Healthcare being an essential and opportunity-rich industry, continues to be at the forefront of technological advancements that keep pace with ever-evolving consumer behaviour. Here are some Healthcare Industry trends to watch out for in 2020.
Increased role of IT in healthcare
Over the last couple of decades, technology has contributed significantly to patient records management, clinical and non-clinical workflow management and allowed providers to function efficiently and profitable.
The pandemic, combined with the ageing baby boomer population in developed countries, has led to an accelerated adoption of new technologies like telehealth, home healthcare and point-of-care testing and diagnostics. The convergence of technology and healthcare has always been significant, and players with these capabilities have responded swiftly to this potential demand and begun deploying solutions that make contact-less care a reality.
Health tech companies are now front and centre in the race to make quality patient care available to patients without direct physician contact. Beyond remote diagnosis and treatment, the use of AI & Machine Learning in Healthcare continues to grow rapidly, as it has done for the last few years. Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence dominate the clinical decision support landscape, making physicians’ jobs easier while also helping with staffing shortages.
Balancing accessibility with security
The advent of wearable devices, at home testing and the technology ecosystem that has evolved around it generates large amounts of data every day. This data is a gold mine of insights that can help medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers generate better treatment outcomes and, in turn, greater profits. This makes the data incredibly valuable and, naturally, cyber-criminals are greatly attracted to it as well.
Data breaches affected nearly 41 Million medical records in 2019, a 33% increase in number of incidents as compared with 2018. As remote access to patient medical records becomes the norm, data security and confidentiality continues to be a growing concern for providers, technology companies and regulators alike. With more and more patients generating, storing and accessing their data through private storage, the risk of theft and breach will continue to rise.
Patients will join the care team
The information age has made the “doctor knows best” notion outdated. Today, the classic patient consumer has evolved and can access credible information about potential diagnoses, symptoms, and treatments. Easy access to websites like WebMD along with the arrival of home testing enables patients to easily understand what conditions they might be at risk of having and assess the disease progression based on symptoms and results.
At present, the genetic testing market is exploding – in the wake of 2019, more than 26 million consumers have uploaded their DNA to four leading health databases (definitivehc). However, the accuracy and privacy of these genetic tests remain a concern. Patients are increasingly leveraging technology to assess health risks on their own and are proactively adopting preventive strategy / early intervention.
Physicians will become data-driven
Big data has become invaluable not only to business professionals but also to physicians. According to Stanford Medicine’s 2020 Health Trends, nearly 73% of medical students are currently looking out for additional training on healthcare innovations. Also, 80% of medical students and practitioners support the use of health apps.
Physicians believe that with easy access to patient data they can glean valuable information to make better decisions and reduce health costs dramatically. With most physicians seeing tremendous value in finding correlations between patient clinical history, treatment, behaviour and outcome, their interest in using analytics and technology will likely rise dramatically.
Data overload will be a hindrance in realizing the actual potential of precision medicine
According to estimates, precision medicine programs in the US will more-than-double in the next ten years (definitivehc). The personalized healthcare insights garnered from home testing kits and wearables play a vital role in driving the demand for these advanced therapies. However, processing the mountains of data that is generated through these technologies can be challenging, and can be a roadblock in realizing the full potential of precision medicine.
As diagnostics testing evolves, it opens a whole world of possibilities in terms of clinical correlations to determine the route cause of disease and predisposition of specific patients to certain conditions. Managing the amount of critical data being generated for each patient in an organized way and utilize it for diagnosis and treatment will not be easy.
Providers must acclimatize to different generational care demands
By 2030, for the first time in the history of the U.S, the nation’s 65-and-older population is anticipated to outnumber children (definitivehc). This consequently will lead to the tremendous growth of hospice and palliative care markets. In the case of millennials, they are technology and data-driven and prefer convenient and cost-saving measures. Hence, they are more likely to visit retail clinics rather than primary care providers (PCP).
While the millennials are increasingly becoming the heads of households and medical care decision-makers, baby boomers are retiring and constitute the dependent population. Geriatric care may see a transformation, with millennials more likely to enrol their parents in fast and convenient outpatient facilities and encourage them to use telehealth technologies instead of visiting the doctor’s office.
The outpatient model will challenge the classic health system
In current times, patients are highly attracted to the convenience offered by outpatient care. Additionally, the innovation and improvements in clinical procedures have revolutionized medical as well as diagnostic procedures. For example, the clinical trials or diagnostic procedures no longer require inpatient stay, rather can be safely carried out in an outpatient setting. In fact, the 2019 Definitive Healthcare Outpatient Trends Survey reported, after cost home recovery is the second most important advantage of outpatient care.
According to estimates, between 2012 to 2019, there were 216 additional reimbursement codes for outpatient surgeries. Even more so, medical insurance companies highly encourage outpatient models due to its cost benefits.
An event like the pandemic can change everything we know about the future of healthcare as an industry. “Market Understanding” can no longer be static and needs to be ever-evolving and adjustable in real-time. Under these circumstances, healthcare businesses need to be ready and willing to pivot quickly and effectively in order to survive the next game-changing event.
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