The biggest healthcare tech trends in 2018

Looking at health in 2018, we can expect to see more in the way self-care gadgets, data and artificial intelligence, blockchain and online services, says Andrew Rose, sector Manager – Life Sciences and Health at Liverpool City Region LEP & Health Innovation Exchange partner.

In every industry, the start of the year, is a time for looking forward and thinking about what trends will define the year ahead. In no industry, though, is this perhaps more the case than in tech, due in no small part to the start of January playing host to the world’s biggest tech event, CES, in Las Vegas.

Healthcare is by no means immune to technological advances, if you’ll pardon the pun, and there are a wealth of round-up articles online looking at what we can expect in healthcare tech over the coming year.  You can consider this a round-up of the round-ups, taking the temperature of health-tech as a whole based on the diagnoses of others. So, without further ado, here’s the prognosis…

Proliferating gadgets

Not so long ago, the consumer healthcare tech market seemed to comprise solely of fitness trackers. Not so, now. As the appetite and need for people to take control of their own health have increased, so too have the number of consumer healthcare gadgets available – and indeed the purposes they fulfil.

Digital Health, among others, picked up on technology giant Nokia’s move into the sleep tech, with its Nokia Sleep, an an internet-connected pad that slips under your mattress to deliver all manner of insight into sleep patterns through specially designed sensors. It also picked up on the Sommnox robotic pillow that “breathes” in and out to encourage sleep by helping people to relax and regulate their breathing. Meanwhile, CNET, meanwhile, picked up on a tiny wearable UV sensor from L’Oreal, that measures sun exposure and provides notifications to users via an accompanying app.

Data & artificial intelligence

Away from new gadgets, new trends dominate, and perhaps none more so this year than data and artificial intelligence (AI). Healthcare is by no means the only industry in which they are expected to make a big impact this year, but they’re certainly expected to have some significant applications. They’re being variously touted as a means of improving diagnosis, calculating recovery times and improving workouts. One example of this is our  programme partner Alder Hey Children’s Hospital’s Alder Play app, a new iPhone and Android app that combines gaming, augmented reality and cognitive computing to help young patients and their parents.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital’s Alder Play app allows patients to choose and name an avatar that helps them understand their hospital visit before they arrive for a procedure and then helps calm them during their stay.


Created to run the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, a blockchain is a distributed, secure, online ledger of transactions which holds promise in the healthcare sector. Although they still embryonic, there are suggestions from TechTarget and others that blockchain technology will come into use for protecting and exchanging healthcare data.

If you think you have a technology that could rival the above, get in touch with the Health Innovation Exchange to see how we can help accelerate your business.