2024 Technology Trends Accelerating Smart Hospital Infrastructure (Ecosystem)

By Srinivas Iyengar

Hospital infrastructure has seen unprecedented changes over the last two decades due to the internet, patients becoming smarter, growing demand for personalized care, increased customer expectations for hospitals to deliver efficient care, focus shift from deceased treatment to health management, etc.  There is also a greater shift of care delivery from the point of care towards the point of need. Many countries have realized that the new paradigm “point of need” is the need of the hour.

This has transformed the healthcare industry from being extremely tech-averse to leading tech adoption in less than a decade. The COVID-19-induced pandemic also presented many challenges to the healthcare industry and accentuated the digital chasm that needed to be bridged. The solution was to enable rapid digitalization of healthcare that would facilitate new ways of working and addressing challenges. As a result, 2023 saw rising investments in building smart hospitals, specifically in the areas of digital surgery, personalized healthcare, clinical decision support, AI-assisted medical imaging, etc.

2024 will be a watershed moment for the healthcare industry in terms of the scale at which it adopts digital technologies and the varied use cases it makes possible. As we look forward to the new year, here are seven of the leading healthcare megatrends that will play an increasingly important role and redefine the healthcare industry in 2024.


    • Edge Computing – With the market getting flooded with powerful processors, edge computing, a subset of Artificial Intelligence, is all set to move out of innovation, trigger and quickly move towards a steady state. Edge computing brings the entire computing paradigm to the point of data collection. This also means lesser dependency on cloud computing. Hospitals today prefer robotic equipment that is not dependent on connectivity due to the highly critical nature of operations. According to IDC’s June 2021 Edge spending guide, healthcare providers’ spending on Edge will reach 10.3 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 17%.


    • Generative AI for Hospitals – Generative AI is becoming a pivotal technology that will be used in hospitals to accomplish various tasks. This includes doctors skimming through patient databases to know more about patient health before scheduled appointments, taking notes during appointments and generating patient encounter and discharge summaries, which are extremely crucial for hospitals. GenAI will change the entire hospital ecosystem; it will reduce the amount of time spent to complete discharge summaries. This also means that doctors can spend more time on care delivery.


    • Cyber Security – Data privacy and cyber security will be top priority for hospitals in 2024. With widespread digitalization and new connected medical devices becoming part of hospital networks, healthcare organizations become highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. More than 65% of healthcare organizations today see cyber security as their top IT infrastructure challenge.


    • Wearables & IoT – By the end of 2024, it is predicted that more than 207 billion devices will be connected to the worldwide network. It should come as no surprise that we already see smartwatches enabled with Generative AI that act as our fitness assistants and personal coaches. Microsoft Bag and Humane AI pin are some examples of Generative AI used along with wearables. With the concept of hospitals beyond walls taking shape, it is imperative for care delivery organizations to include wearables and AI for early detection and quicker response.


    • Amalgamation of Point of Care Diagnostics and Telehealth – The pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities are here to stay and expand its capabilities. With the emergence of smart medical devices & diagnostics and the push towards care-at-home models, the need for consumers to travel for their routine diagnostic tests will decline. Point-of-care devices will empower patients to get bedside tests and receive care and health advice at their preferred times without leaving their homes or being restricted by geographic boundaries.


    • AI TRiSM (Trust, Risk, and Security Management) – With the evolution of GenAI for healthcare applications, there is an evident need to tackle the potential misuse of AI models. User acceptance becomes a major driver for the wide adoption of AI, thereby generating better outcomes. Diagnostic solutions, built adhering to responsible and ethical AI governance practices, will make this possible.


Hospital ecosystems are in the midst of a transformative phase and will witness several new use cases and disruptions made possible by the emergence of digital technologies. In 2024, Generative AI will make its way into wearables to provide highly bespoke and personalized user experiences while enabling substantial progress in genome research. Patients will become the epicenter of the healthcare ecosystem with DNA-based treatments to facilitate greater care equity and personalization. Robotics will play a more prominent role in surgeries due to significant advancements in edge computing. These megatrends also reflect the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for providers. We will be applying the Human factors principles, knowledge and research methods to enhance the safety, quality and efficiency of healthcare in remote settings.

A lot of what happens in the next 12 months will lay the foundation of a new healthcare ecosystem that will fundamentally change how healthcare experiences are delivered for the better.


(The author is Srinivas Iyengar, Vice President | Healthcare, Happiest Minds Technologies, and the views expressed in this article are his own)