5 Tech Trends Set to Disrupt Health Care in 2020

Macro of a stethoscope and digital tablet

Health care is a complex industry averse to large-scale change. However, providers must recognize and adapt to new tech if they want to remain agile.                

Carter Liebscher|
October 16, 2019

Previously, we looked at seven innovation tactics health care providers consider the most valuable to their industry. From crowdsourcing knowledge and ideas from both employees and patients to tapping external organizations for innovation help, many providers have a sound system in place that keeps them relatively agile.

However, with technology quickly progressing and consumer values changing, will providers find these tactics similarly useful as we approach 2020?

Here are five disruptive tech trends slated for the early 2020s and how providers are planning to address them. 

5 Disruptive Tech Trends Predicted for 2020

As we’ve touched on before, the most popular workplace innovation trends predicted for 2020 include investing in customer intelligence; recognizing the influence of the Internet of Things (IoT); engaging your employees; and effective collaboration between all employees. 

These trends have been percolating for some time now, but the technology emerging from these trends is progressing faster than before—and progressing in ways that emphasize consumer experience. All companies of course value their customers, but they may lose them if they don’t adopt new technology that puts their customers’ preferences first.

As put by UnfoldLabs in an article for Medium, health care is a complex system that is simultaneously averse to large-scale change but susceptible to small failures due to external changes. For even as customer-oriented an industry as health care, customers still want to exert some of their own influence on what health care organizations are focusing on.

As such, providers should focus on—perhaps invest in—these five technologies set to trend in 2020:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT refers to the many Internet-enabled devices capable of monitoring a person’s general health, including heart rate, blood pressure, and daily activity. This is easily retrievable, highly valuable data that providers can use in conjunction with their own care processes. The global IoT market is projected to reach $534.3 billion by 2025, which will start making headway in 2020.
  • 3D Printing: In health care and medical industries, 3D printing holds great potential for patients with specific health needs. As individualized prosthetic design and tissue engineering have moved from the lab to the hospital, the global market for 3D printing is expected to reach $2,319.5 million in 2020, up from $973 million in 2018.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP is a specialized branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that collects and interprets vast amounts of human-generated spoken or written data. Use cases of NLP include transcription speech transcription and clinical note separation and retrieval, helpful instances that will help the technology’s market grow to $16 billion by 2021.
  • Machine Learning: Just as the IoT collects and disseminates health data from a variety of users, so too do machine learning models of diagnostics and treatment. Machine learning has been popularized by the use of virtual nurses, which sees chatbots interacting, diagnosing, and recommending treatments to patients rather than human nurses.
  • Blockchain Technology: Blockchain technology has a couple functions, most notably securing patients’ health data and curbing drug and billing fraud. Data is stored on time-stamped digital blocks, each one immutably connected to the one that came before it, ensuring that only those who stored the data can access it.

How Health Care Providers Are Affected by and Are Addressing Disruption

Some health care organizations have been bracing for these disruptive trends. According to an annual survey from Industry Pulse, one-third of 185 health care executives believe that new entrants, organizational processes, and technologies will upend the industry’s current business models. Specifically, leaders are expecting changes in care delivery and customer experience. 

David Gallegos, senior VP of consulting services at Change Healthcare, sees disruption happening in multiple fronts such that “payers and providers are finding themselves stretched thin as they try to address a perfect storm of change.” With a per-person cost of $10,000 in the U.S., with a cumulative cost accounting for approximately 18% of the country’s gross domestic product, it’s understandable that patients are going to take advantage of low-cost, more effective care.

Health organizations can exercise a number of tactics to remain agile, tactics that can be used to be disruptive and anticipate disruption itself. Continuous improvement; developing innovation programs and staffing them with a talented team; and acquiring small companies responsible for disruptive technology are all ways providers can address the industry’s changes.

One preemptive measure providers should be taking is a simple one but one with lasting effects: research. Researching innovations and disruptive practices within and outside your organization and industry can set the tone for which steps to take afterwards. We suggest allocating some time for both leaders and employees research innovation and share it with each other. Not only will it trudge up some valuable information, but it will also help engage your employees.

Once organization leaders and employees are both cognizant of the disruptive happenings in and around your organization and industry—and on the same page after utilizing idea management software—they can then start reaching out and implementing the same technologies set to disruptive them.

For more information on how your health care organization can anticipate the next decade’s most disruptive technologies and trends, download our free whitepaper outlining the ten necessary but simple steps to implementing idea management. Employee engagement is the first step to getting closer to innovation.

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