learning are being incorporated with Operations as the key area of focus. As provider organisations increase their customer-focus, CX initiatives such as access to records, reducing waiting periods, streamlining billing and so on, will be addressed in several organisations. Innovative payment solutions (involving both patients and insurance providers) may well be the low-hanging fruit for innovators as they have the potential to significantly improve both revenue cycle management and CX.
Data Will Cause the Next Healthcare Divide
There has always been a divide in healthcare – based on economic and geographic parameters. A new divide will open up based on how organisations are able to leverage the huge amount of data that they are sitting on. How they leverage the data will impact an organisation’s ability to improve patient loyalty and to gain an edge over their competition.
On the one hand, governments are encouraging the three main branches of the healthcare industry that have depended on each other but worked in silos, to be more collaborative and share data. On the other hand, if we ask healthcare organisations about their biggest challenge in implementing emerging technologies such as AI, they will cite lack of data access. Organisations must also bear in mind that introducing tech innovations will be largely useless without changes in business processes that allow for these innovations, and without education and involvement of the entire organisation.
Life Sciences and Medical Devices Organisations Will be Forced to Rethink their R&D
The responsibility of cutting-edge research in Healthcare has always been on life sciences and medical devices organisations. Life sciences companies operate in an extremely competitive global market where they have to work on new products against a backdrop of competition from generics and a global concern over rising healthcare expenditure. Apart from regulatory challenges, medical devices manufacturers also face immense competition from local manufacturers as they enter each new market.
Sales and distribution for these organisations have been traditional – using agents, distributors, clinicians and healthcare providers. But now they need to change their go-to-market strategies, target patients and consumers directly and package their product offerings into value-added services. This will require them to incorporate CX enhancers in their R&D, going beyond drug discovery and product innovation.
Ecosystm in partnership with SGInnovate, the government-backed organisation that promotes Deep Tech in Singapore, released a series of four reports covering areas of mutual interest: Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Cities of the Future and Healthtech. ‘Ecosystm Predicts: The Top 5 Cities of the Future Trends for 2020’ report is a part of this collaboration and is available for download from Ecosystm and SGInnovate websites.