The top innovation trends of 2022, according to health system execs

From implementing robotics and artificial intelligence to digital apps and value-based care solutions, healthcare innovators had a busy 2022.

Here are the top innovation trends and stories of the year, as told to Becker's by four health system innovation leaders:

Catherine Burch. Vice President of Health and Technology Innovation at ChristianaCare (Newark, Del.): Robotics is making great waves in healthcare. This year we saw interesting uses both in the hospital setting in supporting nurses at the bedside, and in the home. These artificial intelligence assistants hold great potential to not only help an already strained workforce but to help people stay healthy at home. I'm excited to see advancements in the coming year.

Jeff Cohen, MD. Chief Physician Executive of Community Health and Innovation at Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh): Coming out of the pandemic, operating margins are slim to negative, forcing providers to consolidate and look for operating solutions that create productivity gains as opposed to novel technological development. As the center of gravity for healthcare migrates from the hospital to the web, the digitization of data points and converting them to actionable information is driving innovation.

The technologies that we are embracing look to provide better, cheaper and faster solutions to problems such as labor shortages, length of stay, bed management and other operating issues. The migration to a value-based model is also affecting payers who are looking to help their customers maintain a commercial insurance product. Everyone is looking for innovative answers to drive the cost of care down. 

Karen Murphy, PhD, RN. Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Digital Transformation Officer of Geisinger (Danville, Pa.): The biggest healthcare innovation trends in 2022 leveraged digital technologies to fundamentally change healthcare. Given the massive workforce shortages across the industry, our focus is on using technology to develop strategies to serve our patients and employees most effectively. The new year will bring a heavy emphasis on broadly implementing technologies such as self-scheduling, self-check-in, conversational AI and robotic process automation.

John Pigott, MD. Chief Innovation Officer of ProMedica (Toledo, Ohio):

  1. Improving access to primary care as well as providing specialty referrals through telemedicine.
  2. Digital care pathways through mobile apps (for behavioral health, physical therapy, diabetes mellitus, etc.).
  3. Continued Big Tech company interest in healthcare.
  4. Shift of lower-acuity care to affiliated providers (physician assistants, pharmacists, RNs, etc.) rather than physicians.

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