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6 Ways Digital Technology Is Changing the Healthcare Industry

By Sunita Arnold, Jan 3, 2024

Modern neurology research office with an advanced brain scan displayed on a monitor, medical equipment, and empty wheelchair in focus

Digital Technology in Healthcare: A New Era of Patient Care

The healthcare technology (healthcare IT) market has experienced rapid growth in recent years, as highlighted by a new report from Grand View Research. The global healthcare IT market size was valued at $199.5 billion in 2023, and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 18.7% from 2024 to 2030. Key factors driving this growth include increasing usage of smartphones, rising demand for remote patient monitoring, advancement of healthcare IT infrastructure, and more initiatives/investments in eHealth and digital health.

This projected growth trajectory underscores how digital technology is fundamentally altering the healthcare landscape. As more providers integrate solutions like electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine platforms, mHealth apps and medical wearables, the industry reaps significant benefits as well as faces major challenges. On one hand, digital health tools can improve care coordination, increase access and efficiency, empower patients, and reduce costs. However, concerns around cybersecurity, interoperability, data privacy, and more have emerged.

As digital transformation continues to accelerate, it promises to change how care is delivered and managed across the entire healthcare ecosystem. In this article, we will explore six major ways that innovative health technologies and digital solutions are impacting key players and processes within the industry.

What Are The Benefits of Healthcare Technology?

Digital innovation is transforming healthcare in several meaningful ways. New technologies are increasing access to medical services, enhancing patient experiences, reducing costs, improving decision-making accuracy, accelerating information sharing, and advancing public health research. Specifically, solutions like telemedicine platforms, patient portals, electronic health records, AI analytics, and health data tools are driving systemic improvements that benefit key healthcare stakeholders – patients, providers, payers, and public health authorities. By acknowledging these tangible benefits, we can continue to strategically implement emerging technologies to optimize health outcomes across populations.

1. Better Access to Care

Digital technologies like telehealth services are making healthcare more accessible for patients. Solutions like video visits and remote monitoring expand access to care, especially for those in underserved areas.

For example, Alto Pharmacy streamlines the prescription process through its mobile app by coordinating doctors, insurers, medication pricing and delivery. This convenience removes barriers to medication access.

On-demand drone delivery services like Zipline also expand care access by autonomously transporting supplies to remote hospitals internationally. Its networks in Africa, Asia and now North America enable more equitable delivery to improve availability of vital medical products.

Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack and the launch of RxPass, a $5 prescription subscription service, exemplifies how digital technology is making healthcare more accessible. By integrating PillPack’s capabilities into their services, Amazon has streamlined the prescription process, making it easier for patients, especially the elderly and those with chronic conditions, to receive their medications without leaving their homes.

2. Communication Technology: Enhanced Patient Experiences

Patient portals, a cornerstone of communication technology in healthcare, give patients access to their health records and test results online, improving the overall customer experience and enabling healthcare providers to better meet customer needs. Portals facilitate patient-provider collaboration as patients can message doctors with any questions about their treatment plan or health data. Moreover, the evolution of communication technology in healthcare is not limited to patient portals. It extends to real-time communication tools between healthcare professionals, enhancing collaboration and coordination of patient care.

Google’s open-source program Open Health Stack and the launch of MedPaLM, an AI-based language model for healthcare, are prime examples of how digital health is enhancing patient experiences. These tools help in providing more accessible and accurate health information online, assisting patients in understanding their health conditions better.

3. Lower Delivery Costs

Technologies like EHRs not only reduce operating costs for providers by optimizing clinical workflows, but also streamline operations, leveraging the power of big data in healthcare. EHRs eliminate paperwork and manual record keeping, allowing clinicians to deliver care more efficiently. Studies show practices using EHRs have higher revenue and lower costs.

