What Trends Are Shaping Healthcare In 2019? 27 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 30 June 2019
  • Sam Mire

We revere doctors and nurses for good reason. They not only do a difficult, life-consuming, and invaluable job, but we would fall apart as a society without them. So, don't you want to know what they're up to?

These industry insiders have studied noteworthy trends in healthcare closely, and they've shared those insights with us. Here's what they have to say:

1. Dr. Michael Rivers, Director of EMA Ophthalmology at Modernizing Medicine

“Consolidation is having a sweeping effect across all areas of healthcare, from health system mergers to aggregation of specialty practices. While proponents argue consolidation streamlines care delivery and provides patients with access to a larger pool of in-network providers, critics worry that limited competition may negatively impact total cost of care and dehumanize the patient experience. One challenge experts agree on: interoperability of electronic medical records (EMRs) needs to improve. As consolidated entities need to seamlessly share patient health records across disparate EMR platforms, this will put added pressure on the industry to speed the transition to improved accessibility with the true goal of helping to improve patient outcomes.”

2. April Koh, co-founder and CEO of Spring Health

“Consumer demand for greater transparency across price, clinical rigor, and expected outcomes. Patients are now better informed, asking more questions and demanding more transparency. As part of this demand for greater transparency, the rigorous clinical validation of solutions will become increasingly important as it serves as a promise for what clients can expect, a guarantee to some minimum clinical and ethical standards for practice, and mechanisms to mitigate the emergence of suboptimal solutions.”

3. Kaveh Safavi, Global Head of Healthcare at Accenture

“The consumerization of healthcare is redefining how consumers engage with their care. This explains why younger generations are increasingly unsatisfied with the conventional aspects of healthcare and are looking to non-traditional methods for faster, more convenient, transparent and efficient care. They expect personalization and instant gratification and healthcare organizations need to invest in digital services to meet these demands. An Accenture found that nearly one third of respondents say they have used some form of virtual care, up from just a fifth in 2017, and those who have not used non-traditional care services are mostly willing to do so.”

4. Dr. Janelle Luk, Medical Director and co-founder of Generation Next Fertility

“As life expectancy and retirement age increases, it is becoming more common to delay parenthood. With this trend, the demand for fertility treatment is increasing and there has been a push to make it more accessible to the general population. In New York, a law is expected to be enacted in 2020 to mandate coverage of in-vitro fertilization for specific large-group insurance plans and to mandate egg freezing for all private insurance companies. As society places greater emphasis on the quality of life and technological advancements are made to support such standards, policy changes are also reflecting these trends.”

5. João Bocas, Wearables Expert at Digital Salutem

“Well, there are many trends happening right now associated with the healthcare industry. I can mention augmented reality and virtual reality, blockchain technology in Healthcare, RPA ( Robotic Process Automation ) in Healthcare which I believe will be very big in the future as for now it is only used as a partial solution. I can also mention AI ( artificial intelligence) which is very popular in all innovation conversation in healthcare, as it displays true potential and unlimited capabilities to enhance the healthcare delivery of the future. However that trend that I am really excited about is the use of Wearables Technologies in healthcare, we are now seeing a fundamental shift. For example, emerging countries are more inclined than developed markets in owing or using wearables.

And consumers are receptive, particularly those in emerging markets where access to quality care is a prevailing concern. For example, a recent study, which surveys over 24.000 consumers in 29 territories, found that emerging countries are more inclined to using wearables as I mentioned previously.”

6. Zayna Khayat, Future Strategist at SE Health

“-Patient revolution – they increasingly will have the data, the information, the means of production, and are emboldened by a consumer-like set of expectations around how they want to experience their healthcare

-We’re out of money! When the business model is no longer working, the only option is to rebase. Scarcity is a good time to innovate.

-Technology – there is now technology available to break constraints that previously were unassailable. Constraints around time, distance, space, labor, and knowledge. And the emerging technologies in healthcare are almost all software-based, which means they enable scale at an exponential pace, not linear (like past technologies have been).”

7. Melanie Matheu, founder and CEO of Prellis Biologics

Melanie Matheu“The adoption of software in the form of AI, hardware innovations, and the wave of tissue engineering spawned by the stem-cell revolution that is now bearing tractable advances in cell-based medical interventions will continue to gain significant momentum as we move towards distributed patient-focused medical care.”

8. Michael DePalma, co-founder of Hu-manity

Michael DePalma“While new technologies, capabilities and therapies will continue to become available (as they always have), meaningful changes in the economics, dynamics and delivery of value will evolve drastically through the ability of individual patients to be involved in aspects of their own care like never before. A truly patient-centric model enables patients to be at the center of their own care. It enables them to make informed decisions about the care they seek, the services available to them, the economics of this care, the transparency of the healthcare system that services them, their ability to make informed decisions about their data, the privacy of that data, and should they desire, their ability to work with researchers in a trusted and transparent manner. In this environment, both the patient and researcher will receive value beyond the therapy in question.”

