In the past one year COVID-19 has highlighted the weakness of the healthcare ecosystems across the globe. Along with COVID-19, the rise of chronic diseases and the increasing aging population are predicted to dictate the future of healthcare. Let’s have a look at how the healthcare industry is going to look like in the future.
1. Digital Health
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for the healthcare sector. It exhausted medical resources and disrupted the healthcare system. However, on a positive note COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of online medical services. Overnight, plenty of technologies were widely accepted by medical professionals and the general public.
Due to social distancing and quarantining norms, many people across the globe resorted to technologies such as telehealth when they wanted to seek medical advice.
Even though telemedicine has been around for many years, patients were reluctant to try it before the pandemic. However, the need to limit in-person meetings in 2020 made telehealth go mainstream. According to research, 48% of doctors were seeing patients virtually in 2020 as compared to 18% in 2018. The study also identified that people have become more willing to try telehealthcare since the pandemic started.
With more people engaging in telehealth services than ever before, digital health might redefine the future of healthcare. In the future, with the help of remote diagnostics and remote monitoring, digital health might lead the world closer to a preventive healthcare model.
2. Data & Intelligent Algorithms
Data analytics has been changing the face of industries across the world. This holds true for the healthcare sector as well. Many facets of the healthcare ecosystem have started relying more on data more and more each year. The health information gathered is not only being used to improve the health of the overall population, but it is also being used to improve the various treatment of individuals.
Intelligent algorithms have the potential to transform both the diagnosis and the treatment of several medical conditions. Doctors are no longer using electronic medical records only for billing services. They are using medical records to provide better care by analyzing patient conditions, enhancing support, and monitoring the medical journey.
“Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of DNA”.
In the past few years, cell and gene therapies have increasingly emerged as a promising treatment option for a myriad of complex clinical conditions. In public health, genomic information will allow the tracking and implementation of strategies against epidemics such as swine flu and Zika virus.
Genomics is also being used to track genetic disorders such as cancer and sickle disease that arise from malignant mutations in the human DNA. Testing a person’s genetic makeup and the tumor DNA currently play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of various inherited cancers.
4. Internet Of Things (loT) In Healthcare
In the future, the exchange of data among a network of physical devices will play a critical role in patient care. Internet Of Things will be a huge breakthrough in healthcare as it will make remote patient monitoring and treatment progress observation a lot easier for healthcare professionals.
According to Intel, by 2025 the loT industry will reach a market size of $6.2 trillion, 30% of which will be from healthcare.
5. Virtual & Augmented Reality
AR & VR are expected to enhance the quality of telehealth in the coming years. As seen in science fiction movies virtual and augmented reality could soon become a common reality in the healthcare sector.
As of today, AR and VR technologies are showing promising results in helping stroke victims overcome motor deficiencies. The simulated environment of the VR technology is currently providing patients more flexibility than physical therapy. The controlled simulations are also being used to gather the progress of patients to help tailor better care plans.
Some healthcare providers are also using VR technology to work with individuals who suffer from cognitive impairments. Doctors are using VR headsets to improve the emotional well-being of patients by accessing various activities and experiences that would otherwise be unavailable in a hospital environment.
The Future Of Healthcare
COVID-19 is not the only battle to be won in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals across the globe have fought many silent battles with several diseases in the past. The future of healthcare will be favorably shaped based on everything the past has taught the industry.
With the growth of telehealth, wearable technology, and the internet of things, there will definitely be a greater emphasis on the gathering and analysis of large amounts of data. This might also shift our entire healthcare ecosystem towards a more preventive approach rather than a reactive approach towards health.