Nothing stays the same forever is an adage that applies in many contexts and circumstances, and the world of healthcare makes no exception. The healthcare industry, much like all other industries and sectors, is undergoing constant changes and transformations. Recently, the introduction of new technologies and the growing number of innovations have led to significant advances in the field.
On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic has left a deep mark on the health and wellness sector, and we’re only beginning to grasp the full extent of the changes deriving from it. All healthcare systems across the world have been affected by the crisis that has put the spotlight on the many shortcomings in the industry.
People’s approach and attitudes toward health and wellness have also changed tremendously in a relatively short period of time. In many ways, these transformations were to be expected, as this is the natural course of things. However, we can’t help but wonder what other changes lie ahead and how they will shape the future of healthcare. While it’s next to impossible to make precise predictions, experts have managed to identify certain trends that give us a few clues about what the healthcare industry is going to look like in the years to come.
Preventative healthcare powered by genomics
There’s no need to emphasize that prevention is better than cure. Unfortunately, traditional healthcare systems are built around treating diseases rather than stopping them from happening in the first place. And even if the approach was different, medicine does have its limitations. The broad range of investments and innovations in healthcare still don’t provide preventive solutions for all health-related matters, nor do they solve the widespread problem of unequal access to healthcare.
But genomics might be able to bring considerable improvements in this area. Genomics is a field of biology that studies the genetic makeup of an organism and thus provides valuable insights into how the human body can react in certain circumstances and can contribute to the detection of disease and genetic disorders.
Genetic testing has been around for a while, but it wasn’t accessible to the average individual due to the high costs it involved. Now, these tests have become widely affordable, and new research in the field continues to expand their scope. Thus, patients will be able to assess health risks with greater accuracy and benefit from highly personalised treatments based on their DNA profile.
Smart devices and health apps
As people begin to take a more proactive approach to health and wellness, the use of smart health devices and apps also keeps increasing. These days, there’s a gadget or app for almost everything, so it makes sense that this trend also gets reflected in the way we address health matters.
The fact that we’re already used to carrying our smart devices around all the time has facilitated the integration of health wearables and apps into our lives. That has prompted people to get more actively involved in their health journey and get educated on a broad range of health-related issues. We now have medical wearables that can track activity and sleep patterns, apps that remind patients to take their medicine on time, and many other similar programs that make it easier for everyone to take control of their health.
Back in the day, the only way a patient could get checked by a medical professional was by going to the hospital or making an appointment and meeting face to face with their doctor. But technological advancements have made it possible for patients to connect with their medical providers, regardless of their physical location, and that’s how virtual care and telemedicine emerged.
Telemedicine solutions were used at large at the height of the pandemic due to the restrictions that were in place at the time. But it has become obvious that telemedicine is not just a temporary solution, but a new approach to delivering medical services that can greatly improve patient care.
Enhanced patient experience
Ultimately, the quality of health services is a determining factor for the future of the health industry. The high demand for qualified medical personnel shows that the general trend is finding solutions that can help enhance the overall patient experience. There are many issues that need to be addressed and plenty of room for improvement in all healthcare systems. The growing number of medical negligence claims in the UK and other parts of the world stands proof of that.
Increased competition in the medical field also stresses the importance of keeping the patient at the centre of all efforts. This means a greater focus will be placed on delivering quality services, providing personalised treatments, improving communication, and developing a better relationship with patients.
Higher demand for qualified professionals
It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of qualified and competent professionals in every branch of medicine. This is a widespread issue in medical systems all across the world. There are simply not enough healthcare providers to fill in positions in hospitals and private clinics. What’s more, the continuous advances in medicine have led to the emergence of new roles and professions in healthcare, further increasing the gap between supply and demand.
As such, medical establishments have to come up with viable solutions to address these shortages and support the development of a new generation of health professionals, in all health and wellness areas. This is the only way for the healthcare industry to remain fully functional and tackle unprecedented health crises like the recent coronavirus pandemic effectively.
The healthcare industry is like a piece of ever-changing and evolving machinery that keeps getting more complex with the passage of time. These are just some of the trends that experts believe will influence and shape the healthcare sector in the near future, but as history has taught us, surprises are always just around the corner, so we can only hope that the next ones will be positive.