Impact on Revenue and Cost Reduction:

  • Present concrete data and research findings demonstrating how practices using EHRs have seen higher revenue and lower operational costs.
  • Highlight how EHRs aid in better billing practices and insurance claim processing, leading to improved financial performance for healthcare providers.
  • Streamlining the Billing Process: EHR systems facilitate the rapid exchange of patient information among healthcare providers by streamlining the billing process. This is achieved through the automation of tasks, reduction of the need for manual input, and the improvement of accuracy. By integrating EHR with billing systems, healthcare organizations can effectively track and manage claims, ensuring timely reimbursement and minimizing revenue leakage​​.
  • Centralized Data Management System: EHR integration enhances efficiency and productivity by offering a centralized patient and billing data management system. This centralized management system improves the communication of patient information among healthcare providers, leading to more efficient and accurate billing practices​​.
  • Continuity and Quality of Care: EHRs ensure continuity of patient care data, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history. This continuity aids in better diagnosis, treatment planning, and detection of potential health issues. The integration of EHR into healthcare organizations has been shown to reduce manual errors, improve accuracy, and expedite reimbursement, ultimately leading to increased revenue, reduced administrative costs, and improved cash flow​​.
  • Data Analysis and Staff Efficiency: EHR integration allows for comprehensive analysis of billing data, enabling healthcare providers to identify trends, monitor performance, and make informed decisions to enhance financial outcomes. It also allows staff to focus on higher-value tasks as administrative burdens are reduced, improving productivity and enabling the team to provide better patient care​​.
  • Encouragement for Healthcare Organizations: Embracing EHR technology and integrating it into billing processes is encouraged for healthcare organizations. EHR integration can lead to significant cost savings and efficiency gains by eliminating paper-based processes and automating billing. It is also crucial in improving patient satisfaction and the overall healthcare experience, as patients gain better access to accurate billing information, increasing trust and satisfaction​​.

[Source: DENmaar. (2023). From Paperwork to Profitability: How EHR Enhances Billing]

4. More Accurate Decision-making

AI algorithms can analyze large sets of patient data including medical images, vital signs, demographics, and health records to detect diseases earlier and support accurate diagnoses. Furthermore, the integration of blockchain technology in managing patient records can enhance data security and trust. As reported by the National Library of Medicine, artificial intelligence tools can process multiple data modalities to gain a more comprehensive profile of a patient’s health condition. By integrating information from images, bio-signals, and text, misdiagnosis risks are reduced.

Additionally, AI-powered clinical decision support systems provide real-time assistance to doctors, using algorithms to determine optimal courses of treatment based on medical history and other factors. These innovations in AI technology allow healthcare providers to make faster, personalized recommendations tailored to each unique patient. This leads to improved health outcomes across populations.

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Microsoft’s Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAXTM) Express, leveraging OpenAI’s GPT-4, is a breakthrough in improving medical documentation and decision-making. By automatically creating clinical notes, DAX Express reduces the administrative burden on healthcare providers, allowing them to spend more time with patients and make more accurate, informed decisions.

As research in areas like quantum AI and general AI continues, AI systems are expected to become even more intelligent and nuanced in diagnosing complex conditions quickly and accurately. However, challenges around bias, transparency, and privacy will need to be addressed thoughtfully as artificial intelligence takes on a growing role in critical healthcare decisions. Maintaining public trust and clinical safety remains paramount as these emerging technologies develop.

5. Faster Information Sharing

EHR systems enable faster sharing of patient information across care facilities. This continuity of health care data ensures providers have comprehensive medical history to coordinate care, detect emerging issues, and improve treatment quality.

EHR Systems and Information Exchange:

  • Facilitating Rapid Exchange of Information: EHR systems enable seamless communication between healthcare providers and billing departments. This integration ensures that all relevant information is accurately captured and billed. By automating tasks like coding and claim submission, EHR systems reduce the time and effort required for manual data entry, thus facilitating the rapid and efficient exchange of patient information among healthcare providers​​.
  • Challenges in EHR Implementation: While EHR systems offer significant benefits in terms of data sharing and information exchange, it’s important to acknowledge and address the challenges associated with EHR implementation. These include issues like data migration and the need for staff training. Managing these challenges is important to ensure a smooth transition and to fully realize the benefits of EHR systems in enhancing billing practices and information exchange​​.

Continuity and Quality of Care:

  • Ensuring Continuity of Patient Care Data: EHR systems contribute significantly to the continuity of patient care data. They provide a comprehensive and accessible record of a patient’s medical history, which is essential for ongoing treatment and care. This continuity aids healthcare providers in better diagnosing, planning treatments, and detecting potential health issues.
  • Impact on Diagnosis and Treatment Planning: The comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history provided by EHRs aids in more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning. By having a complete and easily accessible record, healthcare providers can make more informed decisions, potentially leading to better health outcomes for patients.

