Last year’s COVID-19 outbreak irreversibly changed our attitude towards digitization in healthcare. Things previously seen just as a feasible way of gradual modernization have suddenly become urgent trends in medicine. The market now favors "digital-first" companies, i.e., those who deliver healthcare primarily as online experiences, especially for ambulatory and low-acuity care needs.
Here are the top 5 trends in healthcare you can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.
The healthcare industry is entering the era of digital innovation, as patients seek on-demand healthcare because of their busy lives. Companies such as Practo – an online marketplace that links doctors directly with medical facilities for short-term work – are making it easier for physicians to provide on-demand healthcare to clients in specific circumstances that match their talents, expertise, and schedule.
Big data collates information about a business through formats such as social media, ecommerce, online transactions, and financial transactions, and identifies patterns and trends for future use. Some important benefits from big data include lower rate of medication errors; Facilitating preventative cures; and more accurate staffing. With these benefits in mind, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies should invest in organizing their data. This requires an investment in analytics experts who crunch data to not only identify areas of weakness, but to also help companies better understand their market.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the pièce de résistance of digitalization in healthcare. VR technology is being used not only to treat pain, but everything from anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder, and stroke. Other uses include, doctors and residents using virtual-reality simulations to use their skills to plan complicated surgeries. VR headsets could also motivate wearers to exercise and help children with autism learn how to navigate the world. VR is a powerful communication channel that could allow you to get a better sense of your customers’ needs and virtually engage them with your products or services.
Another trend of the digital transformation in healthcare is companies collecting their own health data from medical devices, including wearable technology. In the past, patients were satisfied with undergoing a physical once a year, and only checking in with their doctors on an S.O.S basis. Now, patients are focusing on prevention and maintenance, and demanding information about their health more frequently. Wearable technology can also help healthcare companies save money. One study found that health apps and wearables for preventative care could save the U.S. healthcare system close to $7 billion per year.
Another factor supporting digital transformation in healthcare is predicting what illnesses and diseases will become major problems in the near future. Information gathered through Big Data and other marketing sources can help healthcare companies develop healthier lifestyle suggestions for their patients. On a smaller scale, predictive analysis could help businesses of all sizes determine when to hire temporary staff due to impending outbreaks of colds and flu that could result in a worker shortage.