10 Healthtech Trends to Look into in 2024

Photo of Przemysław Turkowski

Przemysław Turkowski

Updated Mar 4, 2024 • 13 min read
Man using tablet pc against sterile bedroom.

The healthcare industry has transformed over the past two decades, thanks to the technological revolution.

However, the way I see it, the focus has shifted from mere adaptation to a more dynamic approach – digital acceleration.

In a world where every business is digital, speed is paramount to staying ahead of major tech trends. This shift requires healthcare systems and professionals to embrace continuous discovery and swiftly adapt to new opportunities.

This is why I want to explore the top ten healthcare technology trends that will be shaping the healthcare industry in 2024.

1) AI-based chatbots

Artificial intelligence-based chatbots, utilizing natural language processing, I believe have emerged as valuable assets for digital health companies. These bots enhance both patient engagement and healthcare professional experiences by providing information, reducing costs, and serving as health advisors. They excel at managing routine tasks, allowing medical professionals to focus on more intricate care tasks. A recent study reported a growing reliance on artificial intelligence chatbots in the industry, with nearly 20 percent of healthcare workers utilizing such technology.

As noted by Hamish Grierson, Co-Founder and CEO of Thriva, “We've seen nothing short of a revolution in the way we're able to augment the capabilities of a physician using artificial intelligence.” As well as supported by Maneesh Juneja, Founder of MJ Analytics, who said: “Whether for symptom checking or for providing mental health support, chatbots are forcing us to consider new on-demand models of care, in an era where it can take a long time to see a human healthcare professional.”

Some of the most successful use cases that I found include Novo Nordisk Pharma GmbH’s chatbot Sophia and Pfizer Inc.’s chatbot Fabis. These digital tools answer questions related to ingestion procedures, product availability, and more, showcasing the versatility and impact of AI-based chatbots in healthcare.

2) Real world data and real world evidence

Another trend I think will play a pivotal role for healthcare organizations in 2024 is Real World Data (RWD) and Real World Evidence (RWE). Unlike data from clinical trials, RWD captures patient health status information from real-world scenarios, enabling personalized patient care and a more comprehensive understanding of patient experiences. Leaders in the pharmaceutical industry emphasize the potential of RWE in patient-centered product development, highlighting the need for collaboration to improve the health systems' information infrastructure.

I think it’s important also to keep in mind what Karin Van Baelen, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, said: ‘’Realizing the potential of RWE will require collaboration across all stakeholders to deliver improved health information infrastructure and a regulatory regime that facilitates iterative scientific dialogue on evidence generation plans for faster, better decision making.’’

For this trend, I have found some examples that eloquently use RWE such as Pear Therapeutics Inc.'s assessment of patients with opioid use disorder and Merck KGaA's study on the long-lasting benefits of multiple sclerosis medicines. Moreover, collaborative projects like OPTIMA aim to deliver an interoperable, EU-privacy-compliant platform for RWD in oncology.

3) AI-/ML-based medical diagnostic devices

I believe that the integration of AI and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies into medical diagnostic devices is revolutionizing healthcare. These technologies can be applied to processes like MRI scans, can accelerate diagnostic procedures, and offer valuable insights.

As of October 19, 2023, the FDA has reviewed a growing number of AI/ML-enabled devices across various medical fields, with a notable forecast of a 30%+ increase in AI/ML-enabled devices compared to 2022, based on projected volume for 2023.

In particular, Radiology dominates the submissions, experiencing a steady increase, with 79% of authorized devices in 2023 falling within this specialty.

Some fascinating examples of virtual reality technology I have encountered include Meta AI and NYU Langone Hospitals leveraging AI to generate essential data 10 times faster than conventional methods. Additionally, various researchers across US universities are working on a new AI algorithm that enables predictions like assessing patients' pain levels or predicting the mortality of heart disease patients based on medical images or echocardiographic videos. Lastly, Healthy Networks OÜ, an Estonian company, has developed an AI-powered stethoscope paired with an app, enabling users to monitor and detect cardiac or respiratory diseases.

4) Digital twins in life science

Digital twins are becoming one of the big healthcare technology trends in the industry this year. The idea of digital twins is to create virtual replicas of body parts for personalized medical simulations.

Markus Gershater, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Synthace, supports the importance of digital twins by saying: “I think a lot of people can see the potential of digital twins… that possibility for us to be running better and more informative experiments that are transferable, from experiment to experiment and from experiment into the clinic.”

Speaking of examples which I have found successful for the trend, in the forefront is the "Living Heart Project.” The Dassault Systèmes team employed digital twins to test medical products and conduct virtual surgeries, predicting treatment outcomes and reducing the need for animal testing.

5) Big data in healthcare

Another big focus I believe we will encounter in 2024 is big data. This trend has transformative potential in evolving the drug discovery process and addressing the complexities of healthcare.

