The Trendy Awards: The Official List of Trendiest (and least trendiest!) Healthcare Technology Topics



It’s that time of year. It’s award season in Hollywood and everyone seems to be getting in the act. In the glamorous world of healthcare IT, we forego the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys and hereby announce nominees for the “Trendys,” our list of the topics and issues healthcare professionals will be focused on in the year ahead.

A recent poll of CIOs from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) found Interoperability solutions as the IT trend with the most potential to make a tangible, positive impact in the next two years. Coincidentally, two others that made that list, Blockchain and Cloud Computing, are also cited as the most “over-hyped” technology trends of 2018.

But polls are just that; a collection of opinions based on individual interest and concerns. Our Trendy nominees were selected for a different reason. Using Google Analytics, our staff analyzed prominent health tech keywords to identify trending topics (up and down) and determine how those trends have shifted over time.

The Trendys: The Hottest Healthcare Technology Topics of 2018The nominees for this year’s Healthcare IT Trendys are:


2018 Trend Score: 86
2013 Trend Score: 64
Change: +22

There’s been a long-term trend of growing interest in the topic of telemedicine over the past five years, with the lowest search interest occurring around December 2014. According to Google Trends data, the most interest in telemedicine is generated from Ethiopia, followed by Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda, with the United States rounding out the top five.

Big Data

2018 Trend Score: 77
2013 Trend Score: 41
Change: +36

Interestingly, a look at Google Trends data for Big Data over the past five years reveals a dip in interest each year around December. Overall, interest in Big Data has been gaining ground pretty steadily since 2013, with the most interest in the term being generated from St. Helena, followed by Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and China. In terms of interest by region, the U.S. doesn’t land in the top five for Big Data. It’s worth noting that Internet of Things is ranked #5 among related topics, and related search terms include “IoT Big Data” and “IoT” – another topic earning a spot in our 2018 Trendys awards.

RTLS and Location Services


2018 Trend Score: 64
2013 Trend Score: 81
Change: -17

Location Services:

2018 Trend Score: 41
2013 Trend Score: 61
Change: -20

The long-term trend for RTLS (real-time location services) shows a slight decline from five years ago, although the term hit its highest peak in search demand (during the five-year period in our analysis) in March 2017. Most of the interest in RTLS originates from Belarus, followed by Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, and Singapore. In reviewing Google Trends data for Location Services, we found a peak in interest in September 2013 and a comparable long-term trend to RTLS. Interest by region data shows the most interest in Location services originating from the United Arab Emirates, followed by Singapore, Philippines, and Australia, with the U.S. rounding out the top five.

Patient Experience

2018 Trend Score: 68
2013 Trend Score: 52
Change: +16

December 2013 marked the lowest interest in Patient Experience per Google Trends data, with a long-term, five-year interest trend on the upswing and a peak in interest in April 2017. Most interest in Patient Experience originates from the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Australia, Canada, and Philippines.

Cloud Computing

2018 Trend Score: 48
2013 Trend Score: 94
Change: -46

The lowest interest level over the past five years in Cloud Computing was in late December 2015 – early January 2016. Since then, interest in Cloud Computing has remained relatively steady with a slight increase, other than a few dips in interest in December each year. The long-term, five-year trend shows a decrease in interest, a phenomenon likely attributable to the concept now being mainstream across many industries. Related topics include Internet of Things, Big Data, Hypervisor, Open Stack, and Analytics. Most interest in Cloud Computing originates from India, followed by Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

IoT (Internet of Things)

2018 Trend Score: 62
2013 Trend Score: 48
Change: +14

Interest over the past five years for Internet of Things hit a peak at the end of October – early November 2016. For the search term “IoT,” interest started rising around August 2014 and has been on a relatively steady rise since that time, with a few of the usual December dips in interest that occurs across many of the terms in this year’s Trendys. Artificial Intelligence, another term on our list, is among the top five related topics for IoT. Most interest for IoT originates from South Korea, followed by St. Helena, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality:

2018 Trend Score: 20
2013 Trend Score: 3
Change: +17

Augmented Reality:

2018 Trend Score: 39
2013 Trend Score: 36
Change: +3

Unlike most terms that experience dips in interest in December, Virtual Reality hit its highest peak in interest over the past five years in December 2017 (likely attributable to the non-healthcare applications of VR). The long-term, five-year trend shows that interest in this term is on a slow but relatively steady rise – with most interest originating from the United States, followed by the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Interest in Augmented Reality peaked in July 2016 and has a slightly lower long-term growth trend compared to Virtual Reality, but overall five-year growth in interest is also positive for AR. 

3D Printing and 3D Imaging / Display

3D Printing:

2018 Trend Score: 61
2013 Trend Score: 48
Change: +13

3D Imaging:

2018 Trend Score: 58
2013 Trend Score: 99
Change: -41

3D Display:

2018 Trend Score: 50
2013 Trend Score: 94
Change: -44

May 2013 marked the highest peak in interest in 3D Printing over the past five years, and overall interest has remained relatively steady during that period. The most interest in 3D Printing originates from Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Both 3D Imaging and 3D Display have negative long-term growth trends over the past five years. 

Artificial Intelligence

2018 Trend Score: 85
2013 Trend Score: 28
Change: +57

Artificial Intelligence is a term that appears in related topics for several other healthcare technology terms in this year’s Trendys, and it’s a term that has had a remarkable growth in interest over the past year, as well as over the long-term, five-year period. In fact, in looking at the five-year Google Trends chart, it’s difficult to pick out a specific peak or low point in interest, but it’s clear that the overall trend is on a steady incline. The most interest in Artificial Intelligence originates from Ethiopia, followed by Zimbabwe, Nepal, Pakistan, and India. Admittedly, we’re a bit surprised that the U.S. isn’t even in the top five regions for interest in this term.


2018 Trend Score: 63
2013 Trend Score: 91
Change: -28

December 2015 marked the lowest interest in the past five years for Interoperability, according to Google Trends data. Overall, interest is lower for the term compared to five years ago, although it’s been a gradual decline with many peaks and valleys in the trend graph. The most interest in Interoperability originates from Singapore, followed by St. Helena, Ghana, Kenya, and India. Related trending topics include VMware Horizon View and VMware vSphere, while VMware product interoperability matrixes lands in the top five related search queries.


2018 Trend Score: 67
2013 Trend Score: 1
Change: +66

Blockchain has had one of the largest gains in interest over the past five years, which is logically attributable to the fact that it was essentially unheard of back in 2013. Interest began to rise in the second quarter of 2016 and reached its highest peak just recently, in December 2017, according to Google Trends data, although entering February, it begins to wane slightly. The most interest in Blockchain originates from Ghana, followed by China, Singapore, Mt. Helena, and Nigeria.

What is the Future of Healthcare Technology in Relation to These Trends?

So what does it all mean? That depends on your interpretation. We know from our own clients that Cloud Computing and Interoperability are on the minds of every healthcare CIO, but it’s clear from these statistics that the IT leaders we talk to aren’t necessarily doing their research on the web. Other “Top Trend Lists” suggest immense curiosity about artificial intelligence as it relates to data analytics. They also reference Blockchain, thanks to the Bitcoin frenzy. But before you follow someone else’s trend, remember that both technologies are in their infancy when it comes to healthcare applications.

So for what it’s worth, roll out the red carpet and raise your glasses. Here’s to this year’s Trendy award winners.