Trends act as a navigating compass to direct where a field is headed and what its future could potentially look like. Same is the case with healthcare trends that signify the new industry standards and what technologies would be governing the years to come. Acknowledging these trends helps in understanding how the patient needs have transformed and the ways to achieve these new expectations.
While there may be resistance pertaining to the implementation of these trends because of fear of failure, that cannot take away from the fact that the healthcare revolution is sure to come. An MNC in its study stated that the industry is likely to save $60 billion in the longer run if they invest in the right technological interventions today.
This alone accounts for how the industry is set to be redefined. Here are some 7 trends that could dominate the healthcare sector in 2021.
1. Wearable Devices/IoT
Wearable devices are a great way of redefining health. Via a combination of technologies including hardware, predictions, and phone apps, it helps profoundly with disease management.
Ever since the first wearable device was launched, it was quite clear that it will have an impact on healthcare. However, it was not predicted that the impact could be of such wide scope. Now with the connection of wearable devices with apps and websites, it is possible to manage and share records instantly.
As of 2021, it will help share records quicker and get precision in terms of diagnosis. In fact, many diseases will be managed on the go with a constant flow of information.
Blockchain is basically a permanent digital record that is open and immutable. It stands apart from a standard ledger in the sense that it cannot be meddled with based on whim and fancies, and it is not centralized. Rather, it is present on numerous networks.
In terms of the medical field, it is useful because it promotes transactions, be it of monetary nature or of significant information, like electronic medical records. The usage intention of a blockchain is quite straightforward- storing all forms of interactions between patients and healthcare providers as one blockchain.
Additionally, blockchain also helps derive relevant data for medical research studies. Till now, the highest potential of blockchain for the medical industry has not been explored. But 2021 is expected to be the year for the same.
The potential of telemedicine was never explored in a manner as it has been since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the norms of social distancing and lockdown, people sorted it out through online/distance consultation, which proved beneficial in basic disease management. This way people acknowledged how visiting a healthcare provider is not necessary if the job could be done from the comfort of home.
A survey conducted to understand satisfaction levels with telehealth visits. Surprisingly, 97% of people were happy with their first time telehealth experience. Furthermore, 74% of them acknowledged the role of this technology in bringing them closer to their healthcare provider. This suggests that we are certainly headed in the right direction.
However, there are certain impediments in the path of widespread adoption of telemedicine. To ensure surging of this trend, common issues like security concerns, liability issues, state laws, etc. must be dealt with.
4. Big Data
Pertaining to the amount of data medical professionals deal with every day, Big Data is one of the most sensible trends in the present day system. Right from basic information related to anatomy and physiology to complex details like DNA, RNA, etc., it is important to make sense of this huge cluster of information. Here comes the role of Big Data that helps in analyzing these huge chunks and categorizing them into comprehensible pieces.
Now it is possible to create a medical map of each patient, which was not back in the day. However, in the present day, not only is it important, but vital to diagnosis and future treatment plans.
Every now and then, we discard data that could prove quite insightful when interpreted properly. And that is exactly what big data does for us. Considering how the medical industry has been overspending by an estimated $600 billion in the US, a trend like big data could help save a lot.
5. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence has now found a way in most industries and healthcare is no exception. In the medical setting, it is being used for dual purposes. Firstly, it helps analyze large, complex data. Secondly, it could improve the accuracy of disease detection. Now AI is being used to analyze mammograms instead of biopsies. With Artificial Intelligence, the process has become 30 times faster with 99% accuracy.
Not only this, AI has expanded its horizons in the field of drug discovery and research. Currently, the time span for drugs reaching from labs to patients is a whopping 12 years. This new trend is sure to cut this time considerably.
6. Mobile Applications
As the wearable market is surging, so is the medical mobile application market. Now both patients and doctors can access the record at the tap of the finger. What is pleasantly surprising is the fact that 80% of physicians have begun using mobile apps at work to get hold of the latest information. This not only helps them provide personalized care to patients, but also make informed decisions.
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Back in the day, the biggest issue with storing information digitally was how it compromised on the safety and security of the patients. Healthcare providers require the management of an insane amount of data that comes from numerous sources. Glitch in any aspect of the data can lead to corruption of the whole system.
Centralized systems for storage require constant paying for storing and maintaining data. However, with cloud technology, you need not worry about maintenance. You are paying for what you get. Additionally, the decentralized nature of the cloud ensures that information is more secure and not just residing at one place.
Healthcare is a prominent industry in terms of technological interventions being incorporated each day. Since the pandemic, the use of technology has just multiplied, making some trends quite prominent for 2021. The effective incorporation of these measures will help in navigating the future face of the healthcare industry.