Will 2022 finally be the year when the Covid-19 pandemic stays behind us? Or will the new variants keep springing? Will the digital transformation in the healthcare sector make strides?
As the saying goes, new year, new beginnings; the same is the case for the healthcare industry. Healthcare is continually evolving, from a resource-intensive engine to a technology-empowered juggernaut. The rise in chronic illnesses, growing inequities, and towering healthcare costs have mounted pressure on healthcare organizations.
And while it’s true that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented heart-wrenching and exhausting challenges. However, the depths of this raging crisis have welcomed some encouraging signs. The deadly pandemic has substantiated the ability of the healthcare industry to spur innovation, respond to the challenges, and deliver in essentially different ways.
In these times of crisis, we’ve seen how public health professionals, equipment workers, and vaccine developers have been at the forefront while risking their lives to address the daunting challenges. Today, global healthcare systems offer scalable and accessible care to protect the health of the planet and the people living on it.
So, let’s read ahead and determine some of the common themes that are driving the healthcare sector to new heights in 2022 and will continue to do in the forthcoming years:
More focus on digital health
We are likely to witness digital health broaden its footprints in various healthcare domains. As the industry evolves radically with time, healthcare professionals now make the most of the latest technology to enhance patient outcomes.
And this is specifically true for online counseling and telehealth. An increasing number of people are going for teletherapy, also known as distance counseling to cater to their mental health needs.
Hence, there is no right time like the present for individuals who wish to serve their community to step foot in this field. There are a plethora of counseling careers, from substance abuse and crisis counseling to marriage and family, each with a promising job outlook. This way, individuals can play their part in overcoming the stigma linked inextricably with mental health issues.
What more does the year 2022 hold for digital health? We expect to see growing investment in delivery models to expand digital health and make telehealth mainstream.
Use of predictive analytics
Today, with the unusual increase in patient demand, the ability to acclimatize to evolving situations is more than ever before. How good will it be to pinpoint the bottlenecks in the patient flow and take necessary measures before such problems occur?
The good news is that predictive analytics has enabled healthcare professionals to manage transitions of care effectively and anticipate potential handicaps in operational excellence. Additionally, predictive analytics allows workers to gain insight into patient capacity and patient care from large historical and real-time data volumes. Once done with the validations, professionals must consider the latest trends and developments to improve the accuracy of predictive analytics algorithms.
Aside from detecting patient capacity and patient flow, predictive analytics also helps healthcare workers identify and prevent chronic health conditions. Therefore, we expect to see professionals prescribe treatment plans based on well-informed decisions and choose various medicine combinations to avoid long-term health issues.
A new method to treat prostate cancer
Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is another common health condition found in men in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 268,490 males have developed prostate cancer in 2022. And there have been approximately 34,500 deaths in the same year. Also, about one person in eight develops this cancer in their lives. These staggering stats depict the need for accurate imaging to locate the tumor and discern recurrences.
PSMA is an antigen found on the cell surface at extremely high levels in people who have prostate cancer. And this antigen can now serve as an effective biomarker to treat the said condition. With the recent approval from FDA, PSMA PET scans utilize a radioactive laser to secure the proteins of PSMA. Healthcare professionals can append the results of this scan with MRI or CT scans to figure out the position of the tumor.
Thus, this remarkable technology allows healthcare workers to detect cancer timely. It also enables them to take on a specific approach encompassing radiation therapy, surgery, and systemic therapy to treat prostate cancer.
Accelerated XL and ML initiatives
Extended reality is an all-inclusive term that encompasses mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). Each of these technologies comprises the use of headsets and lenses to change the picture of the world. Either by putting the human beings in a wholly new virtual environment or placing the virtual elements in real-world scenarios.
Today, physicians and surgeons leverage VR headsets to get closely familiar with the functions of the human body without the need to put patients’ lives at stake. And this also eliminates the need for cadavers. What’s more? VR headsets can prove beneficial for various treatment methods. For instance, therapists use the transformative applications of this technology to facilitate autistic children struggling with coping and social skills.
Moreover, since the outbreak of the ongoing pandemic, healthcare professionals have leveraged machine learning to control the spread of this deadly virus. ML initiatives’ key findings and learnings will play a crucial role in curbing other infections down the road. Also, the Biden-Harris foundation has decided to invest $2.1 billion to control activities and prevent infectious diseases across various public health sectors in the United States.
Transformation of patient care through AI
While the pandemic has proven the ability of artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry, this cutting-edge technology will continue to bring about a positive change in the sector. As modernization expands, we can witness more exceptional applications of AI, besides detecting SARS-COV-2 from coughs, in 2022 and beyond.
The technology enables healthcare professionals to focus on patient care rather than dwelling on regular tasks. For instance, AI tools help imaging technologists to perform routine exams efficiently, allowing them to obtain images right the first time with improved precision.
Another area of healthcare where AI will continue its disruption is preventative medicine. Instead of prescribing treatment plans, this field of medicine will focus more on anticipating areas where epidemics may arise.
Unquestionably, the field of healthcare is an exciting one, continually in a state of flux and charting the course for innovations. And not to mention, the pandemic has established a basis for a more responsive healthcare industry.
As the field continues to grow, today’s developments will play an integral role in the days to come. And as each year witnesses remarkable innovations, 2022 will most likely keep going with the momentum. All these advancements direct to a future appertaining to the smart utilization of data, cutting-edge technologies, and flexible workflows to pave the way for quality healthcare delivery, timely decision-making, and enhanced R&D cycles.
Thus, healthcare organizations should address and respond to the newest trends and set measurable goals to remain competitive in this ever-evolving landscape and safeguard people’s health.