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2023 Digital Health Wrap Up

Here's a closer look at the key trends, topics, and stories that influenced and shaped the digital health world in 2023.
By admin
Dec 21, 2023, 3:49 PM

From the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency to the explosion of AI-powered digital health tools, 2023 will be a year to remember. Here’s a compilation of the key topics, trends, and stories that have shaped the digital health world this year and captured the attention of DHI readers.


Behavioral Health 

There was a significant increase in funding for behavioral healthcare in both the public and private sector, catalyzing innovative collaborations between both sectors aiming to address the teen mental health crisis. Digital mental health tools leveraged social media and content creators to meet young patients where they are: online.  

Key trends: U.S. Loneliness epidemic; Biden announces $200 million for mental health initiatives; and public school districts partner with virtual mental healthcare companies 

Therapists can now prescribe ketamine 

Apple unveils mental health tracking app 

Tech giants sued over youth mental health crisis 

Mental health app leverages social media for good  

Loneliness epidemic looms over U.S. 



From global espionage to highly sophisticated cybergangs, healthcare cyber adversaries and threats have become more complex, impactful, and costly. HCOs have adopted zero trust models as bad actors infiltrate anywhere they can; MFA, IoT devices, and staff cell phones. 

Key trends: smishing, phishing, multi-factor authentication loopholes, and the growth of government-backed cyber gangs 

Cybersecurity global threat report

Health at home raises cybersecurity level 

Protecting healthcare systems against ransomware attacks 

Cloud risk report 

Healthcare staff cell phones under cyberthreat 


Artificial Intelligence  

Generative AI made a significant impact in healthcare this year, showcasing transformative potential across various sectors including diagnostic accuracy, drug discovery, clinical decision support, and clinical documentation. AI’s capabilities are reshaping the landscape and setting the stage for unprecedented advancements. 

Key trends: AI for relieving clinical documentation burdens, providing clinical decision support, and making sense of unstructured data 

Decision support tools under scrutiny 

Scientists use AI to discover new antibiotic  

First fully AI-generated drug enters clinical trials 

Teledoc, Microsoft bring AI to telehealth  

Few health systems have a generative AI strategy 


Public Policy  

The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency paved the way for new long-term health strategies, while the FTC and HHS grew weary over hospitals’ use of data trackers. Leaders worldwide struggle over how exactly to regulate AI.   

Key trends: Battle over third-party data trackers; everyone wants to regulate AI, but no one knows how; COVID-19 is over, now what? 

COVID-19 global health emergency over, says WHO 

FTC investigates Google, Amazon 

Leaders prepare for the next pandemic 

What does Biden’s executive order on AI mean for healthcare?  

AHA sues HHS over data tracker ban 


Data Exchange 

Patients demand better access to their health records, and many HCOs still don’t tap into available data exchanges to gather more robust patient data. Technological, financial, and privacy issues are the top barriers. ONC made it clear this year it will not tolerate info blocking and started levying fines in September.  

Key trends: patients are frustrated and lack faith in health records availability; info blockers face tougher enforcement; TEFCA implementation promises interoperability progress 

Health info exchange lags in small hospitals  

Patients not happy with health data access 

Prior authorizations are stuck in the past 

TEFCA gets green light from most hosptials 

Information blocking fines in full force  


Top Breaches 

In 2023, there were fewer breaches but more records were leaked per breach, with an average of 7.5 million records exposed per month. Also this year – lawsuits abound over exposed data due to third party data trackers as the AHA, HHS, and FTC fight over how they should be used. 

Key trends: Was it a cyberattack or data trackers? Patients sue over exposed records but some argue it’s just modern marketing  

87 million patients have experience a data breach in 2023 so far 

It’s not just GoodRx; Hospitals sell patient data too 

Data trackers might be a HIPAA loophole 

HCA data breach affects 11 million patients 

Payer’s $1.3M HIPAA settlement a cautionary tale 


Health Equity 

Health equity took center stage this year with the introduction of new ICD-10 codes that aim to understand social determinants of health, including race, income, language, and access to food. The problem is, how are we going to apply that data to improve health outcomes?  

Key trends: Black maternal health crisis, SDOH data solutions, modern medicine’s history of racial and gender bias hampers the potential of AI 

Cedars-Sinai faces civil rights investigation 

AI bias due to human, not technical, issue 

Techquity – Leave no patient behind 

Is healthcare’s ‘pink tax’ affecting affordable care for women?  

New ICD-10 address poverty’s effect on health  

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