Healthcare products are changing at breakneck speed due to the rapid advancements in the sector. These new products are created while keeping in mind the changing needs of healthcare providers and patients while offering high-quality patient care. These products also help bridge the gap between legacy systems and the latest systems, which is going to transform the industry at large.

The affirmation comes from a Deloitte report, which mentions that healthcare organizations should keep an eye on the following trends:

  • A collaboration between the health systems and plans
  • The shift to wellness rather than illness
  • Putting patients at the center of care by using technology
  • Increased adoption of virtual care facilities
  • More focus on population health

These trends are also relevant on a global scale to a significant extent as various healthcare facilities around the world are making a move towards a more value-based system. Moreover, the global health care expenditures are expected to continue to rise as spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent between 2017-2022, from USD 7.724 trillion to USD 10.059 trillion.

With this enormous amount of money and effort being put in the healthcare sector, the development of healthcare products also needs a more focused approach.

Here’s our take on how the changes in the industry, technology, and patient needs are the catalysts of change for healthcare product development:

Data-Driven Decision-Making is the Norm

Data is of prime importance in the healthcare sector. This can be attributed to the rising adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), which facilitate meaningful usage of patient data. The way this information is presented and shared with the healthcare facilities and healthcare organizations are essential to their functioning. For instance, using big data analysis and predictive analysis, it becomes easy to understand how medications and treatments are being meted out to patients, their outcomes, and success ratios.

Moreover, data-driven decision-making helps in reducing the cost of patient care. It can also help reduce fraud, which is another factor that raises healthcare costs. A case in point is that of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which prevented more than $210.7 million in healthcare fraud in one year using predictive analytics.

Lastly, it can also be used to prioritize integrated solutions and services offered to patients that can enhance patients’ experience at the healthcare facilities.

Considering the growing importance of data, healthcare products need to become more data-driven. The products need to be able to facilitate the gathering, processing, and analysis of data of various types, in real-time, with utmost accuracy.

IoT-Enabled Virtual Care is Growing

According to Grand View Research, IoT in healthcare that covers markets of medical devices, systems, software and services, is slated to grow to a market size of USD 300B by 2022.

Sample this, with advanced algorithms and techniques, the healthcare IoT systems can learn from the sensor measurements as well as the patients’ medical history to offer enhanced feedback. This can be used to predict the future health of the patients, help in remotely monitoring their health conditions and offering them emergency care if needed, and so on.

IoT mobility is going to play a crucial role in this. For instance, patients can wear different sensors, which are going to record and monitor several parameters. Any unusual pattern can help healthcare professionals get information in real-time, and they can use the data to offer services on the go, without visiting the patient in person.

For healthcare product development, this means the ability to gather and process data from IoT sensors, integration with backend healthcare information systems, creation of sophisticated mobile apps, and also more focus on ease of use so that patients can benefit from virtual care.

Empowered Patients Drive Change

It is the age of healthcare consumerism. Patients want to be treated as consumers. All the facilities and services provided at healthcare organizations are increasingly being tweaked by keeping them at the forefront. It plays an active role in deciding which healthcare facilities the patients are going to prefer.

That said, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, are the key factors that healthcare product developers need to keep in mind. The products need to be developed in such a way that they can lead to better communication between patients and the healthcare providers, enhance the patients’ knowledge and lifestyle awareness, put more focus on preventative measures by encouraging wellness, etc.

All in all, this will lead to empowered patients. They will be more educated, and responsible towards their health. Equipped with the right information and facilities at the right time, along with personalized services, they will be more active participants in their health.

Moving Towards the Cloud

A large number of healthcare institutions have moved to the cloud for deploying technology solutions. Add to this an industry forecast by MarketsAndMarkets, which estimated that the healthcare cloud computing market would nearly triple to $9.48 billion in 2020 from $3.73 billion in 2015.

SaaS healthcare product development is a different ballgame altogether – the product development teams need to consider various aspects such as security, usability, and developing as per the changing norms of cloud development.

New Technologies are Surfacing

Just like the cloud, many new techniques and technologies play a determining factor in product development.

Take the instance of IBM Watson, which can chalk out various treatments for cancer patients. Its Genomic product can identify specific treatments for over 1,000 patients and can perform big data analysis to determine treatment options for patients with tumors. In another example, think of Google Cloud’s Healthcare app, which makes it easy to collect, store, and access data, anytime and anywhere. It is all about being prepared for any situation that presents itself.

The crux is that new healthcare products have a new trend, insight, or technological innovation behind them. These can address existing issues or solve the possible ones that may arise in the future. The advent of new technologies can lead to smart health systems, and therefore, contribute to smart hospitals. These hospitals can offer better diagnosis and treatment with the rare ability to combine speed, accuracy, quality, and enhanced workflows.

The healthcare products of today need to be prepared for these fast-paced advancements in healthcare technology and need to provide integration capabilities and scalability.

Achieving Breakthroughs in Healthcare Product Development

These are some of the ways healthcare product development is undergoing a dynamic shift.

This is definitely going to continue for a long time due to significant digital transformations happening in the healthcare sector. It is upon the healthcare product developers to bring about some breakthroughs in the development of the product using every possible tool and technology at their disposal.

What are your thoughts on the changing nature of healthcare product development?