The Future of Healthcare: Expectations for 2020

#Article
#Machine Learning
#Software Development
#Healthcare
February 14, 2020 10 min read

In this article Rocky Osborn, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development & Client Success at Innovecs, a global software development company, describes the state of the modern healthcare industry and speaks about the emerging trends that are going to transform the domain in the future. 

With the Future Health conference just around the corner, I look forward to learning the medical industry’s latest tech news. Before getting acquainted with the newest healthcare trends around us, let’s get back and check some results from the 2019 exhibition:

future healthcare

According to this 2019 post-show report, there’s growing interest in medical devices as well as in the manufacturing supply chain. But not the least is consumer’s demand to implement cutting-edge software, elevate cloud cybersecurity, and go further with AI technologies. You can also take a look at the predictions we made in 2019.

Trends in Healthcare and Life Sciences

What we know today about global healthcare is essential for predicting its future. Let’s take a look at some interesting points. For example, the average life expectancy has reached 80 years in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, while developing markets are expected to increase their spending on healthcare to 32% by 2020.

healthcare future in numbers

Sales of medical tech are expected to rise to USD 513.5 billion in 2020, which is almost twice as much as in 2013. Total pharmaceutical spending reached USD 1.61 trillion in 2018, with oncology continuing to be the leading contributor.

healthcare in numbers

The Portrait of Healthcare Consumer in 2020

Patients worldwide are becoming more knowledgeable about their genetic profile, the diseases they might have. Plus, more accessible healthcare allows individuals to set higher expectations and receive improved outcomes.

People tend to focus on preventing illness and dedicating time and money to staying healthy. Thus, patients have turned into true consumers who have a variety of options. They learn about any available providers and pick the best and the most suitable treatment for them.

Some countries even have online interactive courses for primary care doctors on how to get the most out of new technology and how to deal with health-savvy patients. To sum up, more and more hype appears around P4-Medicine (medicine that is predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory).

P4-Medicine

See below the percentage of United States survey respondents that felt healthcare was vital as of December 2019, by gender.

healthcare importance

Top 6 Evolutionary Predictions for Healthcare in 2020

I’ve picked the most groundbreaking healthcare trends of the future in the United States and all over the globe. Some of these are successfully integrated into the medical industry and show high effectiveness in patients’ treatment. Other solutions are on their way to revolutionize the world.

Digitized Medicine Improves Patient Care

The home is now the place where much of the medical care takes place. The availability of digital communication allows many doctor-patient interactions to happen virtually while still delivering quality care to the patients right in their homes. Professional hospital treatment remains vital for trauma and emergency surgery, and local daycare clinics deal with most elective surgery. Meanwhile, the community is open for individuals with chronic and long-term conditions.

Trend highlights:

  • Web portals that enable regulatory-compliant video chats between patients and doctors are now held by a wide range of online wireless monitoring devices.
  • Healthcare has become revolutionary, with reduced traveling and waiting times, everyday contact through clinical e-visits, and wearables and other devices that allow for examinations at a distance.
  • Key technologies have become established: 3D printing of medical devices as well as organs, “scar-less” surgery with entry via the esophagus rather than skin cuts, and nerve cell transplants that enhance the productivity of patients with heart failure, stroke, and paralysis.
  • Healthcare companies now communicate with patients via social media, gauge their healthcare requirements, and offer appropriate products and services for their budget.
  • Online patient communities have grown exponentially and are rich sources of crowd-sourced data, with rating systems for drugs and healthcare provisioning.
  • Businesses and governments work with communities of patients, hospitals, and payers to identify best practices and cost-effective treatments.

See the top advantages of virtual versus in-person healthcare, according to United States adults as of 2018:

virtual versus in-person healthcare

AI Offers More Use Cases and Meets New Challenges

AI is becoming more advanced in diagnosing and detecting diseases. However, while AI in the healthcare industry is going to cross $400 million in 2020, businesses will have to rethink data use, training, validation, and implementation practices to reassure the community of ethical and harm-free use. The market will adjust to solutions that leverage AI tech of some kind in their solution rather than a simple purchase. In the pharma sector, AI investment deals will continue to pick up, especially for drug discovery applications. We also expect the first molecule discovered using AI to enter early phase clinical trials in the next 12 to 18 months.

Critical AI use cases in medicine:

  • Diagnosing skin cancer
  • Automation of radiology
  • Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease detection
  • Breast cancer detection
  • Colon cancer detection
  • Diagnosing heart disease
  • Diagnosing and categorizing blood infections
  • Typhoid fever detection
  • Tumor detection

Watch a three-minute video below for Forrester’s take on how healthcare organizations can incorporate AI into their 2020 strategy to achieve concrete results.

