The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on modern healthcare systems, but the industry’s response has shown its resiliency and capacity to swiftly bring innovations to the market. However, the crisis is far from ended, and the sector’s creative capabilities must continue to rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of its dissemination.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the healthcare business has been ripe for innovation. According to McKinsey research, about 9 in 10 healthcare executives believe COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on their organizations. Not only are novel ways being used to stop the virus from spreading, but they are also being used to ensure that all patients continue to receive safe care in the future.

Some of the key predictions for healthcare innovation through 2022 and beyond are listed below.

1. The use of Artificial Intelligence

Health systems are adopting AI and digital operating methods on a significant scale to meet the rising demand. They’ve proven that It’s possible to deploy AI for Covid-19 care in several essential ways. Early detection and diagnosis, treatment monitoring, contact tracing, case and fatality projections, vaccine and medication research, healthcare worker task reduction, and disease prevention are all examples of these uses.

Providence St. Joseph Health System in Seattle, which developed an online screening and triage solution in conjunction with Microsoft, is one example of AI being utilized for detection and diagnosis. This method could aid in the rapid detection and differentiation of patients with COVID-19 from those who have a less severe illness. 

According to experts, future advances are more likely to detect illness spread rapidly, using factors like symptoms, treatment options, and mortality to make forecasts.

2. Preventive, diagnostic, and treatment solutions that cut across sectors

This pandemic reaction has resulted in massive collaborations that blur typical organizational boundaries. In one project, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, significant health care organizations, private industry, academic institutions, and startups have pooled their knowledge and resources. The alliance intends to flatten infection and mortality curves, enhance outcomes, and allow clinics and hospitals to continue to respond to patient needs by coordinating the use of data and advanced analytics. Per the initiative’s guiding principles, no participants will be compensated or given a preference.

Although worldwide collaboration in research has long been standard practice, the pandemic has demonstrated the capacity to obtain clinical results at an unprecedented rate by sharing data with trusted partners. More cooperation devoted to clinical research in countries with inadequate health systems could be seen in the healthcare innovation business in the future.

3. Wearable technology

When it comes to addressing the challenges of an aging population, clinically and economically validated medical-grade wearable technology has a critical role to play. In general, they lessen the financial burden on the government healthcare system while improving patient outcomes in the following decades.

Adopting wearable technology in a hospital for one medical concern can swiftly lead to adoption for other reasons, making platform medical devices (those that handle various maladies with one technology or equipment) particularly essential in this context.

It’s essential to keep people out of the hospital as often as possible and keep them there for the lowest amount of time possible to make healthcare systems financially successful. This is due to both the high expense of treatment and the increased risk of complications like venous thromboembolism while patients are bedridden.

In the future, wearables that are easy to use at home and show their effectiveness can improve medical outcomes while also costing less overall.

4. Develop supply chains across the country

Medical facilities found it challenging to get masks and other safety equipment when COVID cases began to rise. The medical professionals were constantly asking for lab gowns, corpse bags, and thermometers. State governments are fighting with the federal government for the same small supply of supplies.

Experts believe that, in the future, the key to regulating demand spikes will be to coordinate supplies across a vast geographic area, such as a state or country. Apparently, we’ll have to have systems in place to demonstrate what’s accessible where and when in the supply chains for everything from personal protective equipment (PPE) to prescription pharmaceuticals before that can happen.

As a result, hospitals in different parts of the state can exchange ventilators with each other if one of them isn’t in use at the other. This, however, is only a temporary solution. The answer lies in increasing the scope of the project. As an illustration, imagine a national inventory management system with a website for tracking assets and supplies. In that way, healthcare facilities may examine their total inventory and figure out how to distribute available resources most effectively where they are needed, using supply chain approaches.

Currently, every hospital and healthcare system runs on its own as a sort of silo. Better information systems offer the potential to redefine how our nation’s healthcare system can be more interconnected.

5. Wider acceptance of telemedicine as a viable option for healthcare

People have been stopped from going to the doctor regularly because of the social distancing laws implemented during the outbreak. This has caused a flurry of video conference medical appointments around the country. Numerous health insurers pushed to reverse their limitations on telehealth appointments, including the federal government’s Medicare program.

With telemedicine, caretakers can “watch what’s happening in their patients’ homes” when dealing with chronic illnesses like renal disease or diabetes. For patients, this means travel times to go for check-up were significantly reduced.

Another benefit of telehealth is the possible reduction in no-shows, a problem that has long plagued health care providers. Patients who were younger, poorer, lived further away from a clinic or without health insurance had the highest no-show rates in North America, according to a global survey in 2018.

Final Thoughts

Long after COVID-19 is over, the ability of the United States to compete and provide medical solutions must remain a national priority. There will be an end to this pandemic, but the rate of innovation it has sparked must not slow. We must accelerate medical advancement and avoid policies that limit our capacity to invest where it’s most needed if we are to solve the many health issues affecting people all around the world.