Trends in healthcare transformation and the outlook for 2030 

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a shift in consumer preferences and care-delivery innovation, and health systems now transforming their relationship with consumers, what trends and innovations will stand out as the key to continued healthcare transformation, now and in the future?  

Healthcare no longer runs in silos, where providers, insurers, manufacturers, and patients operate independently from each other. Instead, today's healthcare ecosystem is digital, where care is delivered at scale and pace, with technology, innovation, and consumer preferences as the main drivers towards more efficient and better-quality care. However, change does not come without collaboration from the healthcare leaders, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and patients that work together to help reshape the sector.  

Driving transformation in healthcare: a global objective

According to the World Economic Forum, the healthcare industry has seen a massive wave of investment, innovation and new entrants from the technology, telecom, and consumer industries. In 2021 alone, US$44 billion was raised globally in health innovation, twice as much as in 2020, and the acquisition of health and health tech companies rose 50%.  

Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos, industry leaders to reflect on the biggest trends in healthcare and their outlook for the future. Here are some of the outcomes of these discussions:  

  • Bioconvergence, where data and digital are rapidly merging with the latest drug discovery, engineering, and biotech techniques, will help unlock the potential of personalised medicine.  
  • Transformation can be achieved through deep partnerships with aligned objectives between governments, providers, payers and technology companies.  
  • The shift towards new models of care that involve acting earlier to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and harness transformative innovations to improve patient outcomes.  
  • Creating lasting solutions requires an intentional focus on evolving equity-informed technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced computing and hyper-personalisation will transform healthcare in ways we are still imagining.  
  • The growing recognition that health equity, the opportunity for everyone to achieve their full health and wellbeing, should be a core part of ESG. Developing ESG frameworks and measurements is becoming critical. 

Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan Healthcare has outlined three key topics driving healthcare transformation:  

  • Capital remains available 

Between inflation, global events and the influence of recent rate hikes, there’s plenty of uncertainty in the market. But capital remains available, with an increased focus on cost and structure.  

  • Innovation requires flexibility 

The pandemic forced the healthcare industry to innovate overnight. However, continuing to foster that innovation requires a move away from rigidity.  

  • Investors want to back experienced entrepreneurs 

Patients and consumers can access more digital tools and healthcare resources than ever. Investors are open and available for opportunities, looking for experienced CEOs and entrepreneurs who can weather a downturn and pivot in an uncertain market. 

The role of digital transformation

The impact of digital transformation is being felt across all aspects of healthcare. Digital transformation in healthcare utilises technologies such as telemedicine, AI-enabled medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records to drive change and enable more accessible care, streamlining physicians’ work, optimising systems, improving patient outcomes, reducing human error, and lowering costs. 

Driven by the increasing need for innovative solutions in healthcare, Research and Markets has highlighted that the global digital transformation market size is expected to reach US$3,810.05 billion by 2030, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.1% between 2022 to 2030. Supporting these predictions, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that connected devices and advanced networks in healthcare could generate US$250 billion to US$420 billion in global GDP by 2030.  

According to a report titled Healthcare in the Metaverse from Market Research Future, the healthcare metaverse market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 48.3% until 2030, with the industry’s value expected to top US$5.37 billion. The Metaverse is expected to disrupt healthcare and open new channels of treatment while lowering costs and improving customer outcomes.  

According to Digital Authority Partners, there are five key digital transformation trends in healthcare in 2022:  

On-demand healthcare  

The healthcare industry is entering the era of digital innovation, as patients seek on-demand healthcare because of their busy schedules. Patients are going online or ‘mobile’ to obtain medical information to research doctors or hospitals and medical facilities and to book medical appointments.  

Big data in healthcare

For the healthcare industry, big data can provide several important benefits, including a lower rate of medication errors, facilitating preventive care, could help hospitals and clinics estimate future admission rates and helps these facilities allocate the proper staff to deal with patients. This saves money and reduces emergency room wait times when a facility is understaffed.  

Virtual reality (VR)

The global virtual and augmented reality in the healthcare market is expected to reach US$5.1 billion by 2025, with VR proving to be game-changing in its uses, including pain management, rehabilitation, educating medical professionals, and planning complicated surgeries.  

Wearable medical devices 

Not only can patients focus on the prevention and maintenance of their health, but healthcare companies who invest in these products can personalise the healthcare experience, provide insurance incentives and offer gamification opportunities.   

Blockchain

In healthcare, blockchain is proven to be an effective tool in preventing data breaches, improving the accuracy of medical records, and cutting costs.  

The Middle East: Leading the charge for healthcare transformation

The United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi has launched a 10-year digital transformation strategy intending to provide insights-driven and value-based care to deliver cutting-edge preventive, pervasive and personalised medicine to the nation.  

Having already implemented a health information exchange called ‘Malaffi’, the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi is looking to consolidate healthcare data further, apply AI analytics to get advanced insights for decision-making and create an integrated platform that serves the entire sector, enabling an environment that spurs the development of innovative digital tools.  

Saudi Arabia  

In Saudi Arabia, innovative healthcare is being applied to increase healthcare efficiency and improve outcomes. Starting with its Vision 2030 healthcare transformation, where e-health efforts focused on digitising provider and national solutions in the form of electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical workflow management systems, today, the Kingdom has expanded its digital offerings to include consumer-centric solutions, specifically virtual care.  

An example of this future direction is the recent partnership between The Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence and healthcare management solution provider Lean to explore the development of AI-powered solutions to build a smarter healthcare system in Saudi Arabia. 

Kuwait 

Kuwait's 2035 vision aims to strengthen investment in high-quality healthcare to increase efficiency and use innovative technology. Digital health transformation is a cornerstone and pillar of this vision. The Ministry of Health is introducing a new EHR system all over the country, e-prescribing and training surgeons to use the Da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system.  The surgical team at Kuwait’s Jaber Hospital has conducted more than 100 procedures using surgical robots. The robots were used for obesity operations, colon and abdominal wall surgeries, complex "hernia", and cholecystectomy.  

Egypt 

In recent years, Egypt has launched a series of reforms to support start-ups and spur private investments in healthcare. The Covid-19 pandemic has also catalysed innovation and growth, particularly with the successful launch of telemedicine initiatives. According to Health 2.0 Egypt, a non-profit group that promotes innovation in medicine, there are now about 100 healthcare start-ups in Egypt. For example, Bypass is a start-up that has created a cloud-based system for medical records, while 7keema runs an app that provides home-based nursing care. 

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