It’s a fact that everything changes. When it comes to the future of healthcare, experts believe a lot will be changing over the next few years. The industry of healthcare is impacted by so much, including politics, technology, people, and more.
With the rise of technology and big data, as well as a focus on health and wellness, the industry is shifting. To create a better system of healthcare, it’s expected that care will become more human-centric and personalized.
Here’s how healthcare is changing.
The Major Aspects Of Change
Healthcare is going to massively shift at the hands of technology. The cycle of innovation for technology is exponential. This means that healthcare will benefit from dramatic changes by 2040.
Right now, healthcare is institutionally-focused. With artificial intelligence, data, interoperable devices, wearable technology, and the like, healthcare will be easily personalized. Consumers are going to take healthcare into their own hands, quite literally, and provide data and information to reap the benefits of customizable wellness plans.
The Delivery of Healthcare
When you think of doctors and healthcare, the first places that come to mind are likely overcrowded doctor’s offices and hospitals. However, the delivery of healthcare is also changing because of technology.
From virtual communities to health hubs and special care operators, there will be innovative ways to connect healthcare experts with those who are in need of care.
Photo by ZMorph
The Case for Technology
While technology is reshaping how the healthcare industry will work, the face of healthcare providers is also changing. There will be more people entering the field with business backgrounds, like those who have earned their MBA, for example.
Additionally, the majority of healthcare providers in specialities like pediatrics and gynecology are women. Women now make up one-third of practicing physicians. While the face of providers is changing, the population is also living longer.
This means that the patients whom healthcare professionals serve have different needs than before. Along with government policies that will need to provide aid for an aging population, disease trends will also propose new challenges.
All of the natural shifts like population changes will be better served with innovative solutions.
12 Visions of Change & What We Can Expect from the Healthcare Industry
On the forefront of technology, here are some major visions of change and expectations around the healthcare trends of the future.
1. Online Visits
Thanks to video calling, there has been an influx of online doctor’s visits. In crises where people cannot make it to doctor’s, online visits have become the new house call. The convenience of online visits also extends accessibility to doctors in rural areas that are lacking medical care.
2. Group Visits
As the population expands, there’s an increased demand for doctors. If the supply can’t keep up, what’s the next best thing? Group visits are becoming more popular. Group visits are when doctors see multiple patients with similar symptoms at the same time. Group visits are also likely to occur with patients who share chronic conditions like diabetes. On the upside, this could bring together people in similar situations who can meet and try to manage their conditions together.
3. Team Approach
To optimize healthcare, providers may leverage a team approach to treatment. This means that doctors in varying levels and specialties come together to help manage a patient and address all their needs from different perspectives. The teamwork approach places the patient in the middle and relies on each professional to contribute knowledge to optimize care.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence will continue and expand its presence in healthcare. Medical uses of AI can be witnessed in the case of deep learning. This is when robots can use data to learn and respond to different situations without human interaction. In the medical field, real-time diagnosis and even prescriptions have been handled by AI. From a tangible sense, robots will also be used to aid healthcare professionals with physical tasks, like pulling supplies from stock rooms or the kitchen in a hospital, for example.
5. Virtual Reality
There are many uses for virtual reality in the healthcare field. Consider this, a child is in pain in a pediatric unit. They can put on a virtual reality headset and escape into a virtual oasis that can help to alleviate the pain. For medical school students, virtual reality is a way to simulate a surgical environment and practice before a student becomes a doctor and enters the OR.
6. Healthcare Trackers, Wearables, And Sensors
Data and technology are playing a massive role in personalizing healthcare. New healthcare trackers from the Apple Watch to diabetic sensors like Dexcom are helping people take control of their own health and wellness. From managing weight to stress levels to blood sugar, patients can also easily share health data with their doctors to help diagnose and prevent problems.
7. Personalized Healthcare
One of the biggest changes in healthcare is predictive medicine. Smart machines and devices can share healthcare data with professionals to predict problems before they even arise or become life threatening. This proactive model of healthcare is inherently personalized because patients’ data is being sent from their bodies, in essence, to their healthcare teams for plans and treatment.
8. Genome Sequencing
The ability for researchers and medical scientists to conduct whole genome sequencing is opening the door to understanding major diseases. Genome sequencing helps to discover how DNA and genes can cause diseases. For example, whole genome sequencing has given scientists new insight into the heritability of schizophrenia.
9. Drug Development
Medical professionals are finding new and faster ways to develop drugs since the current process is lengthy and costly. They are using the power of artificial intelligence and in silico trials to do so.
Nanotechnology can help with wound treatment and healing. Companies are creating nanotechnology in the form of patches, for example, to monitor wounds and even stimulate healing.
11. 3D Printing
3D printing allows the creation of something from nothing. The medical world can use 3D printers to make artificial limbs, blood vessels and even bio tissues. There have even been cases where pharmaceutical companies have 3D printed medicine. As time progresses, experts believe that the uses for 3D printing in healthcare will continue to expand.
Robots have been used to help patients heal from surgery and can also make for great companions to those who are suffering from an illness. Startups are even creating ways in which robots can help kids with illnesses to monitor medication.
Photo by Artur Łuczka on Unsplash
Technology Will Improve Well-Being
It’s clear to see how technology is playing a major role in reshaping healthcare. But beyond sickness and surgery, wearable technology and smart devices bring a whole new focus to the patient. People can use wearables to monitor their own well-being and pay attention to data points they would have otherwise ignored, such as how many steps per day they take, their heart rate, and their stress levels.
More than just tackling diseases as they arise or treating illnesses, technology is putting a new focus on overall health and well-being, including mental health.
The Future of Healthcare and Those Impacted
The changes that will happen in the future of healthcare will affect everyone from insurers, healthcare professionals, new entrants in the marketplace, patients, consumers, and employers. Big businesses, like Apple and Google, are even becoming more involved in healthcare.
Here’s an overview of those who will be affected:
- Data Securers and Data Collectors
- Developers and Data Scientists
- Data Operators and Platform Builders
- Inventors and Manufacturers
- Virtual Healthcare Providers
- Wellness Coaches
- Specialty Care Operators
- Insurance Providers
- Healthcare Professionals
Studying Health Science
The importance of healthcare providers in the future of healthcare cannot be understated. From nurses to physical therapists and doctors to surgeons, those who provide healthcare solutions on a daily basis will continue to be needed.
For those interested in studying Health Science and entering the field of healthcare, consider the University of the People’s online tuition-free program. Students can choose between earning their Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree to enter the field in various professions.
The Future of Healthcare Starts Now
Technology, the population, patient needs, and more will continue to play a role in the future of healthcare. This will lead to more personalized care and predictive solutions when it comes to patient health. Both people, business, and science will help to create change within the industry to optimize care.