Digital Health Innovation, MDR, GDPR Compliance

5 key trends for digital health in 2020

From technological advances to major legislation, 2020 will be a key year for digital health. Here is our list of the 5 key trends you really should know about.

2020 will be a big year for digital health. The MDR becomes mandatory, AI will continue to grow and an ageing population will pose increasing challenges for healthcare providers. Read on to learn about the 5 key trends everyone should know.

1. MDR will change the EU market

The Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will transform the  regulatory landscape in the EU. It will have a particularly profound impact on digital health companies. Companies that are not prepared will simply die.

The MDR was enacted in 2017 and becomes mandatory from May 26, 2020. From that date all new devices will have to comply with the MDR in order to be marketed, sold or distributed in the European market. Plan effectively and ensure you have good partners.

Wondering if your software falls under MDR? Find out in our updated MDR eBook. Download here.

2. Telemedicine

2020 will be the year telemedicine becomes mainstream. More and more apps and gadgets are allowing healthcare providers to monitor, diagnose and treat patients remotely. These include real-time ECG monitoring, GP consultation apps and even robots for carrying out surgery remotely. Even in the hospital context, telemedicine is finding applications, with monitors that store patient observations remotely.

This boom in telemedicine will bring real challenges relating to both data privacy and data security. Healthcare is currently the second biggest target for cybercrime. According to recent reports, a widely-used anaesthetic machine is vulnerable to remote attacks. And, infamously, insulin pumps have proved easy to hack.

3. Big data and analytics for patient data.

The modern world is generating data at an unprecedented rate, and healthcare is no exception. Analysing this data offers the chance to gain key insights into medical conditions. At the individual level, the data can form the basis for machine learning (AI) models that predict heart attacks. At a wider level, it offers the chance to transform epidemiology and save lives on a global scale.

But, as with telemedicine, leveraging this data comes with real challenges relating to data privacy and data security.  Read our eBook on GDPR compliance to learn more how data protection laws apply to your product.

‍4. Medical artificial intelligence

Hand-in-hand with big data is the growth of medical artificial intelligence (AI). This ranges from chatbots to help patients with chronic conditions to realtime diagnosis of heart attacks using machine learning. These applications of AI all seek to improve and personalise the delivery of healthcare for individuals.

There are technical and legal challenges to this use of artificial intelligence. Technically, medical data is often collected in a discrete manner. E.g. observations are only taken every few hours. This causes problems for classical approaches to machine learning. Legally, Article 22 of the GDPR specifically singles out "automated individual decision making", and imposes strict conditions on its use. This could limit the application of AI in some circumstances where consent is the basis for lawful data processing.

5. Ageing populations

Probably the biggest challenge for global healthcare is demographic. Advances in healthcare mean people are living longer. But this ageing population places a huge burden on healthcare providers. Digital health apps can help in various ways, often leveraging some of the trends mentioned above. For instance, apps can help find care places for patients waiting discharge from hospital. Big data and AI offers the chance to improve care outcomes for patients in hospital settings. Telemedicine offers patients personalised and immediate care, freeing up health providers for dealing with more urgent cases.

All these things are only possible through the sharing of sensitive health data. In turn, that causes problems with data protection and security.

How can help you? is the only certified platform for storing health data. We ensure compliance with GDPR and HIPAA, and simplify the MDR certification process. We also offer expert advice on what else you need to do to become compliant. To find out more, book a free assessment with us.

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About Ruta Naujokaite

Strategic thinker developing innovative strategies for the Digital Health sector.
  • Berlin, Germany