When it comes to digital transformation, every industry has its moment. In healthcare, that moment is happening right now. With consumers accustomed to the convenience of virtual visits and other online services they used during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations and providers alike are ramping up every aspect of their digital game.

According to the HIMSS 2022 State of Healthcare Report, 99% of U.S. health system leaders surveyed said that digital transformation is a top-level priority. And while many of them say they’re still early in their journey, they’re expanding their capabilities fast. In fact, up to 80% of health systems plan to ramp up their digital health investments over the next five years.

To capitalize on the momentum, healthcare organizations, solution providers, and insurance providers must enhance their organic marketing strategies by embracing the latest healthcare technology trends. Our team at Conductor analyzed more than 21,500 searches related to healthcare, health insurance, dental insurance, pharma, biotech, medical devices, in-person and virtual care, electronic health records (EHR), healthcare apps, cybersecurity, and healthcare staffing

Top 8 digital health trends to follow in 2022

1. Telehealth: Is it here to stay?

Interest in telehealth peaked during the pandemic, but it’s not returning to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. Our research shows an 11% YoY increase for branded and non-branded telehealth terms. Yet over the past three months, MSV has decreased by 13%. Here are the search trends we’re seeing for “telehealth”:

  • Pre-pandemic: 27.1K MSV
  • Pandemic-era lockdowns: 386K MSV
  • Current state: 100K MSV 

Searches for “teletherapy” show a similar trajectory. They’re up 7% YoY but have trailed off in recent months.

2. EHRs are in high demand

Patients want access to their medical records, and they’d like to have that access on their smartphones. At the same time, healthcare organizations are in a race to move their medical records to the cloud. Add in a flurry of health system M&A activity, and it’s clear to see why interest in electronic health records (EHR) has never been higher. Search volume for branded and non-branded EHR and EMR (electronic medical records) terms grew 25% YoY, with EMR apps up 540% and hospital charting systems up 400%. 

Another healthcare technology trend driving high EHR interest: the emergence of EHRs for specific specialties, as seen by increasing MSV for ambulatory EHR, pediatric EHR, and urgent care EHR.

Trending searches for electronic health and medical records3. Virtual reality looms large

In last year’s report, the Conductor team explored the growth in searches for future trends in healthcare such as AI, machine learning, and Big Data. Since then, MSV in all of those areas remains steady, with no significant increase or decrease.

There is one rapidly emerging healthcare industry trend, however: virtual reality. Searches for “VR in healthcare” have seen a consistent positive increase, including a 49% boost in MSV over the past few months.

This increase is likely fueled by a VR market that is growing at 35% annually and may hit $40B by 2026. Top VR solutions in development include:

  • Platforms to treat color blindness, lazy eye, and other vision problems
  • AR headsets that providers can use to optimize robotic surgery
  • Surgical training systems
  • Solutions that can provide Alzheimer’s testing
  • Platforms that allow at-home participation for clinical trials

4. Medical apps take flight

The pandemic led more people to take charge of their health, which has created skyrocketing demand for medical apps of all types.

The clear leader is the Apple Health app, which earned a 14.8K MSV in March 2022. People use it to track their activity levels, the quality of their sleep, their vital signs, and much more. The app added multiple new features when iOS 15 rolled out last June, helping it increase in popularity.

Other top apps include Sydney Health from health insurer Anthem. It allows users to check symptoms, manage their health, dental, and vision plans, chat with a representative, and even host video visits. The GoodRx app, which helps consumers save money on prescription drugs, is another top performer.

An interesting pandemic-related app trend: 1.6K MSV for aruba health application. That’s the mobile COVID-19 resource administered by the Aruba Department of Health. Their landing pages are optimized to attract tourists.

Mobile apps that identify different types of medications attracted 4.8K MSV in March 2022.

5. Cybersecurity is a growing concern

A rise in digital health solutions leads to an obvious side-effect: a higher risk for cyberattacks. While search volume overall isn’t very high for “cybersecurity in healthcare”-related terms, searches for healthcare cybersecurity solutions are up 400% YoY.

Two interesting increases: searches for Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HCIP), a publication that features five potential threats and 10 mitigation tips to combat them, are up 300% YoY, while searches for IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) cybersecurity, are up 200% YoY.

Trending Searches about Healthcare Cybersecurity

Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. had their sensitive health data breached in 2021.

6. Precision health draws curiosity

Many leaders see precision health—focused on predicting disease and preventing future health problems—as a future trend in healthcare. Right now, search data shows that people are turning to Google to learn more about how precision health might work.

Terms related to precision health saw a 15% increase YoY. Many of these searches are informational in nature, with people looking for precision health examples, solution providers, and other helpful resources.

7. Hospital at home program spikes interest in remote healthcare monitoring

In November 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began its Acute Hospital at Home program, allowing hospitals to provide inpatient-level care inside a patient’s home. Today, 203 hospitals across 34 states participate.

As they work to optimize home care, many hospitals are seeking the latest in remote healthcare marketing devices. Searches for remote patient monitoring grew by 11% YoY, while searches for telehealth monitoring devices increased by 80% over the past three months alone.

8. Health career trends

With a reported one in five healthcare workers quitting their jobs since the pandemic began, the staffing crunch is all-too-real for hospitals and health systems. This has led to two interesting health career trends.

For one, travel nursing has emerged as a viable career option, with travel nurses earning $3,500 or more per week. Searches for travel nursing increased by 95% YoY. A look at Google Trends data shows a huge demand spike in February 2022, possibly due to proposed legislation that some people believe may lead to a travel nurse salary cap in the near future.

Search demand relating to travel nursing

Aside from the pay cap, searches for “travel nurse jobs” increased by 22% YoY, with search demand for travel RN jobs peaking at 49.5K MSV in January 2022. Another fascinating search surge: a 125% YoY increase in searches for “cross country travel nursing.”

Healthcare staffing continues to rise

The other emerging healthcare career trend is heightened interest in staffing agencies and solutions. Searches for healthcare and medical staffing-related terms grew by 59% YoY, with searches for nurse staffing agencies and medical staffing solutions in high demand.

Which staffing agencies are people searching for the most? Favorite Healthcare Staffing is the clear leader, attracting an MSV of 40.5K in March 2020. Their homepage offers clear and simple value propositions aimed at recruiting new nurses.

Who is leading the market for the evolving healthcare industry?

These B2B and B2C healthcare-related trending topics are just a glimpse of the complete healthcare industry analysis. Read the full report to learn: 

  • Which companies are leading the market in healthcare, health insurance, virtual care, and dental insurance
  • How top providers are using organic marketing strategies to drive search traffic
  • Tips on how to develop personas

Download the full report to stay on top of the latest healthcare industry trends.

Top Market Leaders in the Health Insurance field