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The last year has proved that global medicine needs global changes. The pandemic has become a stimulus for the development of medicine in many countries. The coronavirus pointed to errors in the organization of medical care in the United States and opened the way for further development. We asked experts how medicine in the United States will transform and what technologies will become a trend in the near future.
Sylvia Kang, Mira
Following are some of the trends in healthcare 2021 in the US:
The proliferation of mobile applications in the field of health has led to the appearance of a new term such as mHealth. It is defined as the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices such as telephones, patient monitoring devices, digital assistants, and other wireless devices.
The IoMT – Internet of Medical Things – is transforming the health system as a whole:
• The way users and patients communicate with healthcare professionals
• How to collect relevant patient information
• The treatment of clinical data
• Monitoring and supervision of patients
• The IoMT refers to a system of machines and objects equipped with technologies capable of collecting data and communicating with each other. It has different applications and its use ranges from telemedicine to the development of wearables
These are just some of the technology trends in health. However, there are other technologies that are emerging and that, in the recent future, may bring great advantages to medicine, such as 5G or Virtual or Augmented Reality.
Andrew Fox, CEO Aim Workout
Following are some of the trends in healthcare in 2021:
From home delivery of prescription drugs to stylish wearable electronic devices like the Apple View that can monitor a variety of vital signs, healthcare is fast becoming a more consumer-oriented business. The electronic revolution should have made this inescapable, but there were still many limitations. The pandemic changed every day because all of a sudden, patients couldn’t go to a physical office for care. At the same time, increased social isolation made many consumers realize that they had to take charge of their own care. Patient portals are a critical factor in directing the care of oneself or a loved one.
Telehealth is another way that healthcare has become more consumer-oriented as it opens up a range of access options for patients. With telehealth, seeing a doctor can take the form of a movie visit, a phone call, or a text message. The technology ran a slow-growing trend hampered by regulations, security concerns, and privacy concerns, but once the pandemic made in-person visits problematic, telehealth became very popular. Medical centers and insurance providers began supporting and encouraging its use, urging patients to download apps, which allow them to schedule appointments and consult with doctors directly on their smartphones.
Dusan Stanar, Founder & CEO of «VSS Monitoring»
Chatbots in Healthcare for 2021
People can use Chatbots to «schedule appointments with plastic surgeons» online almost instantly and without the additional hassle of going to hospitals. Some chatbots are even developed to match patients with the relevant Plastic Surgeons and keep records of all their visits and follow-ups in case the data is needed in the future. A person will basically need to make a simple request in a chat window as “I want to visit Dr. Ray on Friday.” After that chatbot advises the possible options for the person to pick the most suitable one. Finally, the chatbot asks to decide on the payment method and books the visit.
Soumalaya Chakraborty, [x]cube LABS
The challenges that healthcare companies faced in 2020 and continue to face are as follows:
The pandemic has indeed been a growth driver and here’s how we can see the healthcare landscape transforms in 2021:
1) Mobility: more healthcare facilities will reach their customers with feature-rich mobile apps, offering services of all major departments digitally
2) Greater automation and agility: to compensate for staff shortage and decrease turnaround times, organisations will invest in technologies based on IoT and AI to automate tasks, increase efficiency and eliminate errors.
3) Greater investment in cybersecurity: a significant portion of the budget on digital initiatives will be allocated to enhance data security and protection against ransomware attacks.
4) Increase of the wearable medical devices market: with telemedicine and remote monitoring in vogue, 2021 is set to see a large number of new wearable devices which will keep patients connected with healthcare facilities and keep feeding data to systems that will analyse them and alert patients on appropriate actions to take, through notifications on their wearables
5) Growing influence of artificial intelligence: from smart monitoring devices to chatbots which can fill key roles such as customer service representatives to therapists AI will make its presence felt in a big way.
New technologies that we will see in healthcare: AI, IoT, VR (to simulate real-life medical emergencies and impart training), and Blockchain (for efficient maintenance of patient records).
Dr. Abou-Assaleh, president and CEO of TitanFile Inc.
Over the past year, we’ve seen healthcare companies struggle to send and receive confidential patient information as a result of the pandemic. With buildings being temporarily shut down, in-person contact significantly reduced, and courier being unreliable, healthcare companies were forced to resort to online file sharing solutions. However, under HIPAA requirements, healthcare companies are required to keep patient information secure at all times and many companies did not already have a HIPAA-compliant file sharing solution in place. In 2021, we are going to see more and more healthcare companies accelerate digital transformation by adopting new technologies such as «secure portals» that enable them to send, receive, and store patient information securely.
“While it is no surprise that health services will be increasingly provided via telehealth in 2021, this year will see an unprecedented number of processes within the healthcare system moving to digital. Paper-based exchange of medical records will no longer be acceptable among providers, and patients are now demanding instant access to their health records, treatment, and testing results.”
Dr. Robert Goldman (Founder – Dr. Robert Goldman, Australia)
The major challenges which are being faced by healthcare companies in the US in 2020 are a shortage of nurses, poor patient upshots, poor public opinions & opioid overdose. This pandemic proved to be a growth driver as new healthcare opportunities could emerge, boosting segment deals in the coming months. Major trends in the development of healthcare would be blockchain opportunities in healthcare, Patient Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. The major transformation in US healthcare could be Telehealth, as these platforms are evolving which will improve their functionalities to meet patients’ emerging needs, and also health companies will outdo EHR platforms in virtual care assistance.
