The Current Healthcare Landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic made sweeping changes across many sectors of modern society and culture. From changing traditional work and school procedures to major pivots in the healthcare sector, many transformations necessitated by COVID are here to stay. Healthcare organizations have been quick to get on board with most of these changes because they can’t be caught off-guard again should another global health crisis occur.
Technology in the Healthcare Industry
The entire healthcare system was impacted by COVID-19, however, it quickly adapted and started embracing new modes of operating, including implementing the latest in healthcare technology.
Healthcare policy, the way clinicians are able to deliver care to patients and the use of technology in every aspect of medicine has totally transformed over the past two years. Technology has long paved the way for less in-person, time-consuming routine interactions with a care provider but, with the onset of the pandemic, has become ubiquitous with check-ups, consultations, and even mental health treatments.
The pandemic certainly triggered massive disruptions across a variety of industries, most notably manufacturing, distribution and healthcare. The post-COVID-19 climate will continue to demand COVID tests and vaccines, putting pressure on supply chains and healthcare companies to distribute. Fortunately, the healthcare sector has begun investing in new technology that can help alleviate future pressure of continuing to minimize COVID’s impact on society.
Top Healthcare Industry Trends in 2022 & Beyond
While we will continue to witness many changes across the healthcare industry, these are the most notable and important.
Just a few decades ago, video-calling your physician was not possible. Now, a majority of doctors’ offices offer telehealth options for patients who would prefer to meet via video or phone call. It’s one of the fastest-growing integrations in the healthcare landscape and will not be disappearing on the heels of COVID.
Integrated Medical Technologies
Since its inception, the internet has assisted almost every industry in modernizing and creating more efficient ways of operating. Now integrated medical technologies are transforming the way in which hospitals, healthcare centers, and care providers communicate with each other and their patients.
- Electronic health records. Accessible and easy to organize, cloud-based, online health records help doctors easily access a patient’s medical records. They can provide a fine-tuned care plan and spend less time gathering information from a variety of paper documents.
- Improved Workflows. Healthcare professionals can utilize more streamlined workflows, made possible by faster internet and increased connectivity.
- Medical Internet of Things (IoT). Medical IoT is a rapidly growing field that implements wearable devices, monitors and integrated applications for healthcare needs. As technology improves, many IoT devices will become more affordable, which opens accessibility to more people, fostering health equity.
- AI. Used in conjunction with medical IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning create enhanced versions of traditional medical devices. This blending of intangible connectivity with tangible objects, such as a Bluetooth-operated heart monitor, allows doctors to receive more accurate information in a timely manner. Through AI and real-time health data assessments, healthcare providers were able to manage crises that emerged during the pandemic, when an individual could not quickly or safely make it to a facility.
- Remote monitoring. Gone are the days of returning to the doctor’s office for daily, or weekly visits, if a patient’s health necessitates such practices. Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers can easily check in on a patient’s condition using medical IoT devices, AI, and telehealth appointments. They can use real-time health data and metrics to gain insight into their patient’s overall health picture.
- Convenience. Both the patient and doctor can manage conditions more conveniently using technology and medical IoT. Digital therapeutics can prevent, manage, or treat a broad spectrum of physical, mental and behavioral conditions. This allows the patient to better accomplish their own healthcare goals by partaking in convenient, preventative measures.
Policy: The Affordable Care Act
When it was started, the Affordable Care Act attempted to answer a need for uninsured Americans. So far, here’s all that the ACA has accomplished:
- 20 million more Americans have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
- The ACA protects people with preexisting conditions from discrimination in the healthcare sector from insurers, fostering a more equitable landscape for all Americans to receive quality, timely care.
- Vulnerable groups like children and groups that are traditionally underinsured or uninsured, like young adults, have greater access to coverage.
- The ACA improved access to prescription drugs that had once been incredibly costly and often unattainable by the individuals who needed them the most.
- The ACA lowered costs for seniors on Medicare and strengthened protections for disabled people.
More personalization in healthcare.
As people began to really look at their own personal healthcare picture, they desired a way to actively participate in bettering their own mental and physical health daily.
Physical health applications.
Step-counters, calorie trackers and other wellness-based, exercise and nutrition applications became incredibly popular as people sought to treat their ailments through a holistic approach. Those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure were able to capitalize on new applications that tracked their blood sugar, heart rate and the like.
Mental health applications.
Video chatting with a therapist has become commonplace in the mental health sector. Apps allow individuals to create a profile and shop for a therapist they think will best suit their needs, goals, and budget.
These applications can collect a high amount of quality data through each use. Patients can share data from a variety of apps with their provider so their doctor, nurse, or care team can better understand what type of personalized care they need.
Ultra-tailored preventative measures.
AI can accurately and efficiently collect patient data on behavior and risk factors. Doctors can utilize this data to create a comprehensive care plan that includes preventative measures that may mitigate the need for an emergency procedure in the future.
Healthcare and Gamification.
Gamification techniques are transforming the industry by applying video-game style operations to healthcare-related applications. Step-counters or workout applications that track your run, then compare you to other users within the app are utilizing gamification techniques to get you to exercise. Depending on your own personal motivators, some gamification techniques will work better than others.
Technology in Healthcare is Only Just Beginning.
The pandemic showed the entire healthcare community how unprepared they were for a global, emergency event like this. Since the beginning of COVID, the entire medical sector has worked incredibly hard to prioritize advancements in patient care, including an increase in the implementation of technology. Both patients and providers understand and appreciate the value of digital health services, and more people are trusting these modes as ways to get and give care.
Doctors have always known that healthcare isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but technology has allowed them to create incredibly personalized care plans and conveniently build relationships with their patients outside of an office setting. These advances allow them to make value-based health care possible. In the coming years, we can expect healthcare technology to continue evolving to better meet patients’ and care providers’ needs.
Staying on top of current healthcare trends is a must for both well-established care professionals and newcomers interested in entering the healthcare space. You can make a difference in the healthcare industry through a variety of roles that range from streamlining processes and data to traditional care. Learn more about the healthcare degree options that UCF offers.
UCF’s Online Healthcare Degrees
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Executive Master of Health Administration, EMHA
- Forensic Science, MS
- Gender Studies
- Health Informatics and Information Management, BS
- Health Services Administration, BS
- Healthcare Simulation
- Healthcare Systems Engineering Certificate
- Healthcare Systems Engineering, MS
- Integrative General Studies, BGS
- Interdisciplinary Studies, BA (Diversity Studies Leadership)
- Interdisciplinary Studies, BA/BS
- Master of Public Administration, MPA
- Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics
- Master of Social Work Online
- Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Management, MNM
- Nursing Education
- Nursing Practice, DNP, Advanced Track
- Nursing Practice, DNP, Executive Track
- Nursing, BS
- Nursing, BSN to PhD
- Nursing, MSN
- Nursing, PhD
- Project Engineering
- Psychology, BS
- Public Administration
- Research Administration Certificate
- Research Administration, MRA
- Systems Engineering