Robotics Revolutionize the Traditional Surgery

Applying robotics in surgery is a recent innovation. It’s possible for a modern surgeon to receive a super-enhanced visualization of the upcoming operation with 3D goggles using robotically enhanced surgery platforms. What seemed impossible a decade ago is now real-life and working innovations.

Robotics is considered to be the future of healthcare technology and can lead to dramatic changes in the way surgery functions. The critical purpose of robots is to assist surgeons in operations, which may lead to better treatment and less hospitalization time for the patient. Also, some studies suggest that soon, all minimally invasive surgeries will be performed by robots or with robotic assistance. Furthermore, the leverage of robots for anatomic lung resection is growing.

surgical robots market size

One more case of using robotics is a teleoperated, snake-like machine developed by a Chinese researcher. It may prove effective for minimally invasive radiosurgery of gastrointestinal tumors.


The trend also includes robotic microsurgery. Recently, super micro- and nanorobots have been suggested for use in healthcare. Thus, the Eindhoven University of Technology, alongside the Maastricht University Medical Center, presented the MicroSure robot (MSR0), which is capable of performing microsurgery. It works in a master-slave platform and is ready to be attached to a surgical microscope or the operation table.


Plus, patients will be able to benefit from new robot-assisted head and neck surgery. Surgeons, in turn, will get more expertise in robotic surgery while the technological revolution goes on.

3D-printing Takes Steps in the Future of Healthcare Technology

Another technology that has already affected many areas of our lives is 3D-printing. It seems it also has the potential to change medicine and healthcare fundamentally. This impact could be increased by making 3D-printing affordable, easy-to-use, and personalized. If 3D printers become more sophisticated, printing biomaterials become safely monitored, and society accepts this technology, it may pave the way for the future.

The main applications of 3D printing in healthcare are:

  • Generating medical equipment
  • Replicating human parts (like ears)
  • Preparing 3D models of tumors
  • Replacing finger splints
  • Printing casts on broken limbs
  • Preparing artificial heart valves
  • Preparing 3D-printed drugs

Wearables Drive a Seamless Doctor-Patient Interaction

Wearables continue to shape the quality of life of a modern consumer, tracking how people live with and handle their condition(s). Wearables spread far beyond fitness and health purposes and become affordable in specialist medical services (bio-sensing). Such new doctor-patient partnership bases on improved awareness, self-control, and prevention strategies, replacing the paternalistic model of old.

Research & Development Expands Its Horizons

In 2020, research and development (R&D) will be opening up new horizons. Namely, the R&D model became networked, built around academic and other partnerships. The role of “in-house only” software development has been minimized. Thus, R&D activities have been widely distributed, with pharmaceutical companies coordinating at the center.

The focus of the business is to understand disease biology and genetics, current standards, and cost of care, as well as treatment solutions. The networked R&D approach combines pharmaceuticals and technology with growing patient engagement to prevent and treat the condition.>

The Innovecs team of first-class IT professionals can help your business grow with cutting-edge and seamless healthcare software development —be it a product from scratch, like a telehealth platform that bridges medical organizations with patients, or expertise in the existing codebase and further contribution to the entire development process.

Trend highlights:

  • Pharmaceutical organizations cooperate with stakeholders in the earlier stage of the R&D cycle and achieve the best solutions sooner.
  • Technology has altered the nature of R&D—with diagnostic biosensors used in real-time monitoring via wearables, and the convergence of technology and biology blurring the boundary between medical devices, continuous diagnostics, and augmentation.
  • Clinical trial sites (replaced by local clinics), remote monitoring, and virtual doctor tests have resulted in a dramatic decrease in costs of clinical trials and the era of more meaningful data through constant monitoring.
  • Patients search out trials, pushing pharmaceutical corporations to compete for patients, especially in well-characterized, small patient group trials.

Conclusion

2020 is going to be an exciting year for healthcare to recalibrate strategic benchmarks and visions. What we learned from 2019 and what we expect from future trends in healthcare:

  • Well-informed patients will become more demanding to healthcare providers, have plenty of options to choose from, and will thus receive the most suitable and better treatment.
  • Medicine will get more digitized and offer more accessible, useful, and improved services. Virtual clinician-patient relations will reduce the time and costs spent on hospitalization, transportation, etc.
  • AI diagnostics, 3D-printing of human organs, and medical devices, robotic surgery will become commonplace. Nevertheless, these key technologies still have many questions, and companies need to reassure consumers of their accuracy, ethics, and the effectiveness of their use.
  • R&D will become networked with pharmaceutical companies that manage the processes at the core. Businesses access software development in the earlier stage, making achieving better results more likely.
Rocky Osborn
SVP of BizDev and Client Success
Rocky is a result-driven senior management executive who has brought to Innovecs over 25 years of success in a global business strategy, business development, strategic marketing, and client success.
You may also like:
LET’S TALK