26 January 2023

Future of health tech: Top five healthcare technology trends to watch in 2023

Healthcare technology

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Josh Carson

At GearedApp, we work with both public and private healthcare organisations of all shapes and sizes to develop the very latest in healthcare software and technology, so we usually have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to come up.

We’ve picked out five key trends we expect to see more of in 2023, from all-encompassing macro trends to more specific areas of improvement. They are:

  • Digitising and automating manual services
  • Centralising and connecting data
  • Laser focus on user experience (UX)
  • The expansion of telehealth
  • Improving cybersecurity and prioritising refinement over invention

Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

1. Digitising and automating manual services

Freeing up time for healthcare staff is one of technology’s greatest benefits. This year, expect automation to continue expanding at pace – both in the public and private sectors – as healthcare providers look to software to pick up more of the slack when it comes to time-consuming manual tasks.

Appointment bookings, calendar admin and managing prescriptions are already being transferred from receptionists and bits of paper to computers and connected systems.

As these digital assistants get more and more sophisticated through artificial intelligence (AI), we can expect to see software taking a lead in other tasks too – filling out forms, ordering and amending more complex prescriptions and recording and analysing health data.

2. Centralising and connecting data

An interconnected health sector, where big data as well as small-scale personal data can be used to provide insights for individuals as well as entire communities, will be increasingly important in 2023. And it’ll be equally crucial in the public sector as it already is in private medicine.

While governments can develop software that gives a more accurate picture of life in any given country around the world, health data for individuals extracted from wearable fitness technology is already being used by insurance companies. Some providers, like Vitality Health, are now looking beyond basic information like your height and weight and adjusting premiums depending on how fit and active you are, which more accurately puts you in a higher or lower risk category.

These sorts of data points, and the process of connecting the dots between them to improve health outcomes, will be seen a lot more this year than ever before.

3. Laser focus on user experience (UX)

New hyper-intelligent software and technology is great – but only if people use it and can see the benefits for themselves. One of the most common hurdles we, at GearedApp, see is poor UX inhibiting the roll-out of a bit of kit that can genuinely help people, organisations, or even entire sectors or societies.

A good appointment-booking app can have a huge impact on the amount of work healthcare administrators are faced with, but poor UX can also lead to patients giving up on it – especially if they aren’t digitally savvy themselves.

In the past, UX may have been seen as a nice-to-have but it’s no longer the forgotten cousin for good reason. Software developers in 2023 will be putting it front and centre when designing technology for the healthcare space.

4. The expansion of telehealth

It’s already an area of growth within the healthcare sector, but many of the trends above will help to accelerate telemedicine to be even more commonplace – making it accessible for everyone, everywhere.

Online therapeutics and consultations, many of which are starting to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) through things like chatbots, are a useful tool for healthcare professionals to cope with a burdensome ageing global population.

Digital literacy is growing in these key groups too, so remote access to healthcare is becoming ever easier. As people become more comfortable with it, and as back-end and front-end systems interconnect ever more seamlessly, there’ll be fewer hurdles to overcome – meaning technicians and clinicians alike will also have access to richer and more useful data too.

5. Improving cybersecurity and prioritising refinement over invention

The increase in data reliance, and the sheer volume being recorded and analysed, means methods of keeping that data secure must be factored into any further development of systems and software. That is likely to see a trend of upgrading existing technology instead of adding new bells and whistles.

This technical debt, often factored in as a known shortcoming of newly developed code, programs or platforms, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But going too far, too fast without correcting any small flaws later, especially regarding security, can leave healthcare organisations open to exploitation and people’s data vulnerable.

There’s certainly no shame in adopting technical debt during development and rollout, but it’s important to return to software products and ‘pay back’ the debt with bug fixes and improvements as soon as you can. Expect to see a renewed focus on this in 2023.

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