It’s been a strange past few years in healthcare technology.
Things (we all hope) are moving back toward a focus on understanding and solving patient care challenges with technology instead of reacting to crises and fires.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the top emerging healthcare technology trends you need to know and stay ahead of in 2023:
Health Tech Must Prove Big ROI
With healthcare costs increasing and margins shrinking, providers demand that healthcare technologies demonstrate a strong return on investment. Healthcare software vendors in 2023 will need to adapt their priorities to succeed:
- Understand clients’ key economic metrics, cost structure, and revenue drivers (if you’re not sure, ask them).
- Show the specific ways your software improves client financial performance (such as enabling digital care follow-up to reduce readmissions or increasing patient volume and revenue through telehealth).
- Show as much real-world proof of ROI as possible with existing customers or beta customers for new technology.
- Emphasize innovation only in the context of how it drives measurable ROI and patient experience—not just because it’s new and cool.
- Build in exceptional software business intelligence and reporting to make it as simple as possible for customers to document key performance metrics.
68% decline in hospital operating margin on patient revenue from 2021 to 2022, driven by rising labor and supply costs
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Continue to Mature (and Become More Useful)
Just a few years ago, healthcare experts were breathlessly predicting how AI and ML promised a “new paradigm” that was “poised to overhaul the healthcare industry” and “transform how healthcare is delivered.”
The reality has proved more complex, and the healthcare industry now better understands AI’s applications and limits. In 2023, we expect healthcare technology companies and providers to continue focusing on the most valuable and practical use cases of AI and ML.
Despite some tempered expectations, several targeted use cases for AI in healthcare have become a reality, including:
- Automated triggers keep patients informed and on track with their care plans
- Improved care workflows and collaboration
- Greater accuracy and control for opioid prescriptions
- Better clinical decision support for doctors
Interoperability and Device Integration Advance and Gain Focus
Healthcare technologies must work together to provide value. 2023 should see big advances on a couple of fronts.
Standards-based interoperability will provide clarity and progress. FHIR has emerged as the future standard for data integration among EHRs and other healthcare software and data systems. Collaborative alliances such as CommonWell continue to gain momentum and promote interoperability adoption and understanding. New opportunities will open up as technology vendors build to these standards and take advantage of easier health data access, such as more sophisticated, real-time clinical decision support and algorithms.
And healthcare goes with us everywhere now. Improving interoperability also supports the growth and value of remote medical devices and the internet of medical things (IoMT). Providers and vendors will focus on device integration as more care moves out of the hospital and into the home.
The proliferation of connected wearable technology, home A1C and blood pressure monitors, implanted heart devices, and health apps has created promise (many technologies to give patients more control) and problems (huge new sets of data to decipher and share).
In 2023, providers and vendors will make substantial investments in making sense of all the data and incorporating it into care and administrative workflows.
Focus on Patient Experience will Innovate Digital Experience
Carvana will deliver you a car without ever having to speak to a human being.
Now, people (especially younger adults) increasingly shop for healthcare services the same way they shop for a car or a hotel. Go online, research, compare prices, ask questions, and take ownership of their decisions. They also expect to manage their experience online.
Healthcare providers and software vendors will focus more on this consumer model for healthcare in 2023. This means advances in the digital front door to engage, inform, and serve patients.
The consumer trend will also increase the focus on interoperability and device integration to give patients fast access and connect patients with doctors and providers to plan, schedule, and manage their care.
Rising Developer and Nursing Labor Costs Will Cause Challenges but Spur Innovation
Quality healthcare software engineers have a special set of skills, not just in coding but understanding healthcare solutions, data, interoperability, workflows, privacy, and compliance.
That makes them scarce. And a scarce resource is an expensive one. While salaries may flatten out for general software developers as the economy tightens, healthcare development and testing expertise will continue to demand a premium. That premium will only grow as digital health solutions get more sophisticated (data volumes and complexity, health analytics, decision support, workflow integration).
On the clinical side, the well-documented nursing shortage spurred by Covid-19 pandemic and burnout looks to continue getting worse. McKinsey forecasts a frightening potential shortage of 200,000 to 400,000 nurses by 2025.
We expect one positive to emerge from the nursing labor strain and inflating costs. Healthcare providers and technology vendors in 2023 will invest in business and technology innovation to make life easier for nurses and shift care away from hospitals.
Healthcare Tech Vendors Will Consolidate
The boom in digital healthcare technology has created an unwieldy expanse of options, connections, data, and functions. A healthcare provider understandably prefers to work with one software vendor instead five to deliver the same capabilities and ROI.
Smart vendors in 2023 will seize an opportunity to consolidate and create compelling healthcare platforms with broader capabilities and measurably valuable results.
Capitalize on Digital Health Trends with Help From KMS
In closing, we’re all working together to impact the patient experience and harness technology’s power to improve patient care. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing healthcare technology landscape, but it’s important to stay ahead of the curve.
By understanding these 6 healthcare technology trends for 2023, you can start making changes in your own business. And as you adapt to these trends, consider the healthcare technology & consulting experts at KMS Healthcare a resource to help you navigate these changes successfully.