Healthcare as an industry can sometimes lag behind others, particularly when it comes to the adoption of new technologies. For example, electronic health records didn’t gain widespread adoption for over a decade after other sectors digitized. Even then, it required government regulations to speed up the process. But that no longer seems to be the case. Healthcare innovations using new technologies as well as novel approaches to medicine are booming. This has certainly been evidenced by the latest healthcare trends in 2022. A variety of advances have been seen this past year, in part fueled by a global pandemic and in part not. With that in mind, the following details the most notable healthcare innovations that were most impactful.
- Telemedicine and Telehealth – One of the notable healthcare trends in 2022 that continued after the pandemic involved telehealth and telemedicine. During COVID-19, it became evident that telehealth services offered many advantages. They improved access to care, especially rurally, and they were much more convenient. Likewise, they saved healthcare systems and providers time and money while maintaining high-quality care. Though telehealth has ongoing barriers to use, advocates are pushing for wide-spread adoption and inclusion of this technology. You can therefore expect that healthcare innovations in telehealth will continue. (Dig into Bold’s exploration of modern telehealth services in this story.)
- mRNA Technology – COVID-19 was also responsible for healthcare innovations involving mRNA technologies as well. In essence, mRNA provide DNA-like codes to cells in the body that tell them how to make specific proteins. In this regard, they’re like blueprints. As a result, mRNA fragments can allow our own body’s cells to provide the machinery in fighting infections, cancers, and other diseases. This was first realized during the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. But healthcare trends in 2022 have seen this technology used in many different areas. Its capacity for rapid development, better effectiveness, and lower production cost are continuing to drive its popularity.
- 3D Printing – A great deal of hype surrounds 3D printing in many sectors, as well as it should. But even greater hype is involving this technology in terms of healthcare trends in 2022. Healthcare innovations related to 3D printing include the ability to produce skin cells, blood vessels, and even entire organs. Plus, once made, these can be implanted without the potential for rejection by the body’s immune system. At the same time, entire joints and even prosthetics are being made using 3D printing. Because it allows nearly identical matches, functionality, comfort and appearance are all improved. As such, 3D printing holds significant promise for the future.
- Psychedelics – Healthcare trends in 2022 continued to include excitement about the use of psychedelics and magic mushrooms in mental healthcare. These interventions that were once taboo are being found to have significant benefits in several mental health conditions. These include things like PTSD, depression, eating disorders and a variety of substance addictions. In addition, continued FDA support and research funding grew this year in support of these healthcare innovations. And major pharmaceutical companies are partnering with researchers to explore the potential of the psychedelics industry. While the approach to use has not been well-defined, evidence increasingly shows tremendous potential for its use.
- Gene Editing Techniques – For several years, many researchers have touted the gene editing abilities of CRISPR in advancing medicine. Without question, CRISPR allows scientists to edit genes, and it may accelerate treatments for genetic disorders. But healthcare trends in 2022 have seen additional developments in gene editing techniques. RLR, or Retron Library Recombineering, may be even more precise in its gene editing abilities. Likewise, it is more efficient when it comes to experimentation and less costly. As a result, the capacity for gene editing treatments for a number of conditions could be a reality in a short time.
- AI and Robotics – As is the case with essential every industry, artificial intelligence and robotics are impactful. When it comes to healthcare trends in 2022, there are several areas where AI has made a difference. In diagnostic imaging, AI has greatly enhanced speed and precision. Mammograms can be read 30 time faster with 99% accuracy. AI is also being used to detect early changes of heart disease and to streamline drug development. Robotics are also making a tremendous difference in surgical suites and in assisted device applications. While these healthcare innovations are impressive, they are likely just the tip of the iceberg.
- Virtual Reality – In the last few years, healthcare innovations related to virtual reality and even augmented reality have appeared. Thus, it’s not surprising that healthcare trends in 2022 have continued in this direction. In terms of therapeutics, VR is being used in various conditions like PTSD, dementia, autism, and anxiety. But its uses extend well beyond this. VR is also being incorporated into medical training and in patient education models. Likewise, its role in rehab and prevention is being actively explored. This will continue to be a hot topic in all probability for years to come.
- Mental Health Technologies – In the last few years, healthcare innovations related to mental health involved various apps for supports. Healthcare trends in 2022, however, took another step further and launched into the health wearables sector. recent developments include mental health trackers that utilize AI and voice analytics to monitor stress, anxiety and depression. Other companies are also measuring electrodermal skin changes to monitor stress and mood change as well. With nearly half the population already wearing health trackers, these new developments certainly have potential. (Wearable health trackers are a big deal–read why in this Bold story!)