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Digital Disruption in Health Care: New Opportunities for Tech Skills and Startups  

December 7, 2023

Technology is changing the way that providers give and patients receive health care. Digital tools help with almost every aspect of medical care, from record-keeping and treatment tracking to diagnostic images and wearable devices providing real-time vital-sign readings. 

The journal Healthcare points to technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) as examples of recent tech advances in the sector. Other digital tools, such as electronic health records (EHRs), are almost universal, with 96% of U.S. hospitals relying on digital platforms for record-keeping, coding, medical histories and insurance billing. 

These new technologies make health care providers’ jobs easier and produce better results for many patients. The reliance on tech has also opened up many new job opportunities in health care. People with technical skills in areas like data analytics, software development and cybersecurity are currently in high demand, as are those with knowledge of health informatics and medical coding and record-keeping. 

Here is a closer look at how tech is changing the health care industry and how you can take advantage of the new opportunities this transformation is producing in the job market. 

How Is Digital Disruption Changing the Health Care Industry? 

Many of the technologies affecting health care also have applications in other industries. AI is automating tasks and generating content for consumers and employees in many different sectors. The IoT produces data and enables remote control in homes and businesses. Meanwhile, new communication platforms like video conferencing enable remote work and allow doctors to examine patients without a face-to-face office visit. 

Here is a look at three of the most consequential tech advances in the health care sector.

Artificial Intelligence 

AI is becoming more and more integrated in health care. Forecasts suggest the global AI health care market will be worth $188 billion by 2030 and could experience a 37% compound annual growth rate between 2022 and 2030. 

Here is a look at the ways AI is transforming medical care. 

  • AI-powered virtual nursing assistants can answer basic health care questions, collect patient information for triage, and forward data to human providers for assessment. IBM explains that this technology can handle basic tasks and free up medical staff for more important health care processes. 
  • AI-enhanced diagnostic software is extremely accurate. The programs can review medical data and imaging to find patterns and indicators humans often miss. For example, mammograms have a 50% false positive rate, but AI-powered software can detect breast cancer in the images with 99% accuracy, reviewing 30 images in the time it takes a human to assess one. 
  • Other AI applications can detect medical fraud. Programmers can train AI software to find patterns that indicate fraud, false insurance claims, and other illegitimate malpractice claims. The software mines EHRs and other data to find evidence, which it sends to a human investigator for follow-up. 

AI also has a variety of data analysis applications. It can sift through huge amounts of operational information and offer insights that help administrators make positive changes to improve outcomes, efficiency or privacy. 

Internet of Things 

The Internet of Things (IoT) uses connected sensors to collect data or remotely control devices. The market, which was worth $252 billion in 2022, is currently driven by smartphones, wearable monitoring devices, and patient and equipment tracking systems.

Here are the most common applications for IoT systems in health care. 

  • Remote patient monitoring involves collecting data through wearable devices. The data goes to monitoring software via cellular or Wi-Fi connection. It can be used for analysis or to alert doctors of a potential emergency. In addition to vital signs like heart rate, these devices can monitor conditions like asthma and diabetes
  • Smart tags can transmit the location of equipment within a hospital. Small devices can prevent loss by tracking valuable portable equipment like oxygen pumps or defibrillator carts. Tags can also help staff quickly locate items in an emergency.
  • Wearable IoT devices can also track patients and staff within a facility. These devices make it easy to find people when needed, and their location history can also help analysts find bottlenecks and inefficiencies. 

Medical facilities have strict ventilation, climate and moisture requirements. IoT devices can monitor conditions in real-time, and adjust climate controls or vents as needed. 


Telemedicine is increasingly popular. In 2021, 37% of adults used telemedicine services. This trend is aided by the increasing quality and accessibility of video conferencing tools and platforms that make real-time communications possible. 

Here is a look at advances in telemedicine:

  • Video conferencing platforms make it possible for medical professionals to examine patients remotely, ask about symptoms, and provide information in real-time. These platforms are useful for addressing minor health problems and gaining information to see if an in-person visit is necessary. 
  • Telehealth also involves communications between health care professionals. Store-and-forward features allow doctors to securely transmit images and data to specialists for analysis. 

Remote patient monitoring is also an aspect of telehealth, with devices transmitting vital signs and other data to health care professionals for ongoing monitoring. Doctors can use this data to track treatment progress or streamline video or office visits. 

How Is Disruption Changing the Health Care Job Market? 

The rapid development of digital tools and systems has increased demand for people with specific technical skills. The health care industry relies heavily on cloud computing for easy access to records, data and analytics to inform everything from administrative decision-making to diagnostics. 

Here are the specialties that are increasingly important in the health care job market. 

Cloud Computing  

A 2023 survey found that 70% of medical facilities use cloud-based computing, with 20% planning to move to the cloud in the next two years. A majority of those planning cloud migration expect to use outside experts to help with the process. Cloud developers play an integral role in the process.

Health care providers need people with knowledge of cloud platforms like AWS and Azure to help with developing and customizing software during and after cloud migration. Cybersecurity is an important aspect of this process, as is network administration. Hospitals are frequent targets for hackers, so administrators and cybersecurity specialists are essential for successful cloud operations. 

Health Data Analysis 

The digitization of health care processes makes it possible to collect huge amounts of data. Data analytics specialists sift through this information to find insights to help with various aspects of health care operations. 

Analysts work on both clinical and administrative projects. They can find ways to improve outcomes for patients or look at operational data to find areas to cut costs or improve efficiency. 

Data scientists and developers can create algorithms to automate analysis, organize and visualize data, and create forecasts that predict future trends. 

Health Informatics  

People with training in health informatics have long been in demand, but the digitization of health care has made these information systems experts more important than ever. 

Health care providers’ needs are unique, and they rely on IT specialists like informaticists to find the best ways to transmit, save, and access relevant tools and information. 

Informatics specialists are charged with ensuring systems are secure and accurate. They also ensure systems improve workflow and outcomes. 

How Can You Find a Career in Health Care Technology? 

The digital disruption of the health care industry is opening new opportunities for people with tech skills. Specific programs, like a master’s degree in health informatics, can provide industry-specific knowledge to begin a new career path. You can apply for a program and seek financial aid, or hone your skills by preparing for a health care IT-related certification program. 

The growth of cloud computing, AI and IoT applications in health care means the opportunities will continue to increase in the coming years, so a degree or training program could open doors to a rewarding and lucrative career.