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In 2021 Predictions, Digital Health Reigns Supreme

By Maria Fontanazza
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Leveraging the power of technology to create a more patient-centric approach and consolidate costs is expected to play a big role.

As we enter the final weeks of 2020, we should give thanks to those in the healthcare and medtech industry who have done so much while being on the frontlines in both the clinical setting as well as contributing to America’s critical infrastructure on the manufacturing front. These industries have collectively treated and saved millions of people this year, working under extreme conditions. Looking forward to 2021, there is a theme of hope and also one of innovation, as technology continues to push boundaries. The following are among many predictions for the coming year.

Okie Emuoyibo, ENGINE Insights
Okie Emuoyibo, SVP, ENGINE Insights

“Looking ahead to 2021, we expect trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to develop. For example, digital health solutions that support care delivery will expand, offering “virtual first” interactions between patients and providers. Remote monitoring and digital pharmacies will provide the convenience that healthcare consumers expect in other consumer categories. Additionally, Healthcare API marketplaces and government mandates for increased healthcare interoperability will create opportunities for innovation. The connection between data providers, payers, pharmaceutical firms and digital healthcare companies will improve the patient journey.”

“Prior to the pandemic, 63% of patients at healthcare facilities found waiting rooms to be stressful. Now, not only are patients stressed about being in a healthcare facility, but they are avoiding them entirely because of the potential to be exposed to the virus. With the CDC showing emergency room visits declining by 42%, 2021 will be the year that healthcare providers—of all types—will need to ensure they are providing patients with a soothing and uplifting atmosphere when they do come in. One way we’ll see providers put patients at ease is by implementing informative [and] engaging digital signage that lets patients know about the precautions being taken to keep them safe from the virus, as well as things to help distract them from these current stressors, like general healthcare reminders, healthy living tips & recipes, and one- to three-minute clips from popular TV shows. There will also be an increased need for privacy, and we will see more healthcare facilities leverage sound masking, a sound management technology that adds background sound that makes speech less intelligible to others on-site. Implementing sound masking in healthcare facilities will not only help ensure privacy and confidentiality for patients and staff, which supports HIPAA compliance, but it will [also] provide a more productive and comfortable environment with less excess noise and reduced distractions.”

Jaime Bettencourt, Mood Media
Jaime Bettencourt, Senior Vice President of Global Account Management, Mood Media

Bird Blitch, PatientCo
Bird Blitch, CEO, Patientco
  • “Digital transformation will remain a top priority: Patient-centric digital technologies that keep patients informed, engaged and satisfied while powering a financially strong healthcare organization will be essential for success.
  • Consolidated solutions will win out: Instead of utilizing multiple, disparate solutions that essentially do the same thing, healthcare executives will hone in on more consolidated solutions that create frictionless patient experiences.
  • Addressing economic and health equity gaps: Organizations will commit more resources and partner with others within the healthcare community to bring greater empathy and support to ensure every patient can reach their full health potential.
  • Removing financial barriers from seeking care: Hospitals and healthcare providers must meet patients along their healthcare financial journey and offer clear details on payment plans and financing options based on their propensity to pay.
  • Continued postponement of elective procedures: As hospitals continue postponing elective procedures amid the COVID-19 resurgence, patients who have met their deductible this year are unable to seek care. As such, we will see increased postponements of non-urgent procedures in 2021 as the affordability crisis rages on.”

“In 2021, we will see the pharmaceutical industry ramp up custom video advertising solutions that extend their reach beyond endemic sites. Pharma has relied on standard IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) ad units for years, but recently we’ve seen more and more clients express an openness to exploring alternative formats, such as video-first solutions, to reach both healthcare practitioners (HCP) and direct-to-consumer (DTC) audiences. The ability to create a compelling narrative and target relevant audiences is what makes digital video advertising such a powerful and effective tool for pharmaceutical companies.”

Lauren Ohlsson,
Lauren Ohlsson, Director of Account Management and Vertical Lead, Emerging,


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About The Author

Maria Fontanazza, MedTech Intelligence