Future of Healthcare: 9 Trends That Are Shaping the Industry in 2024

22 APRIL 2024

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption in the delivery of healthcare services, increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality, especially in countries that lack medicines, diagnostics, and other medical innovations. Our fragile healthcare system barely had the opportunity to recover. 

Meanwhile, as fertility and expectancy rates decrease, the aging population has begun outnumbering younger generations. Because of this trend, the global disease burden is anticipated to grow in the next 20 years. 

Healthcare systems around the world must find ways to address these challenges.

  • Where do we stand?
  • How do we lower the prevalence of diseases?
  • What can we do to reduce the pressure on our healthcare systems?

The answer is simple. We look to the future,  leveraging the technologies and resources we have to deliver the best healthcare services.

9 Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Here are 9 trends that will greatly influence healthcare in the coming years:

1. AR and VR

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality simulate controlled environments. They help enhance medical training and improve patient outcomes.

Here are some ways it’s being used in healthcare:

  • To refine techniques and improve precision during surgeries
  • To train clinicians for complex surgical procedures
  • To educate them on diagnosing rare medical conditions
  • To aid relaxation and pain management among patients

AR and VR are effective and efficient, causing little to no side effects. Hence, they are increasingly used to enhance patient care. 

In addition, the potential to serve people in remote areas with these tools should be further explored.

2. Digital Twins

Digital twin technology, made using IoT (internet of things) and artificial intelligence, allows healthcare providers to offer customized diagnosis and treatment. As the name suggests, it entails creating a virtual model of the patient, one that mimics their physiological state. This enables advanced analysis that maximizes efficacy and efficiency.

It relies on advanced machine learning algorithms that use comprehensive patient data. This empowers clinicians to identify patterns, correlations, and anomalies, simulate disease progression, and administer preventative measures.

3. Harnessing Big Data 

Big data analytics allows medical facilities to identify clusters and correlations between datasets, integrate imaging for a more holistic diagnosis, develop predictive models with data mining techniques, increase patients’ involvement in their own health, and more.

4. Implantable Links 

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, more than 1 in 3 people are affected by neurological conditions—today’s leading cause of death. Elon Musk’s Neuralink is attempting to address this issue with fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interfaces (BCI). Its potential for neuro amplification and treatment modalities could lead to innovations that can help people with nervous system disorders and defects. The technology has progressed to such a degree that the company is now recruiting for its first-in-human clinical trial.

5. IoT-connected Wearables

Wearable healthcare technology is transforming the way patients are monitored and treated, even from remote locations. Popular options include devices, necklaces, smartwatches, and sensor patches.

6. Precision Medicine

Precision medicine, also called personalized medicine, is an innovative trend in healthcare that tailors the treatment of patients according to their genes, environments, and lifestyles. One of the best ways to understand its impact is to study how targeted drug therapy is being used to treat cancer.

7. Robotic Surgery 

This groundbreaking technology provides clearer insights into difficult-to-see areas that were previously inaccessible. 

With its transformative potential, robotic surgery began with the Da Vinci surgical system (DVSS). Its benefits include the reduction of hospital stays, blood loss, and transfusion rates which can be attributed to smaller incisions and better magnifications it enables. 

It is being used with great success in various specialties. With a projected market size of $7.2bn in 2033, it looks like robotic surgery is here to stay.

8. 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing uses 3D technology to produce patient-specific surgical models for better planning and greater success. 

It has many other medical applications:

  • Printing cell structures for toxicity screening 
  • Tissues and organoid printing for medical research 
  • Creating custom-made prosthetics for disabled people 
  • Reproducing accurate complex anatomical organs for training
  • Printing surgical tools and devices in areas where they are inaccessible

The global market for healthcare-related 3D printing is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18% from 2023 to 2032. 

In the near future, research suggests that 3D bioprinting could also be used for the production of de novo organs for transplantation.

9. Virtual Assistance

Virtual assistants, or conversational agents, can help clinicians provide quality healthcare to patients. They leverage technologies like machine learning and deep learning to provide accurate answers to queries. They also consider factors like patient symptoms and medications.

Virtual assistance ensures that patients have access to the right information at the right time, which can drastically improve their treatment outcomes. 

It can also help patients avoid misinformation, schedule appointments, and even process prescription refills.

Reimagine the Future of Healthcare With IMANA

Healthcare is a dynamic industry with an uncertain future, especially with the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases

But with remarkable advancements in medicine and health awareness comes hope for a better future. To fully take advantage of them, doctors, patients, and other industry stakeholders should keep an open mind and stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Knowing about the latest healthcare innovations will help them explore local applications and experience their benefits firsthand.

IMANA offers a wealth of information through its webinars, CME courses, health education resources, and blogs.