The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the healthcare industry into the spotlight. Around the world, hospital personnel have spent over a year providing care for hundreds of thousands of patients with COVID-19 while scientists in pharmaceutical companies worked to create vaccinations and other treatments.  Furthermore, the pandemic has revolutionized the way routine healthcare is managed, including an increased use of technology and the rise of telehealth services. Let’s take a look at some of the trends shaping the future of the healthcare industry.

Telehealth will be a key player in the healthcare industry through the end of the pandemic and beyond. Analysts estimate that telehealth use is thirty eight times higher now than the baseline pre-pandemic. This use is propelled by a few factors, including both consumer and provider willingness to use telehealth services as well as changes in regulations that made telehealth more widely accessible to the public. In general, patients are more interested in taking advantage of telehealth services, and insurance companies are reimbursing them for utilizing these services. Looking ahead, telehealth is expected to evolve and transform from simple one-on-one doctors appointments to integration with other healthcare services to improve patient experience.

Another technology-related development in the healthcare industry is the potential for the use of artificial intelligence in the context of emergency room visits. According to current estimates, up to one third of emergency room visits are preventable, and artificial intelligence may be the key to preventing patients from seeking out emergency room care when other options are more beneficial. By collaborating with clinical and analytical leaders, and using artificial intelligence to analyze past claims, insurance companies may be able to proactively pinpoint patients that need care before their health deteriorates to the point of an emergency room visit. This has the benefit of reducing instances of overcrowding, unnecessary testing, and uncoordinated care. 

A final factor that will shape the future of the healthcare industry is the treatment of COVID-19. COVID-19 initially overwhelmed the healthcare system and filled hospitals with infected patients.  The treatment and prevention of COVID-19 therefore plays a key role in the future of the healthcare industry. Currently, vaccinations are available and approved for the prevention of COVID-19 around the globe. Furthermore, in the United States, the FDA has approved the antiviral drug Veklury for use in some hospitalized patients. Change is ongoing in the landscape of COVID-19 treatment, such as the development of new treatments and changing vaccination recommendations from governments.

globalEDGE authors have written blog posts on a variety of topics related to COVID-19. To read more about booster shots, click here. To learn more about the first oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment, click here. To read about the first FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

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