10 predictions for healthcare industry growth in 2018

The report predicted a 4.82 percent growth rate in 2018. Prices on medical devices, consumables and pharmaceuticals should drop in the U.S. and Western Europe, which should turn companies’ attention towards emerging markets. The Asia-Pacific market is projected to grow by $517 billion this year, according to the report, with its 11.1 percent growth rate outpacing the rest of the world.

“Even though 2017 was a year full of spectacular advancements in healthcare, 2018 will be the year of digital health technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), big data analytics, and robotics,” Kamaljit Behera, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said in a statement. “Non-healthcare companies will continue to collaborate with healthcare industry players to transform these technologies into actionable applications that will drive growth opportunities across the globe.”

Here are 10 predictions for what will lead the industry’s growth this year:

1. Cloud emerges as a core platform. The report predicted cloud platforms in healthcare would grow at a compounded annual rate of 24 percent between 2017 and 2022.

2. Anything-as-a-service model will become the norm. Also known as X-as-a-service, the increasing prevalence of cloud-based platforms will open up new revenue streams for drug and device companies.

3. Big tech investments will pay off. The report expected a tech giant like Apple, Amazon or Google to “attain success” in the fast track program for digital health apps offered by the Food and Drug Administration.

4. More clinical trials will be performed remotely. Adopting some form of virtualization should make trials more efficient and more attractive to patients.

5. More robotics will be utilized in hospitals. “High penetration” will be attained in 2018 for robotics assisting in care and surgical procedures.

6. Asia-Pacific region will take the lead on “smart hospitals.” Relying on automated processes and IoT, four countries—Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea—will offer 3,200 “smart” hospital beds this year.

7. Cyberattacks will become an even greater threat. The report expected attacks to double in 2018, despite increased attention and investment on security, posing a major risk to medical technology and device companies.

8. Incentive-based wellness programs to become more popular. Payers and their corporate partners will use data-driven incentives in premiums to increase participation in wellness programs.

9. Wellness will also have an impact on accountable care organizations. In the U.S., the report expected quality initiatives on wellness and preventive care to gain more attention for ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program over the next three to five years.

10. Telehealth will make its legislative breakthrough in the U.S. The report predicted lawmakers will recognize the potential for telehealth services to cut costs while improving outcomes—creating an opportunity for providers which are willing to invest in those services now.