[Source: DENmaar. (2023). From Paperwork to Profitability: How EHR Enhances Billing]

6. Improved Public Health Research

Digital health data tools allow public health authorities to analyze population-level trends and make new discoveries. For example, artificial intelligence can process years of historical records to model disease outbreak likelihoods and inform targeted interventions by policymakers.

Case Studies and Success Stories:

  • Response to COVID-19: In countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, primary healthcare (PHC) practice rapidly transformed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by instituting telehealth and enabling change through electronic records. A scoping review by Ndayishimiye et al. (2023) highlighted the frequent employment of digital health tools for diverse functions, such as facilitating virtual healthcare, offering clinical assistance, overseeing care quality, tracing and monitoring coronavirus transmission, and managing the inventory of medicines and vaccines​​.
  • Empowering Patients through Telemonitoring: Studies suggest that telemonitoring data empowered patients to take a more proactive approach to their healthcare. In India, a digital health-enabled task-shifting intervention improved PHC service accessibility and met the community’s diverse healthcare needs. However, some studies, like those by Banks et al. and Casey et al., reported mixed results on the effectiveness of e-consultations in the UK, indicating the importance of contextual factors in digital health success​​.
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Telemedicine: During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine was widely adopted for services such as maternal and newborn healthcare. However, its optimal support was hindered by a lack of guidelines, training, adequate equipment, and reimbursement models. Technical problems, digital illiteracy, and other contextual factors affected the adoption and use of telemedicine, highlighting the need for comprehensive support systems for effective eHealth implementation​​.

[Source: Ndayishimiye et al. (2023).Digital Health Interventions to Improve Access to and Quality of Primary Health Care Services: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.]

The Future of Healthcare: Navigating Challenges and Opportunities

Implementation Challenges in Digital Healthcare

While the potential of digital health is significant, its implementation comes with several key challenges. Addressing these is essential for realizing the full benefits of digital healthcare innovations:

  • Bridging the Digital Divide: Inequities in access to digital technology are stark, particularly in underserved regions and among older populations. Tackling this divide is essential for ensuring equitable healthcare delivery. Initiatives may include expanding broadband access and tailoring technologies to meet diverse user needs.
  • Training and Adaptation: Transitioning from traditional to digital healthcare requires significant training for providers. Developing comprehensive training programs and resource allocation strategies are essential for a smooth transition and effective utilization of new tools.
  • Managing Implementation Costs: The initial investment in digital healthcare technologies, including technology acquisition, staff knowledge training, and future infrastructure upgrades, can be substantial. Strategic financial planning and seeking funding opportunities are key to managing these expenses.
  • Ensuring Cybersecurity and Data Privacy: Protecting sensitive health data against cyber threats is a major concern, necessitating robust security measures. Implementing state-of-the-art security protocols and regular staff training resources on data privacy practices are critical steps in safeguarding patient information.
  • Achieving Interoperability: The efficiency of different digital health systems to work together efficiently is vital. Efforts to standardize data formats and protocols are necessary to avoid fragmented care and operational inefficiencies.
  • Navigating Regulatory Compliance: The digital health landscape is governed by complicit, region-specific, regulations. Staying informed and compliant with these regulations is key for legal and ethical operations.

Understanding and addressing these challenges is essential for harnessing the power of digital health technologies effectively and securely.

Investing in Healthcare Technology

Nasdaq reports indicate that global investment in healthcare technology solutions reached $44.8 billion in 2021, with a decrease to $23 billion in 2022. This investment trend underscores how healthcare , a sector traditionally reliant on the human touch, is increasingly integrating digital technology into most businesses processes. Future investments in the sector are subject to various factors, including market conditions and technological advancements, and should not be assumed to continue at the same rate.

Developed countries face rapidly aging populations – by 2030 America sees 20% turn to retirement age for instance. Yet the over 65 demographic already drives over half of health expenditures, soaring costs as they comprise barely 30% of the populace currently. This dynamic strains existing systems. As the patient pool widens disproportionate to the working-age cohort able to provide services, technologies making care more accessible and affordable become ever more valuable.

