Examining the landscape of an industry is essential to every profession, and the healthcare industry is no different. I made a few healthcare predictions in November of last year, but now that the halfway mark of 2022 is approaching, I wanted to reconvene, share how the industry has evolved, and predict the trends to expect in the coming years.
Top 5 Trends in Healthcare
Healthcare and Technology
Health services and technological advancements have gone hand in hand for years, and with new innovations coming out all the time, health systems have been changing constantly.
Wearable devices are an example of common technology seen every day. The Apple Watch and Oura Ring have become increasingly popular for tracking personal health data in fitness, sleep, heart rate, and so much more. In fact, the Apple Watch became an FDA-approved medical device to run EKG tests. In the future, I believe we will see healthcare professionals using the data collected from these devices much more.
Another tech advancement trending is digital healthcare. For the past five years, “telehealth” has increased in online searches, and the start of the pandemic in 2020 really showed the public the benefits of virtual healthcare. While not every visit can be conducted via phone or video, the technology has made health services more accessible to more patients, and hospitals have been able to reduce admissions and cut down emergency room visits thanks to remote patient monitoring programs.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the last major trend in the technological development of the healthcare industry. The prime example of this is a mobile app called Your.MD or “Healthily.” It utilized AI to help patients find diagnoses of their health problems while pulling up relevant health information. Your.MD has seen a 350% user growth in the past year alone. However, doctors have also been partnering with AI to better their practice, such as the Aidoc helping radiologists find abnormalities in medical scans. Now, more than ever is a time to embrace technology!
More Personalized Healthcare
Since the beginning of time, humans have strived to learn more about their bodies and how they function and affect everyday life. We are still making discoveries today! This new knowledge of individual health leads to fewer healthcare generalizations for the majority of the population.
Each individual patient has their own unique set of needs for their health, and it’s essential healthcare professionals customize treatment plans accordingly. Precise medicine not only improves the health outcomes of the patient but saves money in the long run. For example, the popularity of at-home DNA kits propelled this trend, since knowing genetics, genomics, and other biological information helps healthcare professionals reduce patient risk levels.
Social Determinants of Health
A Social Determinant of Health (SDOH) is a non-medical influencer on people’s health. These factors include access to health services and health insurance availability in the United States. It has become increasingly common knowledge that there is a health disparity in the country; even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that vulnerable populations, such as refugees and children in low-income households, are at a higher risk for negative health exposure.
While the Affordable Care Act is designed to reduce this gap, it has not been able to close it yet, but healthcare providers and policymakers are continually aiming to make positive changes.
Mental Health Priorities
As mentioned earlier, telehealth services have become popular, and the field of psychology has majorly benefited from this trend. Therapists and psychiatrists are more available than ever before to connect online, and more patients have access to seek mental health diagnoses and treatments. This is a great development in our industry since roughly one-third of adults meet the criteria for behavioral health disorders. While there are still many patients who are not able to receive treatment, it’s encouraging to see the trends are helping to destigmatize mental health care, especially on social media.
Health Insurance Evolving
There are two major developments for healthcare trends in 2022, and both are in regard to health insurance. Ever since Amazon Care rolled out to Seattle employees in 2020, the market has begun to change. Recently, Sam’s Club announced the offering of public healthcare bundles, and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced a new clinic called Cityblock.
On the other hand, unbundled healthcare is on the horizon, thanks to companies like Bind, who offer “on-demand” health services. However, while these services should theoretically reduce costs for patients, they also have the potential to expose patients to larger financial risks in the case of sudden medical emergencies.
Knowledgeable Health Care Providers Are Available
The medical professionals at Hillcroft Physicians are always up-to-date on the latest healthcare trends and embrace change to improve our patient care. Thanks to Medical Director Dr. Forough Farizani, we have a holistic approach to your care to ensure you live a longer and happier life in the best condition possible. For appointments, call (713) 988-3921 or visit our website to learn more.