2020 was one of the most testing years for healthcare industries in recent history. Covid-19 put the industry under immense pressure and in many places, it still continues to. Following the difficulties faced by the industry, it was widely agreed that a vast improvement in healthcare services and the procedures in place for major incidents like the pandemic must be prioritised.
Here are a few of the breakthroughs that are likely to be at the forefront of the healthcare industry in 2021, as well as moving forwards into the future.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, a priority has been placed on protecting the mental and physical health of employees all over the world. This will also be emphasised within the healthcare industry.
Employees have been risking their lives everyday to help others, so it is predicted that in 2021 there will be a significant increase in the focus on physical and mental health, in the form of increased biosecurity measures and support in juggling their duties with their home life.
The Increase in Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to play a huge role in the transformation of the health industries as we know them. Whilst AI is used on a small scale now to give medical advice through chatbots, for example to give personalised advice about the best magnesium supplements for you, its role is going to become far more advanced in the next few years.
It has been suggested that AI will be able to assist with precision medicine, medical imaging and drug discovery which would help to create tailored treatment plans, for example. Whilst the exact direction of this technology is difficult to assess, it is pretty certain that it will play a significant role in the future of the healthcare industry.
2020 meant that the healthcare industry had to adjust in order to protect themselves whilst also preventing the spread of coronavirus. This meant that remote medicine and virtual consultations became much more prominent. This adaptation was no doubt challenging, yet it has potentially paved the way for the future of medicine.
Things like appointments via video call became a daily practice that in some circumstances, could suffice in the future. Although there are obvious exceptions where a physical examination is required, video calls could be assigned to particular patients where it was sufficient to have a discussion/show issues over video. Not only could this save the NHS plenty of money as a result of reduced operating costs but it could also protect people from the risk of infectious diseases.
There will always be barriers to this, as people are likely to be wary of having confidential discussions over the internet. Many people are also unlikely to be confident using the required technology. However, the adaptations that were made are a positive stepping stone towards what might be an important part of medicine.
So, there are some of the biggest breakthroughs in the healthcare industry that we are likely to see in 2021. The welfare of employees is likely to be a strong focus, AI will develop from something simple like multivitamin advice through a chatbot to complex diagnosis and virtual medicine is probably here to stay. It’s been an exceptionally difficult year, but hopefully something positive can be taken out of it moving forward.