Thursday , June 20 2024
Healthcare Trends

The 5 Biggest Healthcare Trends in 2021 Everyone Should Pay Attention to

There isn’t an industry on the planet that wasn’t impacted in some way by the global pandemic, but the most obvious impacts were on healthcare. From overworked medical staff and overwhelmed hospitals to worried patients who couldn’t readily access care, the faults in our systems were exposed – and they were ugly.

Of course, medical professionals have done everything in their power to ensure patient care, and they should be applauded for their hard work. It’s the systems we’ve had in place, not the professionals, which were most flawed, and it’s those very systems you can expect to be up-ended in 2021. Here are some of the paradigm-shifting changes we’re going to be watching this year:

An expansion of virtual care

Virtual care, sometimes called telemedicine, has been around for a long while. For most, however, telemedicine wasn’t much better than just going to see a doctor. But during a global pandemic, it became abundantly clear how useful virtual care really is.

We expect to see more physicians and other healthcare professionals making virtual care available. In the world of mental health, telemedicine has already become extremely popular – a therapist can do most of the things they would do in person over the Internet.

There will probably be more non-mental health televisits, too. Expect to see patients getting rashes, coughs, and other symptoms diagnosed over the Internet – at best, the doctor will be able to prescribe medicine, and at worst, they’ll schedule a follow-up in their clinic.

A more holistic approach to healthcare

The pandemic, tragically, has shown us how socioeconomics, class, race, mental health, spirituality, community, and more all interplay to create health outcomes. This is a lesson that is being learned in the most painful ways imaginable.

Expect to see more medical professionals asking questions about conditions surrounding healthcare. Things like how attached patients feel to their communities, how alone they feel, and how stressed they feel. The healthcare team may also expand – expect patients to look to professionals using traditional and naturopathic medicine, as well as to spiritual counselors when making medical decisions.

The expansion of public health

This trend is already occurring in full swing, with vaccination clinics, contact tracing apps, and the like.

We imagine there’s even more expansion of public health to come.

Governments are now seeing the unbearable costs of underfunded, underdeveloped healthcare systems. And if governments aren’t, the people those governments serve certainly are. There will be demands made – demands for more coverage, more clinics, more staff, and fewer restrictions on healthcare. These demands will be global.

New technologies, new techniques

A quick glance at any number of reputable medical journals reveals something astounding: the pace at which new medical technologies are being developed.

In 2021, we may see more 3D-printed organs. We’ll see new devices like smartphone-enabled pacemakers that can alert you immediately of any potential problems. We’ll see an expansion of non-invasive procedures like nonsurgical facelifts. We’ll see more computer-assisted diagnostic tools. 

In other words, we’ll see consistently better outcomes in healthcare – all assisted by the miraculous new technologies that seem to be coming out daily.

A focus on prevention

Finally, we can expect to see a focus on preventive care. The best way of stopping contagious diseases is to treat them in isolation – a form of prevention. Expect to see more people wearing masks when they’re sick, even once the pandemic is over. Expect to see more people getting vaccinated for influenza, as well as COVID. We’ll also probably see an influx of people buying vitamins, supplements, and healthy foods to boost their immune systems. 

With knowledge of preventive care and techniques becoming widely available online, and an expansion of the public’s awareness of the harms different diseases can cause, we expect that preventive medicine is going to expand dramatically in 2021.

A sign of hope

This isn’t a trend, but it is something to hold onto. According to pretty much every estimation, COVID-19 vaccines are going to be widely available at some point in 2021. This won’t mean that everything is suddenly back to normal, but it will mean an end to the worst part of the pandemic. Hold strong.

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