The 2021 Healthcare Industry Outlook – 4 Trends to Embrace

January 25, 2021 - by Synoptek

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The pressure that the healthcare industry has been under since the beginning of the pandemic has been unimaginable! The snowballing upsurge in COVID cases over the last 11 months has pushed the healthcare industry to the brim. Nowhere in the world was the healthcare system designed to deal with a crisis of this magnitude: the physical (and mental) exhaustion and burnout healthcare workers have been undergoing is incredible. Yet, the industry is doing all it can to cope with this unpredictable, large-scale health challenge – in real-time – and learning from their experience (and mistakes) with each passing day.

What 2021 Beholds

Every year, like any industry, the healthcare sector too seeks to embrace new approaches and initiatives to deliver better quality care to patients across the world. However, in contrast to the usual methods and tactics that organizations have long been adopting at the start of a new year, in 2021, the healthcare industry outlook will be very different.

As the world awaits the new year to dawn, the healthcare industry needs to focus on technological innovations that will help them to be better equipped to deal with the pandemic while also ensuring that patients with other ailments and illnesses get timely and efficient care. Here are four trends the industry must embrace in order to keep their heads above water:

1. Telehealth to Provide Timely Care Remotely

In 2021 as well, telehealth is going to be a popular trend, allowing patients to leverage digital information and communication technologies to access health care services and manage their health remotely. Telehealth is going to be especially beneficial for patients – with minor ailments – to get access to medical care – without having to travel to healthcare facilities. Such a remote model will not only eliminate the need for patients to physically be examined; it will also greatly minimize the pressure and strain that healthcare workers are already facing in treating COVID patients. In 2021, telehealth will enable patients to receive care in their own homes, thereby providing a comfortable (and convenient) care experience.

2. Investments Towards Mental Healthcare

Mental health is expected to become the leading cause of mortality by 2030. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and (even halted) critical mental health services in several countries, when in reality, the demand for mental health is fast increasing. According to WHO, grief, isolation, temporary or permanent unemployment, reduced income, homeschooling, and fear are triggering new mental health conditions in people while aggravating existing ones. As alcohol and drug consumption, insomnia, and anxiety take center stage, in 2021, healthcare organizations will be required to build a mental health system that is equipped for a pandemic-ridden world. They would need to invest in national and international mental health programs to strengthen social cohesion, reduce loneliness, and ensure the elderly (and the isolated) are constantly checked on.

3. Gene Editing to Customize Drugs

The development of the CRISPR-based “lab on a chip” to detect COVID-19 via a hand-held device and deliver test results within 30 minutes has put gene editing into the spotlight. In 2021, gene editing will continue to pick up pace in the healthcare world. Researchers will set out to embrace the procedure to better diagnose COVID as well as accelerate progress in precision or personalized medicine. By customizing drugs or therapies to match a patient’s genetic profile, gene editing will help make them more effective in curing common genetic diseases – while reducing the chances of unwanted side effects.

4. AI to Quicken Diagnosis and Shorten the Drug Development Lifecycle

In addition to using AI-powered healthcare solutions to analyze huge volumes of patient health and make timely and accurate healthcare decisions, 2021 will also see doctors use the technology to trace contacts, quicken diagnosis, monitor treatments, as well as shorten the drug development lifecycle – greatly minimizing the exhaustion and fatigue healthcare workers have been experiencing this last year. The technology will also help detect and respond to future outbreaks and avoid the catastrophic impact on the lives of people and the economies of the world.

Adjust to the New Normal

As the world reels from the biggest pandemic of all time, delivering timely and affordable healthcare to the swelling number of patients continues to be a grave challenge. In order to keep up with the pressure and reduce healthcare burnout, it is critical for healthcare organizations to quickly adjust to the new normal while building on the promise of a pandemic-free world: trends across telehealth, mental health, gene editing, and AI will not only enable you to diagnose and treat patients – quickly and efficiently; it will also help strengthen the healthcare system and ensure timely care for every citizen.