Healthcare has changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic. The use of telehealth technologies to facilitate the remote delivery of healthcare services, was one of the biggest changes healthcare has undergone in decades. Going forward, healthcare will continue to evolve. Four main factors are likely to define the future of healthcare.
Telehealth refers to the use of digital information and telecommunication technologies to prove healthcare services and information. The pandemic put telehealth at the heart of healthcare service delivery. With stay-at-home mandates and the need to reduce the risks of contracting Covid-19 forcing healthcare providers to treat patients in their homes, telehealth was crucial for the provision of healthcare services, Technologies such as video conferencing platforms for consultations, and remote monitoring devices such as wearable blood pressure cuffs, are now familiar to all Americans. The cost savings of telehealth, added to the convenience, has made telehealth very popular for patients.
Doctors are often judged by their interventions to save lives, or treat diseases, but increasingly, experts are beginning to think that the best way to ensure positive health outcomes is to judge doctors by their ability to keep patients healthy. Value-based care would incentivize this by replacing fee-for-service payment methods with an incentive scheme that rewards doctors for taking preventive actions and focusing on the wellbeing of patients. Not only would this improve health outcomes, it would also be cheaper for healthcare systems.
People are dissatisfied with primary care. It takes long to get an appointment, doctors seem disengaged, and the field seems to lack behind other healthcare fields, in terms of technological adoption. Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical, a primary healthcare provider, is a sign of the disruption that the field is undergoing. In addition, Walmart has acquired telehealth provider MeMD, and CVS health paid $8 billion to buy Signify Health. Premier Primary Care believes that premier care is at a tipping point, and that technology will play a much larger role in service delivery, thanks to partnerships with tech firms, and acquisitions by tech firms.
Artificial intelligence was once touted as a revolutionary technology that would transform health care. That hasn’t happened. That doesn’t mean it won’t. Researchers today have a better understanding about how to use AI to help them deliver healthcare better. With the shift to digital since the pandemic, AI has a greater wealth of data from which it can unearth insights, than it had before. Healthcare providers are now more conscious of the benefits of AI, such as in helping doctors make better diagnoses, or improve their overall decisions. In the office, AI can help healthcare providers reduce their paperwork and improve their scheduling. The benefit for all is that doctors can focus more time on quality healthcare provision.
Researchers are working hard to ensure that there are practical use cases of AI. After a pandemic of forced disruption, the field is more welcoming of technology and more educated about the value it brings. Having failed in its initial deployment, to revolutionize healthcare, AI may do just that in the years ahead.