Digital health: 2022 recap & 2023 predictions

Photo of Catherine BushenCatherine Bushen
January 25, 2023
... min read

Economic challenges, clinician burnout, the need for more evidence-based regulations — what are the trending conversations that healthcare professionals should be keeping an eye on?

To answer this question, we asked the thought leaders at Infermedica to share their observations from 2022 and make some predictions about the industry's direction for 2023 (and beyond).

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

At a glance:

What are thought leaders in the healthcare space predicting for 2023?

Virtual health services on the rise

When looking at the healthcare industry in 2022, it's hard not to talk about the continued acceleration toward digital solutions that was spurred on by the pandemic. Although this is clearly not new information, it's an important starting point as it drove organizations to implement change and practically forced patients to accept virtual health services. It's clear that the pandemic has had a lasting impact that continues to drive providers to consider not if they need health technology, but rather, what technological solutions are best for them. Our Medical Advisor for Value and Impact Demonstration, Dr. George Gellert, had this to say:

"The pandemic has permanently shifted the entire foundation of the evolution of telemedicine and digital health because it so powerfully demonstrated their value and ease of adoption. There is no going back." 

— Dr. George Gellert / Medical Advisor, Value and Impact Demonstration, Infermedica

From this point of view, 2022 acted as a pivotal moment in the transformation of healthcare. For the first time in recent years, with the major threat of the pandemic seemingly behind us, providers have had the option to revert back to face-to-face appointments. However, having seen the value of virtual visits — the convenience, the efficiency, the savings — both patients and providers are now asking themselves whether a move back to the way things were before is in their best interest or if they should continue onwards with digital services at the forefront in this new post-pandemic reality.

Addressing clinician burnout

So, with the continued adoption of digital solutions, what are organizations hoping to achieve? For our Chief Commercial Officer, Amanda L. Bury, the importance of addressing clinician burnout was evident throughout last year.

“With an overwhelming amount of clinical burnout and one in four physicians wanting to leave healthcare — focusing on physician satisfaction is becoming a conversation with partners and customers." 

— Amanda L. Bury / Chief Commercial Officer, Infermedica

Quotation mark

With an overwhelming amount of clinical burnout and one in four physicians wanting to leave healthcare — focusing on physician satisfaction is becoming a conversation with partners and customers.

Amanda L.Bury

Chief Commercial Officer, Infermedica

With clinician burnout now recognized as a widespread problem at the organizational level, healthcare providers, payers, and telemedicine companies have turned toward digital solutions in order to alleviate the pressures their healthcare workers face. This includes solutions like digital triage tools that navigate patients to the right level of care and digital intake forms that collect patient data to prepare patients and clinicians before each visit.

Infermedica 2022: Year in Review

A roundup of what we’ve accomplished in 2022, and what’s next in 2023.

Economic challenges

As with many global markets, the 2022 digital health space was not a bed of roses, especially when it came to funding. Our CEO and Co-Founder, Piotr Orzechowski, shared his thoughts and observations regarding this challenge.

“Infermedica secured its Series B funding in January 2022. However starting from around Q2, we observed a downturn when it comes to venture funding, especially later stage. In fact, Q3 of 2022 was the lowest quarterly total in digital health funding in the past 11 quarters. Given clear macro-economic challenges and looking at the performance of some of the leading public telehealth companies, investors have become more conservative this year, but I believe this is a rather temporary trend. Great companies will still get funded, and the amount of capital available in the market is substantial. I believe that starting from Q2 2023 the digital health funding situation will gradually improve and will recover by mid-2024 bringing investor’s sentiment back on track.”

— Piotr Orzechowski / CEO and Co-Founder, Infermedica

So, what does this mean for 2023? Where are the trends and talking points leading us? Let's take a look at the year ahead and see what some of the key players in our organization are predicting.

Where is digital healthcare going in 2023?

Extending care beyond the hospital walls

When collecting opinions for this article, one thing that came up time and time again was an emphasis on care that operated beyond the four walls of the hospital or medical facility. For Amanda L. Bury, 2023 will see more value being placed on the care that people can receive at home for low acuity cases.

"I believe we'll see a greater movement to care inside your home through devices, telehealth, and basic homecare. More and more medical devices are integrated with electronic health records — making it easier for patients to share data with their clinicians continually." 

— Amanda L. Bury / Chief Commercial Officer, Infermedica

Dr. George Gellert seconded this thought, stressing and elaborating on the significance of wearables that are connected to healthcare systems.

“The expanding sophistication and resultant use/integration of wearables across major healthcare opportunities — from improved chronic disease management and surveillance/prevention of clinical exacerbations to sleep medicine, and nutritional and mental health, to expedited virtual triage and care referral and delivery — will continue to grow in depth and breadth of impact. Wearables will transform healthcare as we know it."

— Dr. George Gellert / Medical Advisor, Value and Impact Demonstration, Infermedica

Segmented patient-centered care

With patient-centered care already being a core focus for healthcare organizations, can we expect to see any significant changes in approach for 2023? Tim Price, our Chief Product Officer, believes that companies will hone in on specific illnesses or demographics in order to provide the best care.

“With more cross-over than ever from the consumer world, healthcare organizations will need to better understand and segment their populations in order to deliver the best possible pathways, experience, and outcomes. We're already seeing a trend in the health-tech space towards specializing in the treatment of a specific condition or population subset."

— Tim Price / Chief Product Officer, Infermedica

Regulation of the health-tech sector

As solutions and tools in the digital healthcare space evolve, the need for more nuanced regulations is something that starts to matter to more and more people in the field. Tim Price had this to say on the matter:

"Up until now, regulation of the health-tech sector has seen regulators in the US and EU apply standards for traditional medical device product development to software solutions — essentially applying the same approach to evaluating a hearing aid to an AI symptom checker. I'd like to see new regulations designed specifically for software as a medical device, which better reflect modern software development practices and also go beyond simply assessing safety to include the value and impact it has on the healthcare system." 

— Tim Price / Chief Product Officer, Infermedica

Whether this will happen in 2023 is yet to be seen, however, as the industry continues to grow it's becoming evident that new regulations are more of a necessity rather than a 'nice-to-have'.

Let's sum up

2022 has been a challenging year financially for many in the health-tech sector. Nevertheless, it was also promising in regard to the overall sentiment toward digital solutions that have demonstrated their value to organizations, patients, and providers.

When we look ahead to 2023, we can expect to see continued growth in this area, particularly relating to how technology can alleviate pressures on healthcare systems in low-acuity cases by assisting patients beyond the clinical setting.

BL/ EN/ 2023/01/25/1