6 Healthcare Tech Trends to Prep For This Year

Leah Champagne on January 17, 2023

Technology has been advancing the healthcare industry since the discovery of the X-ray in 1895. Since then, we’ve created EKGs, pacemakers, MRIs, electronic health records and robots that can help in the surgery room. With every innovation, healthcare is thrust another step into the future and businesses adjust to keep pace.

Staying up to date is tough, though. Innovation moves fast and your brand has to move faster. You have to know what trends are dominating the market, what pain points your customers are facing and what’s affecting the industry as a whole to stay competitive in this ever-changing landscape.

Sounds like a lot, I know, but I’m here to help! I’ve gathered key points from copious research to help you focus your 2023 business and marketing objectives on the trends that will impact your industry this year.

  1. Health wearables
  2. Robotics
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. Virtual reality for mental health
  5. At-Home testing
  6. Preventative medicine

1. Health Wearables

Wearables themselves aren’t new, but the swell of users predicted in 2023 is. Nearly half of the US is already a smartwatch and over 70% say they’d wear a fitness tracker for a discount on their insurance. Although smartwatches and fitness trackers only scratch the surface of health wearables and their capabilities, these statistics show promising consumer trust in the devices.

The surge in users is anticipated because more people are making efforts to take their health into their own hands. According to one study, 60% of people say they’re more aware of preventing disease with a healthy lifestyle since the pandemic began.

In-person access to healthcare professionals was limited during lockdowns, which has resulted in empowering the public to maintain (or reclaim) their physical health. Wearables provide the data that helps them do it.

That data isn’t only useful to individuals. Clinicians can also utilize it to help manage patient care. Experts predict doctors will start leaning more heavily on fitness trackers and other wearable devices to gather historical and real-time data about their patients. Numbers like heart rate, exercise frequency and intensity, oxygen intake and even blood pressure will be monitored and reported from wearable devices.

This will provide a much clearer picture for physicians when diagnosing and choosing treatment plans. It will also open the door for more accurate medical testing and experimentation as researchers take advantage of watching real-time data from study participants.

2. Robotics

In my mind, robotics will always sound intimidatingly futuristic. But the truth is that it’s been part of the MedTech landscape for a while now. The reason it’s on this list is that we’re going to see some significant gains in this sector in 2023.

Most people (myself included) immediately think of surgical robots when presented with this topic. These aren’t the automaton bots you’ve seen on the movie screen but rather sophisticated tools doctors use to assist them with precise or delicate procedures. They offer enhanced capabilities by using smaller tools and making smaller incisions.

We’re expecting to see increased adoption of these robots in the coming year. They offer increased safety and quicker recoveries, making them ideal for both practitioners and patients.

As cool as those tools are, the real focus of 2023 is going to be nursing robots. These are the friendly helper robots that we saw in movies like “Robot and Frank” and shows like “The Jetsons.” These little helper bots on wheels, sometimes with a pre-programmed smile, are designed to help nursing staff better care for patients and to relieve some of the effects of understaffing and COVID burnout.

One hospital in Virginia has been using nursing robots since February 2022 and the reviews are remarkably positive. The robots make rounds on different floors of the hospital “delivering medication, supplies, lab samples and personal items” to patients and staff members. The staff noted how much they valued the help and have come to rely on their bot.

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3. Artificial Intelligence

In addition to robotics, there will be big investments in artificial intelligence (AI) this year. Healthcare businesses across the board are integrating AI more holistically than ever before. It will start doing most of the heavy lifting for operations, administration and health records management departments, as well as assist with diagnoses and creating treatment plans.

One area, in particular, that AI will likely take over is billing and revenue for large companies and hospitals. With automated systems to manage sending invoices, handling insurance claims and collecting and recording payments, staff members can turn their attention to more important developments in the organization.

Aside from streamlining the back office, AI will also make an appearance in the surgical process. ExactTech’s Predict+ is one machine-learning model that’s helping doctors predict recovery outcomes for patients before they undergo an arthroplasty (shoulder replacement). Doctors can input a handful of data points and the system can predict “potential outcomes, including pain, function, and range of motion.”

