2021 has proven to be a unique and challenging year for the healthcare industry. The impact of the pandemic has been widespread, placing significant pressure on our healthcare systems —and this pressure will influence the healthcare trends we can expect in the near future.
Having worked closely with healthcare providers for many years, we at SEI have identified the three trends we expect to be the most impactful and important in 2022.
1. The Expansion of Telemedicine and Digital Care
Many other industries, such as banking, have long embraced the use of mobile applications and other digital tools to improve the experiences of customers. Meanwhile, healthcare has historically embraced such technology at a slower pace for a myriad of reasons including privacy, interoperability, cost and reimbursement.
But that’s changing. This past year, the pervasive impact of the pandemic continued driving demand for the expansion of telemedicine and digital care. At the peak of the pandemic, telemedicine and digital care were necessities for patients, leading many to realize this newfound convenience delivered the same quality of care as in-person visits. Now, demand for telehealth and virtual healthcare visits is higher than ever before.
Patients aren’t the only ones driving demand for this new trend — providers are also beginning to acknowledge the benefits of telehealth, having experienced the improved efficiency associated with it first-hand during the pandemic. In short, customers and practitioners alike find digital care just as effective as in-person care.
We believe 2022 will usher in a new wave of telemedicine and digital care. There will be an increase in the amount of healthcare telecommunication, and it will become more convenient and accessible to patients and providers alike.
2. An Increase in Automation to Support Clinician Staffing
The nursing and physician shortage in the U.S. has been front-of-mind in the healthcare industry for some time. This shortage has been exacerbated by COVID, resulting in widespread dissatisfaction among healthcare professionals. According to a McKinsey study, 22% of nurses may leave their current direct patient care position within the next year.
We anticipate 2022 will present an important opportunity for healthcare providers to get increasingly creative with how they use technology to help staff hospitals, boost overall work satisfaction, and improve the staffing process itself. Automation will play a key role in achieving this.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) are prominent examples of how technology and increased automation can offer relief and flexibility to overburdened healthcare workers.
3. Accelerated Innovation Through Data Analytics
Today’s healthcare organizations boast massive integrated networks that many facilities hope to convert into electronic systems. As data becomes increasingly digitized and more accessible, the industry faces several questions. What do we do with all this data? How can we make the data work for us, and use it to predict and prevent illness? Can we gain access to critical information while respecting patient security and privacy?
There are many opportunities to use healthcare data to improve patient care. For example, Big Data analysis can be leveraged to help healthcare providers prevent and predict illness, as part of a value-based approach to care. Value-based care incentivizes healthcare providers to prevent patients from needing care by compensating them for keeping their patient population well. Big Data can support healthcare providers in this prioritization of wellness over treatment.
We have already seen this trend rising in recent years. Many providers already rely on data analysis technologies like AI and machine learning to, for example, analyze diagnostic results and predict patient responses to certain medications. In 2022, we expect to see an increase in the number of clinicians leveraging Big Data analysis and other technological innovations to make more informed decisions about patient health.
The Future of Healthcare With SEI
SEI has seen an increase in projects and queries relating to these trends, and how they can be taken full advantage of in various healthcare settings. Our healthcare experts have extensive experience in helping our clients keep pace with the latest industry trends. Reach out to continue the conversation and get to know us better!