The global pandemic has changed healthcare delivery—permanently.
The gradual pre-pandemic adoption of healthcare technology trends shifted into high gear after March 2020.
And it’s not slowing down.
Healthcare providers are seeing an increasing demand for remote healthcare options from their patients.
Telehealth is big now. So is patient access to test results and other medical records.
As a result, healthcare providers and insurers seek more digital solutions to meet consumers’ expectations.
What this means for healthcare software development is an increased demand for more connected capabilities.
Six major trends will fuel the demand for digital capabilities in the healthcare industry in 2022. These trends address providers’ needs to satisfy both regulatory compliance and patient demand.
1. Interoperability Improvements
Though overshadowed by the pandemic, the 21st Century Cures Act went into effect in July 2020. The federal mandate requires healthcare providers to allow patients easy, digital access to their health records through application programming interfaces (APIs).
As providers resume IT projects delayed by the COVID-19 emergency, healthcare tech companies could see a surge in the need for API development.
A glut of consumer health apps also drives the demand for interoperability. Because these apps collect an expanding range of health data, both consumers and providers want easy ways to share and access this wealth of patient information.
2. Increased Cybersecurity
Ransomware, data theft, and other cyberthreats ramped up during the pandemic. As a result, many healthcare organizations need increased cybersecurity.
Throughout 2021, cybercriminals attacked hospitals and healthcare systems even as they struggled with the overwhelming demands of the pandemic. Providers had to cancel surgeries and revert to paper records because their systems, software, or networks were compromised.
The threat of healthcare disruption has reached the level where the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has now issued a call for providers and related organizations to improve their cybersecurity posture.
Providers will undoubtedly look to software development companies to help them increase their cybersecurity throughout 2022.
3. New Healthcare Startups
Health organizations are turning to innovative new technologies to meet pandemic-fueled healthcare challenges.
This need creates fertile ground for healthcare startups.
Just four months into the year, over 200 healthcare startups have received funding or announced major initiatives for 2022.
This trend shows no sign of slowing, either. Developers are quitting their traditional tech jobs and joining startups in the healthcare space. New healthcare apps appear almost every week. Even more health apps are in their early stages.
Before the year is out, we could easily see 600+ new healthcare startups.
4. More VC Funding
According to Forbes, venture capital (VC) funding was at an all-time high in 2021, with the healthcare information technology industry receiving many big funding rounds. As the demand for connected health data grows, expect that influx of VC funding to continue.
VC firms and venture studios love consumer health technology innovators. They recognize the need for healthcare providers to maintain regulatory compliance, especially around interoperability.
5. Blockchain Exploration
Blockchain technology is a bit of a white whale in the healthcare industry. Organizations seeking to decentralize health data have been chasing blockchain for years.
The technology promises to give patients greater control of their health data while also increasing the security of that data.
While there likely won’t be any significant leaps forward in 2022, health organizations and healthcare software development companies continue to explore blockchain applications in healthcare.
The pandemic has taught us how to work from home, play from home, and get healthcare from home. Telehealth has surged in popularity as a result.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, virtual healthcare usage was 38 times higher than pre-pandemic rates.
Patients like the convenience that telehealth solutions offer. With telehealth, they don’t have to sit in a waiting room forever, take time off work, or drive across town to the doctor’s office. Instead, virtual solutions allow consumers to get care from the comfort of their own homes.
As the pandemic shows few signs of ending, telehealth apps will continue to be one of the leading healthcare technology trends in 2022. And as app usage grows, the supporting technology infrastructure to maintain them will also expand.
While these six trends aren’t the only opportunities for innovation in the healthcare industry, we predict they’ll be the leading technology drivers in 2022.
Technology that addresses trends will help meet healthcare providers’ needs for regulatory compliance and patient satisfaction.
But there’s one last healthcare trend that is having a drastic impact on the industry: a decline in healthcare workers. Having struggled through two years of the pandemic, many doctors and nurses are leaving the field.
This decline means hospitals and healthcare organizations are being forced to maintain a high level of care quality while having fewer caregivers to rely on.
Therefore, technology solutions that help providers do more with less may be another big healthcare technology trend in 2022.
The pandemic’s impact will be felt for years to come. Innovators who capitalize on these trends will be positioned for success this year and beyond.