As we head into the second year of the 2020s, we’re picking up the pieces from what can only be described as a disastrous 2020. But it’s also been a year during which many of us have been confronted with the very real value and need for a working and effective healthcare system—one that is resilient to stress tests, and one that can care for local communities in their time of crisis. In this piece, the focus will be on the three medical trends that you should keep an eye on as this year sees the medical professional administering vaccinations instead of monitoring ventilators in hospitals.
The world of medicine is still relatively tactile and physical. For many, that’s how it will always be: medicine is about being close to patients, and being able to touch, feel, and listen to them in real time. But there is a parallel development of thought that suggests that this is not necessarily required—and that many appointments, check-ups, and even diagnoses can take place not only remotely, but through AI. Indeed, AI-supported diagnoses already take place in some corners of the world.
Meanwhile, there’s a parallel drive towards better service provision with technology. This is exemplified by the Ambulnz service, which operates a kind of Uber for the ambulance, requisitioning older vehicles and using them to provide paramedic services in an ultra-responsive set-up. This, too, appears to be the future of medicine.
This coming year will be defined by the ability to get vaccinations sent out across the world, and distributed internally in the United States. The aim—to get a large portion of the population vaccinated against the coronavirus—will meant that society is safe to return to normal once more.
Unfortunately, there is pushback against these vaccination drives. There is a tidal wave of misinformation and disinformation hitting social media at present, which is aiming to dissuade US citizens from getting the vaccine. Many of these tall tales don’t even originate in the US, but they’re peddled in the country. A point to keep an eye on next year is just how effective the authorities can be in quashing these false claims.
Meanwhile, there’s a new president heading to the White House in 2021. Whether you like him or loathe him is by the by: a new president means new healthcare policies, and if his democratic predecessor is anything to go by, you’re likely to see some deviations from the current state of play when it comes to private healthcare and insurance.
Still, these changes will only be mooted in the first months of the new administration. It will take some time before they are put into clear policy, and even then, it will take a majority in the senate to run many of these policies through. This is about intent more than realization, but it is still a huge and impactful area to watch for the whole medical industry in 2021.
Keep an eye on the above three changes in healthcare in 2021 to remain informed about incoming changes to the industry.