2022 Trends in healthcare and life sciences

Manu Swami,

Senior Vice President,
Data and Analytics | Cloud | HealthCare and Life Science Solutions

Published: July 5, 2022

As 80% of healthcare providers increase investments in digital solutions, innovation is taking center stage across the industry. New products and services—including telemedicine, personalized medicine, genomics, and wearables—are driving improvements in outcomes, affordability, quality, and access at a rapid pace. And while technology proliferates, it is paving the way for a more patient-centric approach to healthcare. As we look at some key investment areas, several trends are emerging that will shape the year ahead and beyond for patients and providers. 

Five trends shaping the future of the healthcare industry

Consumerism is on the rise

Healthcare is an intimate journey, and in 2022 we will see patients play a more significant role as purchasers and managers of their health outcomes. Patients and providers will work in concert to choose treatment options with personalized plans, flexible payment solutions, and more. At the same time, competition will heat up between payers and retailers, including CVS, Walmart, and Amazon, as they expand healthcare services with omnichannel strategies. These brands will pivot away from traditional retail models to offer primary care and prescription delivery by leaning on their expansive supply chains. They will also leverage data to truly understand patients based on individual diagnoses, coverage options, and demographics with more significant cloud investments. Patients as consumers will demand frictionless experiences and seamless technology to round out the experience.

Primary proactive care/virtual care accelerates

With stay-home orders in place during the early days of the pandemic, virtual care delivery accelerated as patients became more receptive to telehealth visits. This healthcare model allows people to manage their health proactively, protects medical staff and other patients from infection, and conserves supplies and bed space. Healthcare organizations are pivoting quickly to deliver targeted therapies through patients’ preferred channels—including chat, telephone, online forums, email, etc. With increased adoption rates and more robust services, virtual healthcare will also play a pivotal role in reaching populations in need with improved access to marginalized communities.

Digital twins are accelerating connectivity

Digital twins use real-world data to simulate how a product or process will perform—and they are becoming increasingly prevalent across industries. In the healthcare space, they will essentially become “virtual patients”—digital replications of people that can be used to test drugs and treatments. A key benefit of this technology is that it will accelerate time-to-market for new pharmaceuticals, and medical device manufacturers are putting the onus on connectivity, expected to hit 80% by 2025.

Automated clinical decision-making tools will improve operations

Data is the name of the game for the future of the healthcare industry. Providers will become analytics consumers as they consult data to enhance patient outcomes. AI and ML will also help providers deliver optimal care in many ways, including understanding day-to-day patient patterns and detecting signs of disease. At the hospital level, algorithms will be integral in helping triage patients, streamlining employee scheduling and staffing, and increasing business resiliency by managing supply chains.  

Driving intelligence and automation across the healthcare supply chain is not optional

With modernization at the forefront, organizations are looking for ways to cut waste, reduce costs and streamline patient care. Supply chain visibility will be increasingly important in creating better systems and improving operations. Predictive analytics will bring fluidity to supply chain management as healthcare providers leverage data to track inventory and deliveries, anticipate low stock of products and pharmaceuticals, and order according to demand. Predictive analytics can also be leveraged to anticipate equipment maintenance needs which reduces downtime and minimizes disruption.

Wearable devices will become the new norm

With IDC forecasting that consumer electronics firms will sell 777 million wearable devices in 2025, this is one trend that will soon be very noticeable. Physicians are already prescribing wearable devices to some patients for preventative care and check-ups; while using the data for remote monitoring and diagnostics. The wearables industry is evolving quickly with new products readily entering the market. At CES in Las Vegas in January 2022, various prototypes were demonstrated including an early detection and therapeutic platform for brain health screening, fertility tracking devices, alert bracelets, therapeutic VR headsets—and even dog collars that track canine health and wellness! As consumers begin to adopt this technology, AI will begin to understand patterns, behavior, and trends to optimize experiences and deliver more comprehensive and personalized data.

The future of healthcare begins now

Over the last two years, we have seen the dramatic and rapid impact that technology can have on industries, including healthcare. With a focus on driving innovation, healthcare providers can use technology to automate and extend tasks previously done by humans, to free up people to focus their time and efforts on what is essential—the quality of care—while also reducing the overall cost of medical care. As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for patients and providers are endless—this is only the beginning of what is in store for the industry. Fill the text here

Manu Swami

Senior Vice President,
Data and Analytics | Cloud | HealthCare and Life Science Solutions

Manu is a seasoned Data & Analytics professional with 20+ years of global experience in leading transformation programs across Data Platform Modernization, Advanced Analytics, AI and Master Data Management domains. He currently leads the Healthcare and Life Sciences solutions and technology practices for Virtusa.

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