Prior to the pandemic, technological advancements in healthcare were slow compared to other sectors. Today, that is no longer the case. Digital health has emerged as the next frontier in healthcare innovation.
In the AlphaSense platform, the number of documents mentioning medtech and other digital health related terms increased nearly 200% between 2019 and 2021. Four key areas emerged: Telemedicine, AI, robotics, and digital therapeutics. Below, we summarize these four trends driving the future of digital healthcare.
Telemedicine existed well before the pandemic, but adoption was nearly nonexistent. Telemedicine visits experienced a dramatic spike during the pandemic. Telehealth visits saw a 154% increase during March of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. By mid-2021, telemedicine utilization had stabilized, but at a level 38X higher than it was prior to the pandemic.
Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 164% spike in mentions of telehealth and telemedicine in the AlphaSense platform.
- AI in Healthcare:
AI is an emerging transformation in the healthcare industry. Document trends in the AlphaSense platform show a growing interest with mentions of AI in the healthcare industry up by 111% since 2019 and maintained 35% growth more recently, between H1 2021 and H1 2022.
The power of AI in healthcare lies in algorithmic and pattern recognition, which enable companies and providers to mine mass datasets and apply insights across the entire drug lifecycle and patient customer experience.
In the AlphaSense platform, there was a 31% increase in robotics mentions related to healthcare between H1 2020 and H1 2021, and a 21% jump between those same periods in 2021 and 2022. By automating routine tasks and reducing demand on human workers, robotics can alleviate staffing shortages, reduce costs, and free up more time for patient engagement.
As the pandemic taught us, human life is precious. The importance of having solutions, such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), to deal with people getting sick from new infectious diseases/ viruses is crucial, especially in cases where pathogen exposure and/or infection spread must be limited.
- Digital Therapeutics:
Digital therapeutic interventions enable two key benefits: ongoing remote patient monitoring and engagement between patients and providers, both of which align with the aforementioned growth of telemedicine. While in-person clinical interactions may become less frequent in the future, DTx has potential to ease this transition and help maintain patient/provider connection. Mentions of DTx grew by 414% between 2019 and 2021, with a 71% increase from H1 2021 to H1 2022.
Right now, regulatory approval is an area of concern. More than 250 DTx products have been identified and 150 are commercially available, but only about 10% of these have been authorized. The key to bridging this gap lies in collaboration between the companies developing and delivering interventions, physicians, and other care professionals who can actually provide treatment, and the regulatory organizations that review and approve DTx interventions.
Threaded throughout these trends is an emphasis on balancing technology with human care. Going forward, as providers and other healthcare organizations adopt new technologies and become increasingly digital, they must consider how they’ll continue to transform while still maintaining the human-centered, patient-focused approach core to quality care in every area of medicine. Read more in our report, The Future of HealthCare Technology: The Rise of Digital Health.