Top digital health trends of '22, according to Stanford, Froedtert, MUSC Health execs

Healthcare continued its digital transformation in 2022, with sizable shifts toward artificial intelligence, digital front doors and remote patient monitoring, as well as big moves from outside disruptors and EHR vendors.

Here are the top digital health trends and stories of the year, three health system digital chiefs told Becker's:

Mike Anderes. Chief Digital Officer of Froedtert Health and The Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). President of Inception Health: When we look back at 2022 in a few years we will see it as the year when newer entrants to healthcare (Amazon, Google, Apple, Walmart, etc.) started to find their product-market fit and leveraged technology for rapid growth. We will also see that 2022 was a time that legacy health systems ceded their digital strategy to the large EMR vendors and started a path to more commodification. While there will be exceptions to this on both sides, the paths have been set in motion this year.

Crystal Broj. Chief Digital Transformation Officer of MUSC Health (Charleston, S.C.): The biggest trend by far is digital front door. Every solution is either a digital front door solution or can interact with your digital front door. I think health systems are realizing that they need to meet a patient where they are most comfortable and give them the type of experience they have in other industries: systems that are easy to navigate. Patients can schedule a trip on an airline easier than getting an appointment with a doctor. The trend for a digital front door is to help a patient navigate through the experience easier.

Michael Pfeffer, MD. CIO and Associate Dean of Technology and Digital Solutions at Stanford Health Care and School of Medicine (Palo Alto, Calif.): Some of the key trends for 2022 were in telehealth, remote patient monitoring, artificial intelligence and machine learning, personalized medicine, and consumerization.

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring were significant digital health stories in 2022 as the pandemic continued to underscore the need for virtual care workflows across the care continuum. At Stanford Health Care, having telehealth fully integrated in our EHR workflows and accessible via our digital platform from anywhere on any device has not only increased access to care for patients and their families but has also eased care-team coordination.

We saw continued incorporation of AI/ML capabilities across the ecosystem for enterprise productivity, diagnostics and treatments, and are excited to develop this further at Stanford in 2023. Personalized medicine has also been of keen interest. Lastly, the consumerization of healthcare IT has drawn renewed attention to the importance of contextually relevant digital engagement with patients and caregivers.

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