Companies developing innovations in digitally-enabled, cost-effective care models and alternative delivery platforms thus attract intense investor interest. This demand driver and solution potential intersection underpins the meteoric capital inflow.

Translating the potential of digital health into scalable real-world applications is complex and uncertain, despite substantial funding. The sector is characterized by volatility and unpredictability. Investors should exercise caution and conduct thorough research, considering both the potential opportunities and inherent risks.

Look for Innovative Companies

When looking for innovative companies in the healthcare technology sector, several factors are crucial for assessing their potential. Conducting background research on the management’s vision and principles can provide insights into their commitment to long-term healthcare solutions rather than merely seeking quick financial returns. Additionally, examining the depth of the company’s product pipeline, and the progress timelines for their projects can serve as indicators of their ability to sustain competitiveness and drive ongoing innovation.

Furthermore, analyzing investment levels and observing the growth in their research budgets over time can suggest a strong focus on pushing the boundaries of current healthcare technologies and conceptual developments. These factors collectively offer a comprehensive view of a company’s innovation potential and strategic direction in the evolving landscape of healthcare technology.

Understand the Med-Tech Life Cycle

The progression of bringing a new medical technology from conceptual design to widespread patient deployment involves numerous complex steps:

  • Research & Development: Generating innovative concepts and designing prototypes can take years of iterative testing while also sustaining teams of specialists like engineers, clinicians and project managers
  • Clinical Trials: Rigorously proving product safety and efficacy via phased studies demands extensive resourcing and patient recruitment with no guarantee of success
  • Regulatory Approval: Gaining decisive marketing authorizations from oversight bodies like the FDA historically spans months for less complex devices to years for higher risk ones
  • Launch & Adoption: Securing payer coverage, physician endorsement and delivery infrastructure follow arduous approval in order to facilitate patient access and consistent use

The sequence spanning concept, prototypes, clinical trials, regulatory review, product launch and coverage decisions is typically lengthy but necessary to prove efficacy and safety in an acutely risk averse industry.

Setbacks at any stage for unforeseen reasons can disrupt financing, commercial prospects and long term value. Recognizing inherent risks across this trajectory including higher initial capital demands is important.

Keep an Eye on Regulators

Healthcare technologies operate within a complex regulatory environment seeking to balance innovation with patient safety and ethical norms. As new products emerge, policies and standards evolve across areas like:

  • Privacy & Security: Health data sensitivity draws intensifying oversight into company cybersecurity infrastructure, internal controls and transparency protocols to safeguard patient consent.
  • Evidence Thresholds: Heightened efficacy and safety expectations for approval shape digital therapeutic pilot parameters, clinical trial lengths and commercial positioning.
  • Ethics Governance: External councils and internal corporate boards increasingly monitor issues like algorithmic bias, equitable access and appropriate use to uphold public trust.
  • Interoperability: Cross-platform data integration capacity allows technologies to complement rather than compete. Yet cooperation on common standards progresses gradually.

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As investors assess healthcare technology leaders, monitoring regulatory movements on these fronts may impact adoption trajectories and necessary compliance investments. While regulation rightly protects patients, it can also pose financial risks if misinterpreted or left unconsidered by management teams. Understanding this complex landscape equips investors to evaluate how companies balance responsibility and growth prospects.

Know The Risks When Investing in Pre-IPO Stock

Getting in early by buying shares of private healthcare technology companies pre-IPO holds financial upside potential. However, such investments carry amplified risks, Notably, firms may fail to meet public market timelines or achieve expected milestones. Investing in pre-IPO healthcare technology stocks involves considerable risks. These investments are speculative and may result in extended holding periods or potential loss of capital. Prospective investors should be aware that there is no guarantee of a favorable outcome and should evaluate the risks thoroughly before investing.Understanding the comprehensive process of preparing and executing an IPO enables assessing corporate readiness across areas like financial reporting, market conditions, share class structure, and even leadership experience.

Thorough evaluation of private healthcare technology firms across business fundamentals, growth trajectory and leadership prior to investing allows educated early stage participation. Equally key is planning exit strategies tied to projected liquidity catalysts like a prospective IPO date.

