December 06, 2017
Enola Labs

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2017 was a big year in healthcare technology and we are fully expecting to see continued innovation in the field throughout 2018. We turned to the experts in health tech to gather their predictions for what to expect in the coming year. These experts have a diverse background in health tech, and have enjoyed successful careers on the cutting edge of healthcare and technology. Read their expert health tech predictions for 2018 below!

Sue Schade

Principle | Star Bridge Advisors

“It’s hard to make just one prediction with so much going on. In terms of breakthroughs, I’m seeing a lot more on AI in healthcare so I would expect to see that develop in 2018. Broadly, I expect to see more of a focus on analytics, population health, patient engagement and telehealth initiatives across healthcare organizations. Cybersecurity will continue to be a priority for CIOs. EMR optimization seems to be never ending, rightly so as organizations figure out how to streamline workflows for clinicians. Operational optimization for IT will be a focus as cost constraints continue for most organizations.”

Julianna Scruggs

CEO | Tiny Palaces

“In 2018, we’re going to see greater success from healthcare technology startups that are sharply focused on their area of expertise. This means companies are going to outsource other necessary aspects of their business such as hardware production, clinical testing, and software development. Larger companies will also benefit from adopting this model. This is a familiar path for tech companies in most other industries. In 2018, I think we’re finally going to see this trend take root in healthcare tech.”

Wendy Smith

Senior Vice President | Aon

“I feel that in 2018 there will be significant uptick in Telehealth that will be supported by consumer demand and insurance readiness. This would allow the consumer to receive some level of primary care and specialist coverage, without having the hassle of being in an office setting. Additionally, I believe there will be significant strides made in how health systems and providers measure and track patient experience and understanding the satisfaction level and perceptions of members/patients on a more real-time basis vs. the ridiculous paper survey/mail-in methodology that is still rampant currently. There are several excellent tools that allow for floor level data analytics to occur in real time and provide the office real time information. It is time for healthcare to “catch up” to other industries in terms of understanding the perceptions and realities of satisfaction.”

Marcus Turner

Chief Architect | Enola Labs Software

“An easy way to determine what will be happening in the coming year is to focus on the regulation and what the CMS is pushing. Not that it’s what we should be doing, but with focus flows money. There will be a lot of focus on the Opioid Epidemic, Bundled Payments (which will really drive the importance of the PCP role within healthcare) and a migration from MSSP-based programs to more MA programs (which from a pattern perspective is a great place to start in understanding risk stratification for the larger Population Health). Personally, I would love to see more of a ‘system focus’ on patient safety as hospitals are the #3 killer in America, a customer-centric model of patient care, and a substantial focus on nursing enablement (getting away from the patterns of care to focus on JIT scenarios).”

Victor Wang

CEO | Care.Coach

“Somebody, somewhere will ask ‘are we in a healthcare blockchain startup bubble?’ There will be a significant growth in the number of startups that raise substantial capital in 2018 to commercialize blockchain-based solutions in healthcare, and every major health IT conference will have at least one session about blockchain. Given the typical pace of change in healthcare, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any blockchain-enabled healthcare solution really become a household name in the span of the next year, but we will definitely get closer to that eventuality. Given the trend in healthcare innovator circles, I see this as a pretty safe prediction, with a leading indicator in the financial sector in the form of a BTC (bitcoin) exchange rate of almost US$10,000.”

Main Takeaways

In 2018, the health tech industry will advance while strongly prioritizing the importance of cybersecurity. If we learned anything in 2017, it is how vital cybersecurity is in every single sector. There will be a sharp focus on the tech side of health tech in focusing in on one or two areas of expertise. Rather than tech companies aiming to “do it all”, we will see them hone in on one area that they can really excel within. Telehealth has been lauded as an excellent solution for reducing the cost of healthcare delivery and allowing doctors to spend more time with patients that do need to come into the office. Here is to hoping that 2018 continues to see more substantial growth in a telehealth presence. Lastly, blockchain based solutions in the healthcare space will see greater commercialization in 2018, although not as quickly as many experts would like to see.

Thank you to all of our health tech experts for providing their input for this piece. We look forward to seeing what 2018 holds for this innovative and exciting industry. Learn more about the healthcare technology consulting firm, Enola Labs.