Healthcare has come a long way, and we see it transform with each passing year. So let’s take a deep dive into the healthcare landscape and how it’s adapting and changing as the world becomes more digital.
The Healthcare Landscape
COVID-19 made a massive impact across many sectors of society and culture alike. Traditional 9-5 jobs switched to remote, flexible schedules, many schools transitioned to online learning, and the healthcare sector has also made some significant changes.
Although, many of these necessary changes are here to stay. Healthcare organizations have been quick to adapt, as they want to stay one step ahead of the game and be prepared for anything.
Technology’s Role in Healthcare
The healthcare system was flipped upside down when COVID-19 hit. However, the industry successfully adapted and started embracing and adopting new operating modes, such as implementing the latest and greatest regarding healthcare technology.
Over the past two years, we’ve seen a shift in healthcare policies. Technology has opened the door to fewer in-person interactions with healthcare providers. Instead, checkups, consultations, and mental health treatments are being offered virtually. This balance of reliability, consistency, and flexibility has been prominent since the pandemic began and will continue throughout 2023.
The pandemic triggered a butterfly effect of disruptions across many sectors, most notably distribution, manufacturing, and healthcare. The post-pandemic landscape will continue to see strong demand for COVID tests and vaccinations or boosters, pushing the healthcare companies and supply chains to distribute.
Technology has played a significant role in healthcare from the beginning, and the world is relying more and more on going digital. As a result, the healthcare sector has found it incredibly beneficial to invest in new technology during the pandemic, and we will see this healthcare trend continue throughout 2023 and beyond.
Healthcare Industry Trends: 2023 and Beyond
Since the healthcare industry constantly evolves, we will continue to see various changes across the sector. Let’s look at a few of the most notable and recent changes we will continue utilizing (and optimizing) throughout 2023.
It wasn’t long ago when we couldn’t have video calls with our physicians and healthcare providers. Today, we live in an ultra-digital world. Everything can be done online, and we’re expected to do it that way. For example, think about utility bills; most of them tell you about their opportune online services. Many ask you to pay online instead of calling their office to pay your bill or view other important info regarding your account.
Something particularly appealing about this digital world is that we have everything at our fingertips. For example, many patients can opt for a video or phone call with their doctor, and telehealth is one of the fastest-growing integrations in the healthcare landscape.
Telemedicine is efficient, convenient, direct, and beneficial for anyone requiring a virtual medical visit. Asking your doctor questions is now just a phone call away, so you don’t need to go into an office and risk catching something more serious. It also reduces costs for both the healthcare facilities and the patients.
Many individuals prefer to develop relationships with their healthcare providers via video or phone today, and many are taking advantage of the quality (yet convenient) care it offers. As a result, healthcare providers now consider telehealth a critical element of gaining and retaining patients.
Behavioral health practitioners are now practically available at the touch of a button, and therapy is readily and virtually available. Before the pandemic, healthcare consumerism was slowly rising, but it wasn’t happening rapidly by any means.
Post-pandemic, patients have become more invested in their health and well-being and prioritize physical and mental wellness. In addition, technology opens the doors for more straightforward and comprehensive opportunities for managing stress levels, practicing mindful meditation, or even participating in online counseling or therapy sessions.
Telehealth has also been effectively and successfully reaching more Americans, those who aren’t willing or can’t leave their homes, and those living out in rural areas of the country. This new technology has tremendously improved healthcare for rural Americans, as it opens the door to various doctors with different specialties for these individuals to connect with. Traveling for care can also be expensive and time-consuming; virtual care can keep costs low, improve public health, and increase primary care for isolated individuals.
Integrated Medical Technology
Integrated medical technologies optimize how hospitals, healthcare centers, clinics, and other care providers communicate with their patients and each other.
- Optimized Workflow. Healthcare professionals can utilize more streamlined and comprehensive workflows, made possible by speedy internet and improved connectivity.
- Electronic Health Records. Accessible and easy to organize, cloud-based online health records help doctors easily access patients’ medical records. As a result, they can provide a fine-tuned care plan and spend less time gathering information from various paper documents.
- Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the collection of various medical devices and applications that all connect to healthcare IT systems through online networks. Medical devices with Wi-Fi permit machine-to-machine communication, which is the basis of IoMT.
- Artificial Intelligence. In conjunction with IoMT, AI and machine learning develop enhanced versions of traditional medical devices. I.e., Bluetooth-operated heart monitors allow doctors to receive accurate info quickly. In addition, AI and real-time health data assessments enable providers to manage unique scenarios that surfaced during the pandemic, such as when individuals could not safely or promptly get to a healthcare facility.
- Remote Monitoring. Today we have the luxury of not having to visit the doctor’s office for daily or weekly visits. This new trend is exceptionally fortunate for anyone who may require frequent visits. IoT devices, AI, and telehealth appointments allow doctors, nurses, and caregivers to quickly and simply check in on their patients’ conditions. Real-time health data can keep patients safe without leaving the comfort of their homes.
People are taking advantage of the convenience of more digital-centered healthcare and are taking their healthcare picture more seriously. As a result, individuals everywhere are seeking opportunities to participate in improving their mental and physical well-being daily.
- Physical Health Apps. Calories tracking, counting steps, activity reminders, nutrition information, and more are all at our fingertips. Physical health apps are plentiful, and many people utilize them to improve their health at home through a holistic approach. In addition, those with existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure were able to tap into the benefits of these applications to track blood sugar and heart rate more efficiently.
- Mental Health Apps. Anyone wishing to have a video call with a therapist or regular virtual appointments can do so, it’s become a standard practice to address mental health virtually over recent years, and 2023 will continue to see this trend flourishing. Apps allow individuals to create profiles and pick a therapist they think most suits their requirements, goals, and budget.
- High Quality & Comprehensive Data. Many of these physical and mental health apps can gather high amounts of essential data with each use. This collected info can be shared with providers so doctors, nurses, or caregivers can better understand the level of care they need and personalize their care even further.
- Personalized Preventative Measures. AI accurately and effectively collects patient data on behavior and risk factors. That means doctors can benefit from that information to create a tailored care plan that includes any necessary preventative measures that may mitigate the need for future emergency procedures.
- Gamification. Something particularly unique about the healthcare industry is the use of video-game-style tactics in health-related apps. For example, step-counters and exercise apps that can identify movement or track your steps are applying incentives, such as progress medals, badges, stars, or virtual gifts at each stage, so there is an element of achievement. They also share progress and results with fellow app users, creating a sense of competition and introducing a support system simultaneously. You may also see progress bars used to measure success concerning personal goals to add some encouragement to the experience.
The Future of Technology in Healthcare
The healthcare landscape is an exciting, bustling space in terms of technological growth and advancements. The pandemic was a significant roadblock for many industry sectors. However, the healthcare field quickly adapted and adopted the technology it needed to address the global emergency and anything else that may occur.
COVID brought attention to the necessity for prioritizing improving patient care, and digital health services are helping them get closer to that goal. Highly personalized care plans, increased convenience and flexibility, and making sure all information and data are easily accessible for both patients and care providers are consistently being improved. We will continue to see advancements in these areas within the healthcare sector during and after 2023.