By Chris Logan
Over the past year, the healthcare industry has continued to make deep strides in providing better access, quality, efficiencies and decision-making for patient care. As the industry heads into a whole new decade, 2020 will be both a pivotal point and reality check for organizations to propose, promote and capitalize on changes across the system for the greater good. As such, healthcare organizations must ensure they have the right tools and technologies in place to prioritize patient care, while overcoming scalability, availability and budget challenges.
According to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, the global digital health market is expected to reach a valuation of more than $234 billion in 2023, up from 2019’s estimated $147 billion, driven by the healthcare industry’s ongoing transition toward a model of value-based care. This number is staggering, especially since healthcare is in an interesting place – though all citizens use it, few understand it. Levels of care, hospital systems, insurance plans and cost are all beyond the scope of the common patient. To combat this, the industry must undergo a mass simplification, in order to ensure the highest levels of care at the lowest possible cost. While deemed a major undertaking, organizations can start by prioritizing two things: technology and patient experience.
As healthcare providers work to drive down costs and deliver higher levels of care, here are the top 2020 trends they must focus on in the coming year:
- 5G Enhances Telemedicine: With high-costs, a shrinking pool of medical professionals and patients across the country – telehealth makes it easy to have doctors’ visits and pharmaceutical consultations from anywhere, regardless of location. As 5G becomes a reality in 2020, telemedicine will require a network that can support real-time, high quality video. With 5G, healthcare providers will be able to leverage mobile networks to enable patients to receive the preventative care they need, with less hassle and frustration.
- Public Cloud Advances Digital Transformation: Public and hybrid cloud solutions enable mobile health and artificial intelligence to play a role in enhancing patient care. Whether organizations are leveraging cloud solutions from Google, Amazon, Microsoft or another provider, hospitals have a more efficient solution for purchasing large amounts of technical resources needed for those applications. And because public cloud administrators don’t need to be on-premise, these organizations have improved access to talented IT practitioners regardless of their location.
- Rethink Interoperability: According to the National Health Expenditure Accounts, health spending accounts for almost 18 percent of our nations GDP. Technology can help reign in some of this excess spending by eliminating siloes and standardizing and sharing healthcare data. Each patient should be able to visit a doctor’s office, move onto a specialist and then to a hospital without the duplicate efforts filling out paperwork. The time and cost of each of these interactions creates inefficiencies, adds to cost and hampers the patient experience.
- Prioritize Security Posture: Strong investment in digital technologies requires an even larger investment on cybersecurity efforts. Healthcare environments are complex and dynamic, and also the top targets for cybersecurity attacks. The game of cat and mouse is getting old and isn’t one that IT teams can win. In 2020, the industry will see a shift from reactive security efforts, to proactive – seeking out vulnerabilities and possible attacks before they lead to data breaches or ransomware attacks.
Healthcare organizations looking to prioritize the patient experience and provide the best care must consider innovative and emerging technologies. By leveraging telemedicine, 5G and cloud, and investing in cybersecurity strategies, we can hope to see new changes in the coming year. But for now, healthcare leaders must continue to remain agile and adapt to the constantly changing landscape.
Chris Logan is Director of Healthcare Industry Strategy for VMware.