2020 has been about healthcare. The pandemic has ensured that the world knows and understands more not only about how we can keep ourselves safe and healthy but also about the gaping holes in the healthcare system. So how will the healthcare industry move forward and what does the future look like?
The healthcare industry traditionally introduces changes very slowly, and for good reason. Their priorities are evidence-based practice and of course, patient safety. But as they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, and this pandemic has certainly shown us this age-old saying is quite true. Telemedicine was accepted more widely with the pandemic, and contact tracing infrastructure was established in a matter of days and weeks in different countries around the world.
Digital transformation in healthcare is one of the first changes we witnessed, and it is here to stay.
Digitising patient records is one of the bigger areas of breakthrough as hospitals are realising the need to use technology to save precious time in accessing patient data. There are privacy concerns, of course, and Governments will have to come up with strict laws and more support around this newly developing area, but it feels unavoidable in the coming years.
One of the more important topics around healthcare has been affordability. Global disparities exist in every sector. But in healthcare, it literally leads to loss of lives, and the pandemic has shown us how wealthy countries have been at an advantage at every step of the way, with developing countries still waiting for vaccines.
We must work towards a more inclusive healthcare system, no matter where you are in the world.
Most of the vaccines available in the so-called developing world are astronomically priced and are unaffordable for the vast majority.
Non communicable diseases (NCD) such as heart disease, liver disease cause 70% of deaths worldwide. Treatment and care for NCD needs to be made more affordable so that the lives of millions of people worldwide can be saved.
Investing in Technology
Apart from affordability, another factor which must be looked into is efficiency. The future of healthcare heavily relies on the advancement of technology. The pandemic has led to hospitals being overburdened across the world. The best solution is to have an improved information flow between clinicians, hospitals and patients, and telemedicine has really seen massive growth. Artificial Intelligence is also seeing great advancements and more acceptance in the healthcare sector. But again, there needs to be a balance between efficiency and affordability so that everyone benefits from these advancements at a global level.
Solutions offered by innovators such as Youpal Group, the creator of the Youmedico telemedicine app, will go a long way in offering solutions to people who have had more difficult access to healthcare. This is where technology can be leveraged to serve and offer brighter futures in medicine, education or any other field.