Healthcare Technology Trends
How We Overestimate Tech’s Short-Term Impact and Underestimate Its Long-Term Impact
During the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing lots of articles listing the most important stories of 2018 and predictions for 2019 healthcare trends. Here’s our prediction: There will be very little difference between last year’s and this year’s predictions.
Why? Trends don’t happen in predictable blocks of time. Usually the things we think are speeding past us are actually moving quite slow. A technology trend can take decades—20 years, some experts say—to mature into something that’s viable, usable or real. (Has anyone yet to see a self-driving car on the street in your town?)
The late scientist and futurist Roy Amara is credited with “Amara’s Law,” an adage about forecasting short-term and long-term effects of new technology:
We tend to overestimate the effect of a new technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
Amara’s Law was later illustrated by a line chart from research company Gartner that calls it the “hype cycle.”
Your success, over time, will likely be impacted by some of the trends you’ll hear about this year—but that impact may not be felt for some time.
- Be aware of trends. | But don’t be obsessed.
- Be aware of their context. | Certain trends can have an impact on one aspect of the healthcare industry, but not another. If a new technology can provide you with a competitive advantage, it’s time for you to learn all you can about that trend.
- Be skeptical, but not in denial. | Changing technology may not put you out of business today, but over time, you’ll have to keep up with changes in price and efficiency.
The Challenge of Predicting Healthcare Trends | Healthcare marketers are especially challenged by the slow pace of the adoption of the “new.” For reasons ranging from regulations to the need for buy-in from a wide-range of stakeholders, trends in the healthcare marketplace can make adaptation to change seem especially slow. But don’t give up on the future. It always arrives … one day.
Photo | Getty images
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