This model allows surgeons to account for multiple contingencies and health factors before even scheduling a procedure. They have time to assess the patient’s health, predicted outcomes and make adjustments to ensure the easiest and quickest recovery.

Robotics and AI are poised to make major waves in 2023, so keep an eye out for the latest tools in your sector throughout the year.

4. Virtual Reality for Mental Health

Mental health is another sector that’s received lots of attention since the onset of the pandemic. In addition to shining a light on mental health issues, professionals are also discovering new ways to help their patients.

Virtual reality provides an immersive experience for patients, allowing them to undergo treatments like exposure therapy and practice techniques in cognitive behavioral therapy within a safe environment. They can confront fears, practice coping and develop positive habits all from the safety of their home or doctor’s office.

Mental health professionals explain that VR is a powerful tool when treating mental health issues. The brain processes information from a virtual reality experience as if it were real, which creates a stronger emotional response and more realistic opportunity to confront negative emotions or unhealthy habits. This process is better at forging new neural pathways in the brain, so many counselors and psychologists are starting to adopt it into their practices.

As the demand for this treatment option grows, so will the demand for VR software tailored to mental health practices. There are already a handful of companies popping up to fill this need and we expect to see significant growth in this industry during 2023.

5. At-home Testing

The pandemic ushered in a DIY approach to testing and diagnosing illness, and there’s no signs of things going back to the doctor’s office. The FDA is expected to approve more at-home testing options for a variety of illnesses in 2023, expanding the range of possibilities for patients.

These anticipated approvals are coming on the heels of a surge in demand for telehealth and telemedicine options. Insurance companies are expected to cover more at-home testing options and telehealth services this year. This is one of the biggest reasons many clinics, offices and hospitals are expanding their healthcare tech — to meet demand and comply with new and upcoming insurance regulations regarding these services.

At-home testing will also be used as one prong in the plan to promote patient engagement with online systems. Things like electronic health records and patient portals will start playing a larger role in doctor’s offices, and at-home testing results can be automatically uploaded for both physicians and patients to review. It’s also where people can communicate with their doctor to order tests and discuss results if necessary.

As people become more involved in their healthcare, the industry will make way for them to take control of certain areas such as testing, reporting and entering data themselves instead of relying on a trip to their physician’s office.

6. Preventative Medicine

Each of the five previous trends are pointing toward one thing: preventative medicine. The surge in health wearable, adoption of artificial intelligence and swell in at-home testing are all in an effort to prevent serious medical setbacks before they happen.

Historically, “healthcare” meant waiting until you got sick, then going to the doctor for treatment. But with rising costs of insurance, doctor’s visits and medical procedures, waiting until a problem arises has become incredibly costly for many Americans.

Instead of waiting to fix problems, healthcare professionals will start trying to help their patients be more proactive. Things like fitness trackers, telehealth options and more frequent wellness visits will help people detect potential problems early and take steps to avoid them.

The goal of this focus will be to decrease healthcare costs, reduce the rate of preventable diseases and help people better manage chronic conditions. We see this goal reflected in the CDC’s projected budget for 2023, where they list an estimated investment of $1.6 billion toward “Chronic Disease and Health Promotion” (page 42).

👉If you want more interesting insights on the future of healthcare, check out Forbes’ Top 10 predictions for 2023.

Get an Edge on the Competition

MedTech is on the move and if you don’t stay informed, you’ll get left behind. Consider these six trends that will define 2023 as you set up your marketing strategy for the year. How do they affect your business? How can you get in on the action?

If you need help figuring out how to capitalize on these trends, check out our brand positioning worksheet. It’ll help you align your marketing with your positioning so you’re set up to resonate with your audience and earn the highest possible return.

Leah Champagne
Leah Champagne
Leah is a professional content specialist with three years of experience writing for a wide array of industries. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, then pivoted her writing skills to a career in marketing content. Now she is also well versed in completing keyword research and content strategy for our clients. Leah is known for her consistency, creativity and ability to work with clients to create the perfect piece of content.

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