What is HealthTech?
As technology continues to revolutionise all industries, healthcare is certainly no exception. Over the years, we have seen the continued development of technology within the healthcare sector, with the help of specialised external software development companies, helping to improve the industry and save lives in incredible ways. The advancement in this area has led to the term ‘HealthTech ’— an umbrella term that includes any tech or offering within the healthcare sector.
The World Health Organisation defines health technology (often abbreviated as HealthTech) as the “application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life.”
While the HealthTech sector has progressed steadily year upon year, the Covid-19 pandemic served as a significant catalyst in the development and adoption of technology and innovative software within healthcare. With an expected CAGR of almost 25 percent from 2019 to 2025, the market is projected to reach nearly US$660 billion by 2025.
Examples of HealthTech
The HealthTech market covers a wide range of areas and applications, with revolutionary developments being made every day. Some examples of HealthTech include:
Wearable Devices: Also known as wearables, this is a subsector of HealthTech that refers to technology that can be worn to monitor your health in a myriad of ways. From smartwatches like that from Apple that can monitor your heart rate and sleeping patterns, to smart bracelets like Ava Women that help women to naturally track their menstrual cycles — it’s a growing industry expected to balloon to $37.4 billion by 2028.
3D Printing: Another incredible bit of HealthTech comes in the form of 3D printing. Today, the pioneering technology is used in numerous ways throughout hospitals and other healthcare settings. Just two examples include the use of the technology to print materials such as bandages, stents, casts, various surgical tools, and 3D printing to make prosthetics.
IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare has proved to be invaluable in the improvement of improving the lives of patients. From monitoring data collected by wearable devices to help to keep a close eye on elderly patients living alone — thanks to the advancement of IoT, healthcare costs have been significantly reduced and treatment outcomes majorly improved.
Robotics and AI: No longer just a thing of science fiction, robotics and AI is having colossal impacts on healthcare. From AI helping to detect diseases such as Cancer faster and more accurately, to robotics being used in surgery, offering greater reach, flexibility and precision — healthcare organisations everywhere are adopting robotic technologies and AI to manage their operations in a variety of areas.
What are the benefits of HealthTech?
So, now you have more of an idea of what HealthTech is along with some examples of the incredible ways the technology is revolutionising the industry, let’s take a look at the benefits.
Improved quality of care
The use of technology in healthcare is ultimately improving the overall quality of patient care through a myriad of ways. Just some examples include:
- Reducing medical errors
- Enhancing research and development processes
- Increasing patients’ safety
- Disease prevention
- Providing remote patient support
- Recognising illnesses more efficiently
- Providing valuable health data
- Improving communication between patient and provider
The benefit of much higher efficiency due to HealthTech cannot be argued with, from predictive analytics leading to declining patient waiting times, optimising administrative and operational models, and ultra-precise robots leaving no room for error in surgical operations.
HealthTech such as AI-driven tools are allowing healthcare settings to do more with less. Some examples include relieving staff of labour-intensive, manual tasks; helping to reduce burnout among a highly-pressured work force; and helping focus valuable human time on those tasks of highest value.
When thinking about HealthTech, it’s easy to assume how expensive the devices and systems must be to develop. However, in the long run, there is no doubt that technology within healthcare settings will help to reduce medical costs due to reasons including the automation of administrative tasks and lowering staffing costs.
Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, HealthTech has totally enabled a much more flexible way of caring for patients. Examples of this include virtual consultations and patient portals allowing for a much more accessible format of communicating with healthcare professionals, and wearable technology such as heart monitors enabling patients to better get on with their daily lives whilst ensuring a good level of care.
It’s no secret that the NHS is under immense pressure to keep up with the demands of the population. Despite healthcare professionals working tirelessly to provide quality care, the backlogged system is leading to long waiting times and health conditions not being detected early enough. HealthTech is helping to relieve at least some of this pressure. For example, the use of wearable technology for personal diagnostics is helping to detect potential health issues early, sometimes mitigating the need for surgery.
Following the above is the benefit of HealthTech such as wearables enabling consumers to take control of their own health. Wearable technologies can prevent, reduce, or delay the worsening of chronic conditions through real-time monitoring. By utilising wearable devices, symptoms can be picked up earlier and patients can monitor their own health, capturing data to aid health professionals in their treatment and prevention plans.
As patients become more comfortable with technology, results continue to prove technology’s value, and lowered costs increase its accessibility to the broader population, it’s clear that HealthTech will continue to prosper. The incredible thing is that despite the already-proven applications of HealthTech, the industry is still pretty young. As technology continues to evolve and innovate, we will be sure to expect the healthcare industry and patient care to reach new levels of quality and efficiency — at a time it’s needed the most.
Rocketmakers: Experts in HealthTech
Our ultimate goal as an award-winning software agency is to have a positive impact on the lives of 50 million people through the software that we build, so it's perhaps no surprise that many of the projects we've worked on have focused on improving physical and mental health through leading software solutions. Take a look at some of our leading work in HealthTech and, if you're interested in talking to us, please do get in touch!
Main image by Luke Chesser, sourced on Unsplash.