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The Top Healthcare & Life Sciences Digital Trends for 2020

Alexa Cushman
December 17, 2019

As we head into 2020, it's amazing to reflect on how much technology has affected healthcare and life sciences in the last decade alone. Ten years ago I never would have imagined Facetiming a doctor on my phone for a minor illness and having it cost less than going to a physical doctor's office.

The new year is ripe with opportunities for healthcare and life sciences organizations, including: improving patient and member outcomes, reducing readmissions, and encouraging consumers to own their healthcare journeys, from in-person appointments to calling into a customer service center to staying in touch through a mobile device.

Here are some of the top healthcare and life sciences tech trends we see leading the way into the next decade.

    • Supply Chain: The implementation of digital control towers across the life sciences and healthcare supply chain have the potential to ensure the accuracy, authenticity, and safety of products in transit, protect against fraud and counterfeiting, and enhance corporate responsibility. This aspect of the life sciences and healthcare supply chain will garner more attention as it helps improve patient outcomes in 2020.

    • Intelligent Contact Center: As we've seen over the past decade, customer service is key to working with patients and clinicians. To this end, organizations are establishing trusted contact centers for them to call with questions, report adverse reactions, or to clear up billing disputes. In 2020, the technology's role in enhanced customer experiences across channels, will be even more vital.

    • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): According to Gartner, RPA, a foundational component of enterprise automation, will reach mainstream adoption in the next five to ten years.1 Many healthcare payers have been establishing RPA centers of excellence to engage digital workers in the difficult task of automating legacy processes and recognize RPA's potential. RPA infuses a "digital-first" spirit into transformation initiatives and has the power to automate routine and standalone approvals for utilization management and prior authorization. By increasing speed and accuracy, healthcare organizations can approve claims and process payments faster, leading to more satisfied customers.

    • Patient and Member Data Security: Over the past decade, healthcare organizations have recognized that protecting Private Health Information (PHI) requires security measures that only allow authorized users to see a person's record. Organizations have also had to heighten their awareness around external security threats. Medical identity theft nearly doubled between 2010-2015, and a hacker stands to make an average of $20,000 in profit on each breached healthcare record.2 In such a security environment, it's more important than ever heading into 2020 that all healthcare organizations store PHI in a secure environment that's on HIPAA, HITRUST, and ISO certified cloud environment. These certifications help organizations ensure compliance and decrease the vulnerability to outside threats.

    • Low-Code: Healthcare and life sciences organizations require both speed and strict attention to detail. Meanwhile, patients and members want their healthcare issues resolved quickly and easily, with convenient access to new drugs and devices. Low-code makes this possible. From onboarding new physicians faster to improving time to market for new pharmaceuticals, low-code's capabilities and support will play a key role in helping healthcare and life sciences organizations improve outcomes.

    • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Organizations are looking to AI to deliver personalized experiences, identify opportunities for growth, drive more efficient operations, and sharpen their focus on patients and providers. In both life sciences and healthcare, AI has the ability to streamline processes and improve quality assurance, contributing to better patient outcomes all around. Over the last few years we've seen AI identify disease diagnosis in some cases with the same accuracy as physicians.3

    • Internet of Things (IoT): As a large quantity of the U.S. population ages, wearables and condition tracking devices bring patients, caregivers, and family members together in the healthcare journeys. These devices range from personal smart watches to glucose monitoring devices for patients with diabetes.4

2020 will be an exciting year for the Appian healthcare and life sciences team. We will be participating in several global events, including SCOPE Summit, HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition, Appian World, DIA Europe, DIA Global Annual Meeting, and HLTH.

To learn more about taking advantage of key trends in the industry, please learn more about how Appian helps for healthcare and life sciences organizations. We'll set up a time to talk about your organization's goals and how Appian can help you achieve them.

Alexa Cushman

Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences


1Mandi Bishop, Jeff Cribbs, and Bryan Cole, "Hype Cycle for U.S. Healthcare Payers, 2019," Gartner,

(July 18, 2019)

2Marla Korolov "Criminal attacks now surpass accidental breaches in healthcare," CSO from IDG Communications (May 7, 2015)

3Nicole Martin "Artificial Intelligence Is Being Used To Diagnose Disease And Design New Drugs" Forbes (September 30, 2019)

4"10 Examples of the Internet of Things in Healthcare," Econsultancy, (February 1, 2019)