Some trends in digital health and wellness technology have seen exponential growth this year. While there will always be advancements, the pandemic has escalated many developments and reliance on virtual solutions. 

According to Mordor Intelligence reports, the healthcare IT market is expected to reach 12.5% CAGR with an estimated revenue of $192,639 million in the next five years. The anticipated growth was a hot topic at conferences this year including HLTH and HIMSS. As an online health and wellness platform, we’ve also noticed shifts within our global member base.

At Burnalong, we’ve noticed a marked increase in engagement with our specialty categories in 2021. 39% of users take specialty classes on our online platform in areas such as mental health, senior fitness, stress management, Fit Over 50, chronic condition support, meditation, and sleep. 

The reliance on online options has in part been due to canceled or postponed appointments due to the pandemic. Plus, with additional time spent at home, more people are turning to online solutions to invest in their health and connect to others. People are craving choice, diversity, personalized wellness, and care support that can be accessed anytime and anywhere. Accordingly, we have established a new division within Burnalong aimed to support the growing demand for digital health and wellness, led by consumers.

Based on what we have seen this past year on our platform, at conferences, and with clients, here are key areas we expect to see growth in 2022 and ways Burnalong is supporting this evolution.

2022 Digital Health & Wellness Trends

Technology

Technology in healthcare is not only here to stay, it is going to drive primary patient care. With these advancements, there are a number of exciting developments in detection, treatments, management, and care.

Google DeepMind, for instance, recently launched an AI tool that is outperforming human radiologists at spotting breast cancer. The implications of this, of course, are huge for early detection and improved prognoses. Virtual reality is helping train more effective surgeons as noted by Harvard Business Review

Anyone who has also experienced telehealth appointments for the first time in the past year also knows the impact of being able to reach medical professionals at any time, without having to make an appointment (in some cases). As technology progresses, additional tools will be developed to help with remote visits. 

AI-powered recommendations are a foundational element for our own platform. By leaning into technology, we are better able to provide personalized wellness journeys that can impact members, and patients, of the healthcare systems, hospitals, medical specialists, and employers we work with. 

Data

Data is becoming more readily available. With that comes a duty to protect personal health information through strong governance, corporate responsibility initiatives, and leaders that put privacy and security above profit.

Big data, in particular, has big consequences for the value-based care (VBC) model, implemented by numerous healthcare systems. Healthcare data analytics allow for there to be better measurement and health tracking which makes the switch to VBC feasible.

Data can come from a number of sources including patient disclosure, wearable activity trackers, or onboarding to health and wellness platforms. Apple, for instance, worked with Stanford recently to determine if the watch could detect heard conditions, thus extending diagnostic services to consumer products. 

When new members join our platform, we have a comprehensive onboarding that provides data that can then be used to provide AI-powered recommendations. This helps members more effectively reach their goals and manage ongoing chronic conditions with content available on the platform. 

In addition, by working with hospitals and specialists, Burnalong is able to now help reduce re-admits and support a value-based care model by delivering structured wellness plans and tracking activity in the platform to determine completion. Further, patients can be guided with custom programming and receive curated recommendations for the next steps as they progress.

Mental health

It is time to embrace mental health and wellness in the healthcare system. No longer can healthcare systems focus solely on fixing broken bones and curing illnesses. We now need to focus on the mind-body connection and comprehensive healing.

A recent Mind Share report found there was a 29% increase over 2019 in US employees reporting at least one system of a mental condition in 2021. Burnout leads the way at 56% of surveyed employees experiencing symptoms, a 54% increase YOY in eating disorders and 78% more reported symptoms of PTSD than 2019. 

Healthcare that only addresses physical conditions is not adequately serving anyone. There is an increased focus on mental health, which is promising, and we anticipate exciting innovations in this area in 2022. 

As employers and healthcare providers adapt, it is important to consider holistic services that provide stress management, meditation, mindfulness, and content that helps support mental health from home. 

Looking at recent platform usage on Burnalong, it is evident that our members are looking for additional support to stave off burnout, address anxiety, manage stress, and find balance. With growing partnerships with medical specialists, we are working to provide additional content and extended care, beyond the four walls of a doctor’s office. 

What’s next?

As we look ahead to the next year, we are excited to see the focus on innovative digital trends, prudent uses of data, and the emphasis on mental health and wellness. 

We are using our experience to help organizations enter digital health with short-term and long-term segments. Initially, addressing employee needs and then transitioning to digital health care for patients. This way, clients become familiar with the digital approach while time is provided for detailed patient plans. We run a care-gap analysis together and plan content needs around these findings.

We are committed to growing our class portfolio and partnerships with medical specialists and healthcare systems to better serve our members and their families. If you are interested in joining us or learning more about how Burnalong is innovating digital health offerings, please reach out and schedule a quick call