Lydia Auchtung, 360 Quote LLC
The Opioid crisis remains to be a major challenge in the healthcare system in 2020, especially with more people being at home bored or stressed because of the pandemic. Being that, the death rate and lack of complete public support when it comes to COVID prevention like wearing masks are major challenges in healthcare.
COVID 19 has led to more people comparing the U.S. healthcare system to healthcare systems in other countries. Digitized solutions such as telehealth and digital payments (tap-to-pay, credit/debit cards, online pay, etc.) have become an expectation amongst consumers and producers.
Healthcare began to transform into a system run by Artificial Intelligence (AI), thanks to the pandemic. Developing better functioning VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics, and nanotechnology have become more of a need and priority for healthcare since human-to-human interaction poses such a greater risk.
Healthcare companies will continue to grow in a digitized manner. Expanding their AI developments beyond VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics, and nanotechnology. Despite vaccines circulating, COVID has revealed how difficult life can be in instances as such. Companies will want to continue to take precautions to avoid future situations as such.
Joe Tuan, CEO at Topflightapps
2020 was the year of telemedicine. Every clinic and private practice was basically forced to rediscover this technology to keep providing care to patients throughout the quarantine. We expect this trend to reinforce in 2021, but this time around, providers will seek to balance telehealth services with how they used to serve patients before COVID-19. Expect to see more automated scheduling, remote check-ins, and on-demand prescription.
We also hope to see more applications that make use of existing novel technologies that are currently being overlooked. Take, for example, Apple’s LiDAR scanner from their latest set of iPhones and iPads. Companies like Microsoft are already using this technology to help visually impaired people navigate through their environment. Microsoft’s free Seeing AI app identifies distance to objects while using ML capabilities to identify different items in front of a person and relay that information via headphones.
Alessandra Kessler, Healthy Body Healthy Mind
The rise of disruptive technologies and innovations: Let it be the healthcare industry or a company in specific, there is one common challenge that everyone is facing which is the constant growth of innovation. It is becoming difficult for the industry to keep up with the rate at which technology is upgrading.
Modern management and AI-driven software have become essential for the operations of most companies. In order for a healthcare firm to remain competitive, they have to ensure to incorporate modern technology. The pace of innovativeness is such that the industry players have barely familiarized themselves with a certain type of technology, and in the meantime, a new innovation is introduced.
In order for companies to be successful and in the game, they need to think outside the box and experiment by taking certain risks. This includes incorporating upgraded and updated forms of technology into their day-to-day systems in order to provide quality services and experience to their patients.
The pandemic has definitely become a growth driver for healthcare companies as the demand for healthcare services has increased during this time. The demand in most cases exceeded the supply for which companies had to incorporate certain procedures and technologies in order to be able to meet the needs of their patients. From providing contact-less services to incorporating advanced machinery and tools, the industry has grown in a number of ways.
The most prominent trend in the development of healthcare that I would like to highlight here is the reverse of the technological gap. This has mainly been due to the reason that consumers don’t trust big tech companies with their medical data. They feel that their privacy is being invaded and that their medical records are not safe with them as it can be misused just as any tech company misuses other forms of their personal data.
This trust has to be gained in order to create clarification of the use of a consumer’s data by being transparent with them. They should have complete visibility. The customers should have direct access and control over their medical records. The companies need to demonstrate that they’re complying with all privacy laws of the healthcare industry.
One such way this is being catered to is through CITIZEN which is a healthcare startup. Their audience is cancer patients and is enabling them to have access to their health records through their app. The user has the option to share these records with their care team or even researchers.
I expect the healthcare industry in the United States to transform greatly in 2021, mainly due to the pandemic experience. Virtual care and remote medicine will be introduced, and relevant technologies in order to support the growth of this transformation. There are already apps such as LiveHealth and MDLive which were providing telemedicine services during the pandemic in 2020. However, the trend will further enhance in 2021.
Virtual checkups have become a norm in 2020, at least for regular and minor appointments. However, for 2021 I expect that the major chunk of these appointments will be for mental health issues. This will also enable doctors to increase their clientele and deal with a larger chunk of patients considering they won’t have to deal with supply constraints when catering to virtual appointments.
Considering the boom of virtual care and remote medicine, I can easily say that robotic and autonomous healthcare assistants are one such technology that will be introduced in 2021 – for both hospitals and at home service. This would help to reduce the chances of causing infections.
Reda Elmardi, CEO at StrongChap
Patients are now looking for transparency in payment processes from healthcare providers. Patients now expect healthcare providers to give the breakdown of charges before and after the services are availed. This is something that healthcare companies are struggling to provide. Payment transparency satisfies the customer about what they are paying to the company. Not being able to provide these details puts you at a disadvantage in comparison to other companies.
Pandemic has forced healthcare companies to introduce telehealth services. New tech is now available for use to make telehealth services possible for maximum companies. Telehealth services save time and patients traveling costs. Furthermore, healthcare companies can now offer services across the globe.
Social distancing had convinced people to stick to online consultations. This trend forced healthcare companies to introduce software that can incorporate this service. Introducing new payment methods and virtual consultations are the new ways how healthcare companies have developed.
The Healthcare industry will now introduce big data to make smarter decisions. Big Data can be essential for predicting situations and planning ahead of time. Big Data will lower the rate of errors as doctors will have access to all information related to the patient, including previous drug prescriptions. The system will alert doctors accordingly when assigning a new drug holds a risk. Furthermore, big data can help to staff the place according to the coming times by predicting admission rates.
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