The digitization of healthcare has resulted in an unprecedented surge in clinical data, with sources like EHRs, other medical records, imaging, and wearable devices generating vast volumes. Genomic sequencing alone produces 500 gigabytes to 2 terabytes per person, contributing to an estimated 2.5 exabytes of global healthcare data annually by 2025. Projections suggest that by 2030, healthcare data will exceed 75 exabytes annually.

Furthermore, collaborations between pharma giants and AI drug discovery companies, like IKTOS-Pfizer and Recursion Pharmaceuticals-Roche Holding AG, showcase a different way to leverage the integration of big data analytics in the industry. As well as projects like MELLODY, which aim to create a machine learning platform with over a billion drug development data points, contributing to more informed decision-making in the healthcare sector.

6) Industry 5.0

Industry 5.0 builds upon technological foundations, incorporating IoT, cloud computing, AI, big data, RPA, blockchain, and digital twins – this is one of the big reasons why I think this trend makes the list.

Unlike its predecessor, Industry 5.0 prioritizes human-centricity, resilience, and sustainability, emphasizing responsible innovation that benefits both profit and society. Most importantly, sustainable manufacturing, a key component of Industry 5.0, contributes to a more resilient industry against external shocks.

Some examples of successful implementation of this trend have already been seen. With product lifecycles shortening, Siemens AG, Merck KGaA, and Evonik Industries AG are jointly prioritizing modular production to enhance flexibility and reduce CO2 emissions. On the other hand, by the close of 2021, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG had inaugurated a new tablet factory, embracing smart factory principles as a significant move toward sustainability.

7) Wearable tech of the future

We all know that there has been widespread adoption of digital wearables used by healthcare providers and professionals for monitoring vital signs and detecting illness symptoms in recent years.

However, I believe that the transformative potential will lie in connecting medical devices with wearable sensors to an internet system (IoMT), this allows real-time data collection for remote patient monitoring, personalized treatment plans, and chronic disease management.

Marcin Oziemski, our engineering lead for HealthTech at Netguru, highlights the transformative potential of connecting medical devices with wearable sensors to an internet system, IoMT opens up a world of opportunities for real-time data access, analysis, and effective patient care, with global revenues projected to exceed 135 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.

8) Pharma tech

I think healthcare professionals will also be witnessing more innovative cooperation models between big pharma and technology companies.

Strategic partnerships and M&A strategies, such as Bayer AG and Microsoft Corporation's collaboration and Novartis AG's acquiring DTx player Amblyotech LLC, showcase the dynamic growth in the digital health field.

Moreover, we have also seen collaborations between Merck KGaA and Koninklijke Philips N.V. which highlight advancements in personalized fertility care through remote monitoring, cloud-based platforms, and AI-powered diagnostics.

9) Internet of things

Smart sensors and meters, in conjunction with other IoT elements, will continue to revolutionize the industry.

IoT services enhance efficiencies in manufacturing, packaging, and supply chain management at medical facilities, providing biopharma and medtech organizations opportunities to optimize costs, analyze operations, and enhance visibility to prevent issues like unauthorized drug distribution or swiftly address medical device recalls.

Moreover, and I believe it is quite important to mention, the integration of IoT with Digital Twins (DT) technology is pivotal, as predicted by research indicating that over 90% of IoT platforms will feature DT capability by 2027.

This digitization combines IoT, AI, DT, and robotics, allowing for continuous data updates and increased usability in manufacturing environments. By capturing and utilizing data, IoT sensors enable the creation of digital representations through DT, fostering better visibility, predictive maintenance, and enhanced analysis.

10) Blockchain to improve trust

Blockchain is gradually being adopted by life science organizations to enhance trust, and transparency, and support patient safety. The technology enables the tracking of counterfeit medicines and simplifies supply chains with healthcare organizations.

One example that I can personally provide has to do with MilliporeSigma, the Life Science business of Merck KgaA. Netguru partnered with MilliporeSigma to develop the CertForward platform, a blockchain-powered web application aimed at elevating standards in the North American cannabis market.

The platform, currently distributed through MilliporeSigma's marketing channels, serves as a secure and tamper-proof medium for growers, labs, and processors, allowing them to receive, upload, and share Certificates of Analysis (COAs) in compliance with legal cannabis product industry standards.

Accelerating the future of the healthcare industry

As we start 2024, we need to finally realize that the healthcare industry is at a crucial juncture where catching up with technology is no longer sufficient. Digital acceleration is the key to staying ahead of the curve.

The trends discussed, from AI-based chatbots and virtual assistants to blockchain adoption, emphasize the importance of embracing technological advancements for improved patient care, streamlined processes, and sustainable healthcare practices.

Healthtech trends are not just about adopting new technologies but about fostering a mindset of continuous innovation. Healthcare organizations and professionals must actively engage with these trends, leveraging digital acceleration to secure new revenue streams, improve decision-making processes, and ultimately enhance the overall healthcare experience.

The future of healthcare lies in the hands of those who embrace and drive digital acceleration in the medical industry.

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Przemysław Turkowski

Client Partner at Netguru

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