Three tech trends that will impact healthcare in 2017

Posted: Jan 12, 2017
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As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, technology adoption remains one of the defining factors in the modern healthcare environment. Here are three technologies that will help shape the future of healthcare through 2017 and beyond.

Wearables

Wearable medical and fitness technology is becoming more common throughout the world, and as more devices enter the market, the trend of self-monitoring looks set to continue through 2017.

Gartner predicts that by the end of year, 70% of multinational corporations will sponsor the use of wearable fitness tracking devices, and that by 2018, 28% of workers at companies in the U.S. with more than 100 employees and access to wellness programs will drive 15% of total fitness tracker purchases.

While tech wearables are a common sight nowadays, particularly fitness trackers, studies suggest that abandonment rates are extremely high among consumers, with most devices failing to maintain user interest for more than a few months. Some reasons for abandonment include physical discomfort, a lack of noticeable health benefits, and inconvenience (such as having to constantly sync devices with a smartphone).

2017 looks set to a very interesting year for the wearables market, as developers explore new ways to deliver wearable products that can provide genuine health benefits for users, without the inconvenience.

Telehealth

In an effort to meet the changing needs of a growing population, healthcare providers are looking to telehealth as a solution for delivering services remotely to patients. As well as increasing access to healthcare for patients in rural areas, telehealth has been proven to support clinical education programs, reduce costs for patients, and improve health outcomes.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than 15 million Americans received some kind of medical care remotely in 2015, with those numbers expected to increase by 30% in 2016, and further still through 2017.

As healthcare providers look to further enhance their ability to evaluate and diagnose patients by phone, webcam, or email, 2017 looks set to be a defining year for telehealth.

mHealth apps

The U.S. boasts the fourth highest smartphone ownership rates in the world, with 72% of U.S. adults now owning a smartphone. The ownership rate is bigger still among 18-34 year olds, at 92%.

For this privileged majority, gaining access to health information has never been easier – a recent study revealed the number of U.S. consumers who use mobile applications for managing their health has doubled in recent years, increasing from 16% in 2014 to 33% in 2016 – by the end of the 2017, this number is expected to reach 50%.

What’s more, a global study into mHealth app publishing revealed that more than 250,000 mHealth apps are now available on major app stores, with more than 13,000 new mHealth publishers having entered the market since the beginning of 2015.

All considered, it comes as little surprise that the mHealth market is estimated to account for over $23 Billion in 2017 alone, expected to grow a further 35% over the next three years.

Technology is helping shape the future of medical care. As consumers seek affordable and high-quality healthcare, and providers look to deliver it to them, advancements in the areas featured within this article, as well as others, will serve to make this a reality.

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