2021 may be behind us but the presence of COVID-19 still lingers on. It became a major mark in history. Life will be marked in an unusual way- pre-Covid-19 and post. The Covid-19 has impacted everyone, be it financially, physically, emotionally or in any other way. Everyone has faced the wrath of the pandemic.
The regular working of businesses and industries has been ruptured, altering many forever. The healthcare industry has faced immense disruption and has been altered forever. The coronavirus pandemic challenged the medical world and humanity at large. It brought to light the need for constant innovation, digitization and constant technological advancement.
The pandemic changed people’s attitudes towards healthcare. In the pre-pandemic times, people sought clinical visits in case of any medical need. After the pandemic havoc, a majority of the people would prefer a digital diagnosis unless and until a clinical visit is necessary. Lockdown and pandemic have changed the outlook towards digitalization in healthcare.
While many digital health trends gained traction during the pandemic, some will remain on the rising curve as they will revolutionize the future of healthcare.
Telehealth uses telecommunication technologies to provide healthcare services remotely. Tablets, mobile phones and laptops facilitate the ease of delivery. The pandemic may have brought this to the limelight but this trend will stay. The reasons are simple—convenience and easy access for patients in remote areas.
People have become habituated to a seamless digital experience of scheduling appointments, consultations and receiving advice on their health. Telehealth will become a critical element in the healthcare industry because it aids in the improvement of the patient experience and care.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence has created waves in various industries, especially the healthcare industry. It is more than just a passing trend. This technology will shape all facets of the industry which is evident from the fact that people are investing millions in it.
AI can efficiently process information. It provides the medical experts with data which when clubbed with their experience can improve the decision-making capacities. AI changes the focal perspective of healthcare from the treatment of diseases to their prevention.
With AI, medical experts can make decisions based on their experience and the data, taking their decision-making to a whole new level. Thanks to AI, the future of healthcare could be preventive measures rather than treatment. AI can be used to establish early diagnosis wherein it is possible to foresee a possible illness before its symptoms are visible.
The importance of preventive medicine can be analyzed when seen in the light of severe and fatal diseases like cancer.
The healthcare industry is not untouched by the constant innovation in technology. The past saw an individual going for a yearly physical exam or visiting the physician only when something didn’t feel right. In this digital age, people are more aware and are focused on prevention rather than cure. They demand information as they have made their health a priority.
The advancement of wearables is an applaudable technological innovation. It has given every individual the ability to observe their health status which is an incredible achievement. Smartwatches have become widely popular increasing their potential to be used in the healthcare industry. The high-risk patients can be monitored effortlessly to prevent any fatal health episode, simply by using a smartwatch.
The wearable medical device market has seen an upward trend owing to the pandemic and is expected to continue on that path for a long time.
4. Big Data
Big data is an aggregate of information about a business collected through various sources. Patterns and trends are analyzed through enormous amounts of information. It has become a hot topic in the past decade owing to its potential.
Healthcare service providers must be equipped with correct and relevant information at all times. An appropriate analysis of the big data would provide solutions relevant to improving the healthcare industry. Efficient management and analysis of big data can open major avenues in the future of medicine.
From the facilitation of preventive healthcare to lower medication errors—the scope is vast. It is not only important in patient-care but is also important at the corporate level. This is the reason that is pushing healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to invest in organizing data.
5. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality was best suited to video games a couple of years ago. However, in the present scenario, their scope is way beyond gaming or entertainment.
The healthcare industry is not untouched by VR. It helps with surgical training and planning. It enables the surgeons to get comfortable with the procedures before performing them. It is also used to supplement the traditional training methods for interns. The surgical interns who receive VR training are better equipped in surgery.
Another major application of VR is to treat mental illnesses like anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders and phobias.
Although the environment is artificial, the simulation creates real-life scenarios, which gives them opportunities to understand what needs to be done in reality.