From shopping to banking to travel, consumers today have everything at their fingertips, with digital technology transforming not only how business is conducted but how people live every day. Despite the rapid adoption of digital technology in other industries, healthcare has been a bit slower to transform.

To date, healthcare interactions have been bogged down by poor experiences outside the doctor’s office – long hold times to make an appointment, confusing phone trees, paper forms to fill out repetitive information, and limited visibility into the next steps of the care journey. Today, there are some noticeable shifts for the better happening on the digital front, largely driven by healthcare consumerism and the demand that healthcare meet patients where they are – on their phones, in their homes, and outside the hospital.

This shift in healthcare focuses on treating patients more like consumers, giving them more control and options in their healthcare decisions. This year, we saw an increased emphasis on virtual care, healthcare price transparency, wearables, and generative artificial intelligence (AI).

Healthcare consumerism is a driving force for digital transformation and price transparency

Consumers are demanding more from their healthcare experience. They expect the same convenience and speed they get from other industries in their care, and they want to know how much it is going to cost. Various digital tools and platforms now allow patients to compare costs for medical procedures, medications, and services, helping them make more informed decisions. Online healthcare marketplaces have also become more prominent, allowing patients to compare and purchase health insurance, find healthcare providers, and even book appointments. These digital platforms make it easier for consumers to shop for and access healthcare services as they would any other service.

With cost and quality information increasingly available online, consumers will be more likely to speak with their wallets—willing to switch payers and providers for a better price and experience.

Virtual care and hybrid care expand access to primary and specialty care

The convenience of virtual care can drive patient engagement and participation in their own healthcare journey, leading to healthier patient populations overall.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted gaps in access to critical healthcare services for patients all over the US, but especially in rural communities, accelerating the advancement of virtual care. In response, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) relaxed regulations previously blocking virtual services from being widely available. They also implemented temporary legislation to expand coverage to allow patients to receive telehealth services in their homes for the first time and provided billing codes to allow providers to be reimbursed for telehealth services.

While these changes were meant to solve an immediate problem during the pandemic, they have engendered lasting digital transformation across payers, providers, and employers who are now exploring new offerings for hybrid care and services outside the four walls of the hospital.

Wearable health devices: more than just fitness trackers

Wearable health devices are a rapidly evolving piece of the digital transformation puzzle in healthcare. An industry once predominately dominated by pedometers, wearable health devices have evolved to include everything from sleep trackers to blood glucometers to pulse oximeters to heart rate monitors. The data collected from these devices can help patients make more informed decisions about their health, have data-driven conversations with their physicians, and may even contribute to healthcare research in the future.

Proponents of linking wearable devices into patient medical records suggest the continuous data stream could help providers and payers better understand patient behaviors outside of the clinical environment, providing a more real-world picture of the patient journey. Collecting data outside of a care setting can offer valuable insights into day-to-day health. Moreover, the data collected via wearable health devices can be analyzed by mobile apps, creating a 360-degree of a patient’s health and fostering more accurate and comprehensive health monitoring and personalized care.

While there are still many hurdles to overcome with integrating this type of data into healthcare workstreams, the industry has seen some early successes where patients have opted into sharing their wearable data. And the industry is only growing; the global wearables market is expected to reach $186.14 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research, Inc., and reported by Bloomberg.

Generative AI applications in healthcare

Perhaps nothing was a hotter topic this year than generative artificial intelligence (AI). With the explosion of ChatGPT and other platforms, industry analysts and operators wanted to know how this technology can be used in healthcare.

In just under a year, the influence of artificial intelligence in healthcare has reached unprecedented heights. No longer a subject of speculative fiction, AI is now deeply embedded in various facets of patient care, diagnosis, and research. This digital marvel is streamlining complex processes, making sense of vast data sets, and providing previously unimaginable insights.

AI-powered diagnostic tools, for instance, are achieving levels of accuracy that rival, and in some cases surpass, human experts, leading to faster and more precise treatment. In drug research and personalized medicine, AI algorithms sift through intricate genetic information to recommend treatments tailored for individual patients, increasing the efficacy and reducing potential side effects. Moreover, with AI-driven predictive analytics, healthcare professionals can now anticipate patient needs and potential complications, paving the way for preemptive care.

For patients, AI’s integration means a more informed, efficient, and personalized healthcare journey. By assisting and augmenting the capabilities of healthcare professionals, AI is not just transforming how care is delivered; it’s elevating the standards of what patients can expect from their healthcare journey. The convergence of human expertise and AI’s potential is setting the stage for a healthcare renaissance where
technology and care harmoniously intertwine.

There are countless use cases for AI in healthcare. Better diagnostics, improved treatment plans, and more accurate and personalized post-care monitoring are some of the most obvious applications as providers and payers increasingly embrace the digital transformation in healthcare.


Growing healthcare consumerism, a plethora of digital health technologies, and the increasing opportunities to leverage AI in healthcare are driving digital transformation across healthcare to better align patient experience with consumer expectations. The invaluable data collected can be used to enrich and improve the patient journey and deliver more personalized care, which will ultimately help you grow patient loyalty and improve retention.