9. Jeff Robbins, CEO and President of LiveData

“Creating actionable data. Hospitals and healthcare systems are surmounting
the challenges of creating actionable data from SoR, and creating the opportunity to analyze performance and institute improvements. These improvements are embodied in Systems of Engagement (SoE), which are built around patients and care processes. Providers can analyze trends, create target metrics, and predict future change over time based on past progress.”

10. Christina D. Warner, Author of The Art of Healthcare Innovation

“There are several trends shaping healthcare this year. First is (and this is a bit of a buzzword), AI and ML in drug discovery and research.

Second is alternative forms of the patient-provider experience, such as telemedicine, or using texts/chats/ and videos to communicatewith your providers and caregivers.

Third is genomics and big data, which can also tie into blockchain and
patient safety.”

11. Mike Kisch, co-founder and CEO of Beddr

“With the explosion of wearable technology solutions in multiple different industries like sleep, fitness, and nutrition, it’s evident that this trend will not slow down any time soon. People are interested in pursuing their own health journey, and learning what their data means is a critical piece to the puzzle. Consumers will help create the shift of the next step in healthcare technology which is taken these data-driven health insights and developing personalized solutions to their health issues. Individuals are focusing more on preventative care instead of treating something as it comes up and the technology on the market today gives them the chance to find their own solutions.

As more remote or portable options become more available and used in tandem with medical professionals, it will increase access and provide deeper insights for both doctor and patient alike to learn how this individualized approach will benefit the broader medical community. Patients are learning that health problems which have ailed them for years can be addressed by looking at something as simple as sleep. Instead of seeking medicine or alternative therapies, we’re focused on how people can make small changes in their lives to make the maximum impact.”

12. Waqaas Al-Siddiq, CEO of Biotricity

“A few trends that are shaping healthcare this year include health coaching and persuasive technology to drive patient compliance and better health outcomes. The combination of sophisticated medical grade wearables with targeted health coaching practices can significantly improve chronic disease outcomes. When physicians can harness information related to patients' daily habits such as dietary intake, moods, and exercise data, they can leverage a comprehensive tool-kit to better make diagnoses, prescribe a course of treatment or care plan, and address patient adherence issues. More importantly, health coaching and persuasive technology can help chronic disease patients transform short-term changes into long-term habits.”

13. Michael Demetriou, founder and CEO of Opear

“Consumers are beginning to think about healthcare as a choose your own
adventure story. Instead of having one primary care physician, a patient may use a house call app for the flu, visit an urgent care center for a sprain, and head to an acupuncturist for migraines. While traditional practices aren't going away, patients are building a network that works for them instead of settling for a one-size-fits-all experience.”

14. Marissa Fayer, Owner of Health Equity for Women

“The expansion of global health is working to shape the healthcare industry into one large market. The gap between the US, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the developing world is starting to close. Digital health and the focus on global health detection and prevention are creating innovative solutions “to complex problems. Small companies are developing innovation at a faster pace than the large conglomerates and are creating competition where it used to not exist. These are trends that will continue for the next few years and we continue to become even more connected and aware of the rest of the world.”

15. Shawn Kernes, Co-Founder and CEO of LARKR On-Demand Behavioral Health 

“The use of telehealth is rapidly expanding throughout the healthcare industry, which has already helped increase people’s access to care, especially in traditionally overlooked rural and mountainous areas. This trend will continue to tick upward in 2019, as fast-speed internet and mobile technologies become more widely available. Many U.S. clinics, physicians, and therapists have already started seeing patients online via phones and Web cams. This online care model will continue to receive wider implementation in the year ahead.”

16. Anthony Fernando, Chief Operating Officer and CTO  at TransEnterix

“Two key trends that are shaping healthcare in 2019 include the integration of artificial and augmented intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) into surgical planning and execution in the operating room (OR). Imaged-based analytics and AI are poised to revolutionize the OR.

Empowering the surgical environment with routine task augmentation/automation to reduce fatigue for the surgeon and the surgicalteam will lead to improved patient outcomes, reduce surgical variability and address current workforce challenges.”

17. Lauren Prentiss, Strategy Director at Captains of Industry

“Decentralization is a big one. As healthcare continues to move outside hospital walls, into the cloud, into wearable technologies, into patients’ homes and everyday lives, hospitals’ roles and delivery models will require adaptation in order to serve their key customers. The Hospital at Home [HaH] model is becoming more widely adopted and refined, proving there’s not only stronger patient outcomes possible, but positive economic outcomes too. Medically Home and Seniorlink are good examples of two different businesses that have tapped into the demographic shifts, harnessed technologic breakthroughs and are actively challenging how caregiving is defined and delivered.”

