Everyday life can change rapidly, as the past two years have made clear. During this period, the healthcare industry has undergone particularly fast innovation and digital transformation. So what are the highest-impact health trends for 2022? Gartner, a leading technology research and consulting company, asked heads of strategy in healthcare organizations to rate top industry trends, in terms of impact, over the next 12 months. Here are eight of their highest-impact health trends for 2022.
Personalized customer experience will be a focus
Patient-centred care will be a central trend of healthcare provision in 2022. This is where the patient actively participates in his or her own medical treatment in close cooperation with the relevant health professionals.
Machine learning will require sophisticated big data capabilities
A research study published in the Technological Forecasting and Social Change journal identified five big data analytics capabilities for healthcare organizations including: analytical capability for patterns of care, unstructured data analytical capability, decision support capability, predictive capability, and traceability.
Adoption of predictive analytics will increase
Predictive analytics can fulfil a variety of functions. They can, for example, forecast disease dynamics including locating undiagnosed TB cases in various parts of the world, such as Nigeria. AI models can track potential exposures or symptoms in real time. This data can be integrated with precise geolocation information to make accurate predictions about where outbreaks or disease hotspots are taking place, and who is mostly at risk. This helps allocate public health resources timeously and cost-effectively.
Predictive analytics can also aid healthcare providers by allowing them to better engage with their patients. For example, data analytics can be used to forecast which patients are likely to miss appointments, hence improving resource allocation. In addition, the technology can be used to determine which patients will or will not adhere to medication regimens, and also which healthcare messages or interventions will best resonate with various patient populations.
Collaboration with new or non-traditional partners is on the up
Healthcare providers are likely to forge non-traditional collaborative relationships with a variety of new actors such as high-tech start-ups (this is good news for us), venture philanthropists, community development financial institutions, corporations, etc. These non-traditional partners bring new methods and approaches to the health field.
Focus on preventative care will increase
Preventative healthcare might encompass a wide set of behaviors including, but not limited to, routine screenings, check-up and patient counseling to locate disease or other health problems before they manifest.
Costs will rise
US (and Europe) healthcare costs will continue to rise. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute projects a 6.5% increase in medical costs in 2022. Although this is slightly lower than last year's 7% increase, it is higher than it was between 2016 and 2020. In essence, healthcare spending is “expected to return to pre-pandemic baselines with some adjustments to account for the pandemic’s persistent effects”.
Payment model alternatives will continue to expand
US healthcare payment models, such as value-based payment methods, will continue expanding. Value-based contracting could include pay-for-performance (PFP) arrangements which aim to connect compensation to certain performance measures via a combination of incentives and disincentives.
Use of technology to self-monitor health will continue to rise
A growing number of patients are self-monitoring the parameters of their health and then bringing that data to their medical appointments. “Ear-worn devices and smartwatches are seeing particularly robust growth as consumers rely on these devices for remote work, fitness activities, health tracking and more,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner.
So which of these healthcare trends, mentioned above, are likely to have the biggest impact in 2022? According to Gartner the highest-impact factors include increased adoption of big data and predictive analytics, renewed collaboration with new or non-traditional partners, and the rising cost of US healthcare, coupled with an expanded adoption of alternative healthcare payment models. 2022 promises to be a big year for healthcare as the world adapts to the pandemic. These healthcare trends will be well worth monitoring as the year unfolds.