While pre-IPO healthcare technologies may show conceptual promise, many unknowns persist:

  • Clinical Trial Risks: Promising products may be early or mid-trial with risk of safety or efficacy setbacks jeopardizing valuations and public offering potential
  • Regulatory Timelines: Navigating entities like the FDA bears uncertainty. Approval delays can drain financing runners’ pre-revenue.
  • Reimbursement Rates: Securing favorable coverage and payment levels for new technologies post-launch enables adoption but proves challenging to forecast.
  • Leadership Transitions: A startup founder’s skills may not suit scaling production or public markets stewardship as growth shifts business needs.

While pre-IPO participation allows early access to potentially disruptive healthcare technologies, appreciating the heightened risks across scientific, regulatory and commercialization dimensions seems imperative for investors. Thoughtful analysis of leadership vision, progress achieving key milestones, and planning for value realization years in advance represents wise practice when deploying capital into private investment opportunities.

Keeping patient benefit motives aligned with financial gain also merits consideration in healthcare technology speculation. Ultimately, a balanced portfolio approach helps curb risks while still capturing upside from backing innovation at the right moment.

Diversify Across Sectors and Asset Classes

With healthcare technology itself spanning various subsectors – medical devices, digital health, diagnostics, genomics – product cycles, regulatory paths and risk profiles diverge. Concentrating investment exposure in one narrow vertical amplifies volatility risks.

Complementing healthcare technology holdings with investments in sectors like financial services, consumer staples or utilities can smooth out returns. Allocating across public and private markets also allows capitalizing on opportunities tied to the stage of innovation commercialization.

Maintaining an appropriate balance of equities, fixed income and asset classes like commodities and real estate further enables enduring portfolio stability across market cycles. Embracing diversification principles stands to mitigate risks while still capturing growth from high potential areas like healthcare technology.

The transformative influence of digital technology on the healthcare industry is undeniable. From telehealth services to AI-driven diagnostics, these advancements are significantly evolving the sector. They are reshaping patient care, streamlining efficiency, and paving the way for new research avenues. While this evolution in the healthcare sector may present opportunities for investors and stakeholders, it’s important to recognize the associated risks. Investments in this sector should be approached with caution, and prospective investors should consider both the benefits and challenges, including market fluctuations and the speculative nature of emerging technologies.

Embracing this opportunity demands more than just recognizing the technological innovations driving these changes; it requires a comprehensive understanding of the complexities inherent in the healthcare technology landscape. A strategic approach to investment, focusing on diversification across sectors and a careful assessment of regulatory environments, is indispensable.

Investors must combine insightful investment decisions with a deep comprehension of technological advancements and their implications. This approach enables meaningful contributions to the growth of this vital sector, potentially yielding significant benefits. Investing in healthcare technology means not just seeking financial returns but also contributing to a significant shift reshaping a fundamental industry in society. This shift not only promises a healthier future but also the potential for robust economic growth in a sector at the forefront of innovation and societal well-being.

This material, provided by Linqto, is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice or any form of professional guidance. Before making any investment decision, especially in the dynamic field of private markets, it is recommended that you seek advice from professional advisors. The information contained herein does not imply endorsement of any third parties or investment opportunities mentioned. Our market views and investment insights are subject to change and may not always reflect the most current developments. No assumption should be made regarding the profitability of any securities, sectors, or markets discussed. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and investing in private markets involves unique risks, including the potential for loss. Historical and hypothetical performance figures are provided to illustrate possible market behaviors and should not be relied upon as predictions of future performance.


Sunita Arnold

Sunita Arnold

As Director of Content Strategy at Linqto, Sunita deftly merges creative and strategic planning. Guiding a talented team, she aligns content with marketing objectives to deliver compelling, brand-consistent materials. Her diverse 15+ year career spans fintech, healthcare, and public relations, with highlights including managing investor relations for an alternate investment platform, steering business development in a leading PR firm's sports and entertainment sectors, and overseeing operations for a wealth management data service. Her past achievements include significantly contributing to the growth and efficiency of a top global fund administrator. Keeping pace with industry trends, Sunita applies her strategic acumen and market insight to advance Linqto's content strategy.