New Delhi: Healthcare industry has seen unprecedented adoption of Artificial intelligence and deep tech since 2015. This has been at the forefront of the healthcare industry’s transformation from being extremely tech averse to leading tech adoption in less than a decade.
The COVID-19 induced pandemic also presented many challenges to the healthcare industry and accentuated the digital chasm that needed to be bridged. The solution was to enable rapid digitalisation of healthcare that would facilitate new ways of working and addressing the challenges. As a result, 2023 saw rising investments in healthcare technology, specifically in the areas of healthcare financing, personalised healthcare, clinical decision support and AI assisted medical imaging.
I believe 2024 is going to be a watershed moment for healthcare industry in terms of the scale at which it adopts digital technologies and the varied use cases made possible by it. As alluded to before, the momentum has been building for the last 5 years with rapid digitisation of healthcare data and large-scale investments by big tech companies and it’s now time to combine investments with opportunities to better patient outcome and drive down healthcare costs.
As we look forward to the new year’s, here are five of the leading healthcare megatrends that will play an increasingly important role and redefine the healthcare industry in 2024 – Artificial Intelligence – Edge computing which is a subset of Artificial Intelligence is all set to move out of innovation trigger and quickly move towards a steady state. Edge computing brings the entire computing paradigm to the point of data collection. This also means lesser dependency on cloud computing. For example: Most surgical robots will be edge enabled and computing and decision making do not need the internet or cloud. Hospitals today prefer robotic equipment used in operation theatres not to be dependent on connectivity due to the extremely critical nature of the operations being performed. According to IDC’s June 2021 Edge spending guide, healthcare provider spending on Edge will reach 10.3 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 17 per cent.Data Protection and Cyber security – Data privacy and Cyber security will be top priority for healthcare organisations and governments in 2024. With widespread digitalisation and new connected medical devices becoming part of a hospital network, healthcare organisations become extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. More than 65 per cent of healthcare organisations today see Cybersecurity as their top IT infrastructure challenge. The emergence of AI and machine learning in cybersecurity is also set to redefine how we protect our digital assets. But it doesn’t stop there – in an age where information is the new currency, protection is the best investment.
Genomics – We have reached a point of technological advancement where a DNA can be broken down into digital code to diagnose, treat diseases, and to develop medicines that are personalised for individuals. The key to making rapid advances in genomic research is to manage large volumes of data and improve our understanding of hidden patterns which can now be done more efficiently due to the computational power of Artificial Intelligence.
Wearables & IoT – By the end of 2024, it is predicted that there would be more than 207 billion devices connected to the worldwide network. It should come as no surprise then that we are already seeing smartwatches enabled with Generative AI that will act as your fitness assistants and personal coaches. Microsoft Bag and Humane AI pin are some examples which use generative AI along with wearables.
Telehealth – The pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities is here to stay. Tele health has transformed healthcare from point-of-care to point-of-need with a patient becoming the centre of healthcare instead of a provider. This has empowered patients to receive care and health advise without leaving their homes or being restricted by geographic boundaries. A simple example would be blood tests – today, blood sample collection is predominantly done at home instead of a patient having to identify and visit their nearest testing lab.
We are in the midst of a transformative phase in healthcare and will witness several new use-cases and disruptions made possible by the emergence of digital technologies. In 2024, Generative AI will make its way into wearables to provide for highly bespoke and personalised experiences to users while enabling greater progress in genome research. Patients will become the epicenter of the healthcare ecosystem with DNA based treatments to facilitate greater care equity and personalisation. And finally, robotics will play a more prominent role in surgeries due to significant advancements in edge computing.
A lot of what is likely to happen in the next 12 months will lay the foundation of a new healthcare ecosystem that will fundamentally change how healthcare experiences are delivered for the better.