Digital health has the potential to vastly improve healthcare services, but up until recently, it hasn’t been much of a priority for investors.

Iran Press/Europe: If anything positive has risen from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that it’s opened up a new opportunity to revisit how we think of healthcare, from telemedicine to research and data to collaboration. 

Here are some of the top eHealth trends we predict will dominate in 2021.

1. The expansion of telemedicine

Telemedicine, or the practice of clinicians seeing patients virtually rather than in brick and mortar offices and hospitals, has increased tremendously during the pandemic as populations around the world have limited physical encounters. This practice has demonstrated that remote consultations are not only possible but also easy and often preferable. 

Some experts say that this is only the beginning, and soon the scale of telemedicine will increase. 

2. Virtual reality in the healthcare market

The global market of digital health VR is expected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2026, due to its potential to eliminate the need for certain medications or surgeries. VR technology is being used currently to treat chronic pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

3. National digital health portals, and the big data that comes with it

Countries around the world are working on more comprehensive and accessible electronic health records. Sweden’s already got it figured out. In Sweden, all citizens and residents have a personal identification number, known as the Swedish PIN, that is used for all healthcare documentation. Researchers that have access to these digital health portals can revel in a treasure trove of data. 

4. The power of AI and digital health

Artificial intelligence will play a huge role in the digital transformation of healthcare. In fact, the AI healthcare market is expected to exceed $34 billion by 2025. 

Right now, most patients have probably interacted with or heard of some form of AI, like the PARO robotic seal for dementia patients, or chatbots that offer services from customer service to therapy. But the future of AI is in precision medicine, genomics, drug discovery, and medical imaging. Take cancer treatments, for example. By using AI’s pattern recognition, doctors can prescribe personalized treatment plans tailored to a patient’s genetic makeup and lifestyle. 

5. Cross border collaboration of digital health

The pandemic has shown that countries are facing similar healthcare challenges, not only in relation to coronavirus but also in terms of delivering good quality and efficient care to people in need, such as demographic changes an increase in the number of chronically ill.

6. Apps, wearables, and self-monitoring solutions 

Providers are accelerating solutions for self-monitoring for patients with chronic diseases, which has the potential to save money as the management and treatment of chronic illnesses account for around 80% of the cost of healthcare.

7. Digital health hubs and startup ecosystems

"Innovation and growth happen much faster in places where you have a critical mass and access to key players, everything from investors to partners," said Paul Beatus, CEO & Co-founder of H2 Health Hub, a digital health coworking space in Stockholm. "In places like hubs you also get the chance to build relationships and create connections."

If there were ever a time to invest in digital health, it’s now. The momentum is here to use technology to collaborate with other innovators and improve the products and services in the digital healthcare space, thus improving the lives of millions of people. 


Read more:

Fitness tips amid coronavirus restriction movement

Watch what you put into your body