It’s been an exciting year for the healthcare industry.  New connected health technologies that are driving innovative care models are gaining more and more attention, both from providers and patients.

A growing number of providers and patients are already enjoying these benefits, and 2019 saw continued innovation in healthcare technology and, more importantly, increased attention given to telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and other connected health services by regulatory agencies and media entities.  Both, along with several key trends in the market, should help build momentum for connected health technologies in 2020.  Here are several trends to keep an eye on that could have an impact on connected health in the coming year.

Growth of Artificial Intelligence

Adoption of AI in healthcare applications should grow, paving the way for more data analytics to support population health initiatives, patient engagement, personalized healthcare, data security, and more.

Technology-driven Consumers

As digital natives continue to enter the workforce, their preference for digital channels can drive demand for connected health services.  Already, many have indicated a willingness to choose physicians that offer telehealth services, with 40% of Millennials saying telehealth is an extremely important or very important factor in their healthcare decisions.  This is now the largest population group in the U.S. workforce, which also means they are making their own healthcare decisions.  As they continue to experience connected health services, they may also help drive growth among the elderly population that makes up their parents and grandparents.

Regulatory Progress

2019 saw CMS approve new CPT codes to help make it easier for providers to bill for connected health services.  In addition, proposed changes to Federal laws would help promote value-based care by eliminating regulatory barriers to connected health use.  With continued progress expected in 2020, physicians should become even more amenable to treating conditions with virtual care and other connected health services.  Already, AMA has already recommended additional codes to help drive telehealth and RPM services.

Younger Physicians

While the shortage of healthcare professionals continues to plague the system, there has been an increase in medical school applicants and graduates in recent years.  These new doctors are tech-savvy, which may make them more likely to promote connected health services, because of their affinity towards digital services and mobile devices and applications as alternatives to traditional processes.

Standardization

Even though EHRs are intended to improve the healthcare system, doctors don’t feel it’s working.  In fact, they generally feel they spend too much time entering data into EHRs – time that would be better spent treating patients.  Improved standards and greater interoperability between connected health applications and EHRs can help deliver the operational efficiency physicians are asking for, and is at the top of physicians’ wish lists in order to help them make better use of connected health.

Insurance

Insurance companies have a vested interest in promoting value-based care and population health, as it will reduce their costs.  As a result, look for them to invest effort into working with healthcare providers and connected device developers to promote their use – just as the auto insurance market is doing with connected vehicles.

Blockchain Technology

Data security continues to be a concern across industries, including healthcare.  Blockchain technology is emerging as an opportunity for the healthcare industry to more efficiently and securely manage, store, and access patient records, research and trial data, contracts, insurance plans and claims, access credentials, and more.

Patient Experience

Customer experience is the new standard for evaluation business success and, for healthcare providers, improving patient satisfaction should become a top priority, particularly with connected health services extending providers’ reach into new areas and giving patients greater choice.  Patient engagement through connected health platforms can drive deeper doctor-patient relationships, help increase patients’ involvement in their own care, and make healthcare services more convenient and accessible – all helping promote better outcomes and higher satisfaction.

Inefficiencies and waste, a shortage of physicians, a growing elderly population, and the high costs of healthcare delivery are all combining to create a less satisfying experiences for physicians, staff, and their patients.  These trends have the potential to help improve processes and help providers deliver better outcomes for patients and reduce the burden on physicians by promoting greater use of connected health technologies.  Continued innovation, a commitment to value-based care and connected health services, and new uses cases can help 2020 truly become the year of connected health.

To learn more about how these trends are impacting healthcare, and how connected health technology can help deliver better patient outcomes, visit us here.

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