Over the past year and a half, the world healthcare system has undergone a major transition. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a drastic shift from traditional mechanisms to complete digitalisation of the medical and healthcare sector. And such a shift in the paradigm has been largely driven by technology and its global acceptance.
The new norms of 2020 saw us booking virtual doctor’s appointments, doctors being able to get automated updates on their patients, the normalisation of providing real-time medical assistance, and data scientists predicting diseases – and 2021 is just going to take the baton forward.
Right now, we are in the middle of a medical renaissance and can expect to see the world embrace digital healthcare and medical solutions. So, what are the changes that the medical world will undergo this year? And what are the key healthcare trends in 2021 that we can expect to see? Keep reading to find out!
The Key Healthcare Trends of 2021
1. Telehealth Becomes Conventional
Telehealth has gained immense momentum in the past year and a half. It has ensured that we get the same level of treatment and analysis of medical problems as we would in a clinic. With most of the world under frequent, and often lengthy lockdowns, getting virtual assistance through Zoom calls and other apps is a great leap forward in the digitalisation of the medical world.
Telehealth helps us maintain social distancing, and doctors can accommodate more patients into their hectic schedules. Moreover, telemedicine is being embraced a lot more as it is considered a cheaper and safer option. In the UAE, around 90% of doctors use medical apps and smartphones to provide healthcare consultations.
Autonomous healthcare assistants, along with the medical workforce, will drive telehealth to greater heights in 2021.
2. Artificial Intelligence Leads the Way
AI is omnipresent, and it was only time before it flourished in the world’s healthcare industry. While the potential of AI as a reliable entity to make decisions about a patient’s health has been challenged in the past, 2021 may see it overcome those challenges.
Through comprehensive training programs, Artificial Intelligence is better equipped to work along with human needs. More and more testing platforms are expected to inculcate AI to ensure precision and time-saving medical services.
3. Global Health Supply Chain Strengthens
One of the key healthcare trends in 2021 will be securing the healthcare supply chain. Optimising the supply chain would ensure efficiency as the world’s health sectors will be connected in order to provide drugs and protective equipment on time.
By securing this chain, hospitals can ensure speedy patient recovery, further ensuring the availability of hospital beds. Moreover, it will be a global initiative for healthcare organisations to come together, coordinate supplies, and divert them to areas facing shortages.
Through Aramex’s digital portals/apps, there has been effective supply chain management in the KSA in the form of door deliveries of pharmaceuticals and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
4. Data Analytics Gain Momentum
Our interactions with tech-based healthcare portals and our healthcare activities allow a lot of opportunity for data analysis which will prove useful in predicting our health in the years to come. Data metrics and analysis have been useful in determining the need for ventilators, masks, hospital supplies, and vaccines.
In 2021 and moving forward, data analytics will be an important driver of efficacy as it will be used to expedite drug development for future health crises.
5. The Rise of Gene Editing
The medical industry has undergone more transformation in one year than it has in the past decade. Gene editing and genomics are the genius of this age and can revolutionise how we receive medical treatment.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, gene editing has also seen a breakthrough. It is likely that in 2021, we can see the growth of what is known as ‘precision medicine.’ This is where tailored drugs suited to an individual’s genetic profile can be administered to improve efficacy and reduce side effects.
A CRISPR-based “lab on a chip“ has also been developed by researchers at Stanford University that would deliver a coronavirus infection test result within 30 minutes through an automated hand-held device.
Almost the entire GCC healthcare sector is likely to undergo digitalisation in 2021 as the demand for medical devices will rise by 25% to 30% this year. As telehealth becomes the new normal of medical consultations, the global health supply chain strengthens, and as we see the growth of gene editing, there is one thing that is clear – the healthcare trends in 2021 promise a complete transformation of the medical sector from dated analogue systems to modern real-time software.