2021 is coming to a close and once again, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to have a significant influence on the healthcare industry. Healthcare systems across the nation had to quickly adapt processes, workflows, and technologies to keep up with the rapid changes as new variants emerged, vaccines rolled out, treatments progressed, and policies changed. It was a challenging year, but when a challenge is present, innovation often follows.
Here are four innovative healthcare trends that defined healthcare in 2021.
1) A NEED FOR OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES
The buzzword in healthcare this year was “shortage”. In every state, healthcare institutions faced shortages in supplies, equipment, staff, beds, and funding. A the COVID-19 case continued to spike, healthcare providers had to react rapidly to accommodate the new demands on their systems.
Many facilities turned to technology to help supplement various tasks and workflows, like virtual patient observation, allowing one sitter to watch multiple patients remotely. Programs like MedSitter became a much-needed tool to alleviate staffing shortages for hospitals of all sizes.
The buzzword in healthcare this year was “shortage”. In every state, healthcare institutions faced shortages in supplies, equipment, staff, beds, and funding. As the COVID-19 cases continued to spike, healthcare providers had to react rapidly to accommodate the new demands on their systems.
Before the pandemic, healthcare providers were bogged down with time-consuming administrative tasks that often took away from their focus on patient care. These challenges multiplied as the pandemic demanded more attention on patients instead of administrative tasks. According to a recent report from PwC’s Health Research Institute, healthcare systems have recognized this issue, and anticipate shifting toward automation by investing in technologies ranging from robust EHR systems to financial and human resource tools.
2) INCREASED VIRTUAL CARE
Since the pandemic began, telemedicine has become widely available for patients to choose from in place of an in-person appointment. As more healthcare providers offer telehealth options for monitoring and follow-up visits, patients take advantage of this service by having a video chat with physicians from a mobile device in the comfort of their homes. This has dramatically reduced exposure to illnesses for both clinicians and patients and allowed physicians to see more patients quickly.
More than simple remote video chats with physicians, telemedicine and virtual care have expanded into in-patient consultations at patients’ bedsides, too. For example, the IDS Virtual Care Series. Telehealth mobile carts allow patients to connect to their doctors, meet a specialist, or contact a nurse during their hospital stay with the same benefits of reducing illness exposure. Providers benefit from cutting down commuting time between patient rooms. They can now see more patients in a smaller window of time.
3) BROADER DATA SHARING
The recent federal ruling now requires healthcare providers to unlock patient information to access the data outside healthcare organizations. Doing this creates a patient-centric healthcare system focused on the well-being of each person and provides physicians with a holistic view of their care. Opening up data sharing created other challenges, like keeping data within security compliance across organizations.
Healthcare organizations will need to dedicate resources to building out these operations into their overall business strategies. Still, only 44% of providers and payer executives say they’ve identified a leader to guide their interoperability efforts. As a result, we are likely to see this healthcare trend carry over into 2022.
4) STRATEGIC DATA ANALYSIS
The increase in technology, automated workflows, and patient data sharing means healthcare systems have more data points they need to make sense of. In the coming years, healthcare big data will grow at a CAGR of 12.5%. Data analytics allows providers to access information across departments and follow patients throughout their whole healthcare journey. From the initial visit to pharmacy and billing, centralized patient data can improve business performance and patient experience.
If you’re ready to plan for your 2022 healthcare strategy, reach out to our professionals and find out which telehealth technologies, data analytics, and managed services are available to help your organization thrive.