18. Adam K. Anderson, Chief Scientific Officer of Neuronytics

“The rise of technology and AI are the main trends in healthcare in 2019. Upcoming technologies will transform the healthcare industry – for the better.. AI will give us better opportunity to monitor, understand and predict health outcomes. AI and blockchain also provide opportunities to better control patient medical data and give patients the opportunity to own and learn from their own data, creating a more accessible flow of information and putting profits into the hands of the patient.”

19. Mark Chataway, Principal Consultant at Hyderus

Distraction by silly headlines. For example, there was a lot of hysterical hand-wringing about Zolgensma, “the world’s most expensive medicine” but, in fact, it costs 50% less than conventional treatment over the first 10 years (and gives much better quality of life). Health systems only have to pay when it works and they can delay that payment until the savings on hospitalisations and specialist time are realised. After 10 years, all the benefits come at no incremental cost.

On the positive side, we’re seeing that death by affluence only seems to happen for a period after societies become richer: obesity has probably peaked in the West. Trends like vegan diets could see dramatic reductions in cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Let’s hope South and East Asia can cut the time needed to get to this point.

In China and across Europe, there is rising popular discontent and pressure because of  pollution and other environmental causes of disease and early death.”

20. Roeland Pater, founder and CEO of Nori Health

“Personalization is key, because of the unstoppable growth of chronic diseases particularly. Over half of all adults already have a chronic condition – and every individual responds differently to treatment, needs custom lifestyle adjustments, and so on. Also, only a very small percentage of healthcare cost is being spend on prevention, this will change. It needs to in order to stop this negative spiral. Digital health tools can help to raise awareness and prevent certain diseases from occurring even more.”

21. Khang Vuong, Founder and CEO of TalktoMira

“- Drastic shift in payment model: with the recent announcements from the U.S. Department of Health, payment to providers (hospitals and physicians) will move from a quantity-based to an outcome-based model. This causes many providers to take on a higher risk than ever before (any where from 2% to 10% downside on the bottomline)

– Slow down of VC funding: as we enter the Q2 of 2019, we saw significant slow down in the total funding for startups in this space. With that being said, there were 3 mega deals: CloverHealth ($500M), Doctolib ($170M), and Hims ($100M) – and these three startups aim to keep people out of the hospitals – evidence of decentralization.”

22. Terrence Ryan, CEO of HealthChampion 

“ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. ACOs are important to today’s healthcare landscape as they ensure patients are getting the care they need at the right time, avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it will share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.”

23. Matt Fairhurst, CEO and co-founder of Skedulo

“There is a growing focus on patient experience, from finding a care provider to transferring records and ensuring continuity with a specialist.To stand out, caregivers will need to connect with patients on an emotional and psychological level, which will mean that providers will need to dedicate more time and energy to the actual patient session, rather than the operational process of paperwork and managing EMR/EHR systems.”

24. Patrick Gauthier, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Advocates for Human Potential

“2019 is a year of trepidation and uncertainty. The investments made since the ACA was enacted are under the knife yet again and it is difficult to know if those gains will survive until 2020. Healthcare continues to merge into larger and more integrated systems. This degree of integration requires mastery of Big Data. Hence, the demand on analytics and analysts is very high. What's coming into clearer view is the need for stronger predictive modeling and better clinical pathways that help shepherd people to the most appropriate care and social services. Lastly, the use of social determinant of health (SDOH) data to inform diagnostics and treatment plans is among the most exciting trends.”

25. Ted Chan, CEO of CareDash

“The trend I am most excited in healthcare about is the potential of voice to enable AI/analytics drive efficiency in care, as well as improve the patient experience but reducing data entry requirements for a physician. Voice technology can capture data for real-time and future analytics with less time spent staring at the EMR. Complex information requests like locating a specialist or status update. Voice has the potential to make physicians and staff more efficient, and help deliver better and more personal care for the patient.”

26. Brent Wilkinson, CEO of Zillion

“Personalization will become even more precise, with wellbeing programs that take individuals' data and present care, coaching, and health and wellbeing recommendations that precisely addresses their set of conditions and their lifestyle. Instead of offering a canned set of content that fits a broad solution to a health symptom, it is important to understand the individual and their specific motivations, with solutions that are particular to their lifestyle in small, manageable steps.”

27. Neil J. Gajjar, DDS, MAGD, President at the Academy of General Dentistry 

“We are seeing do-it-yourself dentistry emerging as a method to achieve cosmetic results and to prevent diseases. This is like trying to wire a new electrical socket in your home, there is a lot that can go wrong if not overseen by a licensed professional. We urge all patients to work with their dentists to coordinate their oral care by determining what services they need, how long, and for what reasons. Dentists continuously learn new techniques and procedures, giving patients more cost effective and quicker options, but new does not always mean better, and trends are not always the safer.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.