Data is an essential part of understanding modern industry. In light of the economic impacts of COVID-19, tracking and analyzing data is important more than ever before, as the insights gained can help businesses survive.
One of the most impacted industries in the wake of the pandemic has of course been healthcare. The changing ways we receive and seek out care mean disruptions from the norm and a renewed imperative to study what is happening through collected data.
Healthcare data across 2020 holds deeper implications for the future of the industry. By exploring this data here, we can better get a sense of how care will continue to change for all of us.
Data Trends Across the Healthcare Industry
The widespread compilation and application of data can make all kinds of solutions possible, and healthcare professionals know it. In fighting the pandemic, for instance, they’ve put together a database of COVID-19 research so that scientists can freely and easily study the way the virus works. Tools like these offer unprecedented levels of understanding for all kinds of researchers, care professionals, and industry analysts.
As a result, care patterns can be adjusted to best fit patient and facility needs. This creates an evolving landscape of care practices of which patients, providers, and investors alike should take note.
Here are just a few of the most prominent data trends across the healthcare industry:
- Patient-generated healthcare data is on the rise, with over 80% of people willing to wear a health-monitoring device.
- Cyberattacks are up by as much as 400% and often target healthcare records.
- The use of telehealth services is up by 50%.
- 44% of healthcare professionals report feeling unprepared by their education for technological developments, with 73% seeking out additional training.
- Healthcare professionals face a high-pressure workplace, with 63% of nurses reporting that they experienced burnout caused by their work.
Taken altogether, this data shows the broader picture of the healthcare industry. It is a landscape made up of incoming technological tools meant to assist patients and providers, However, providers are more often than not overburdened by the environment they face.
The rapid shift towards telemedicine services in the wake of the pandemic meant that providers of all kinds had to rely more on technological tools to do the work than what was previously done face-to-face. This, atop the overall trend across industries towards virtual processes, means that data is under siege from all angles by cybercriminals looking to take advantage of new systems. Cybercrime has exploded as did the need for comprehensive cybersecurity options for care facilities.
All these data trends mean a very different landscape for healthcare beyond 2020. Here’s what you should know.
What’s in Store for the Future of Healthcare
As the world adapts to the new normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, some healthcare data trends will stick, while others may not. These industry-changing trends are already making themselves a prominent part of care and the discourse surrounding it.
Among the many insights gleaned from healthcare data are three main areas the healthcare industry is moving towards in the near future. These areas are:
More Prominent Use of Tech Like Artificial Intelligence
The power of AI in generating healthcare solutions is virtually unlimited. With vast amounts of patient data on-hand in increasingly secure databases, care professionals can connect symptoms and diagnose issues like never before.
These tools have already been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19, where programs like BlueDot or Jvion’s COVID Community Vulnerability Map have used AI to help evaluate risks. Applied smart systems are helping keep individuals safe, but the technology is useful far beyond the pandemic.
For example, a team of researchers at Osaka University have applied AI deep learning to scanning for neurological diseases. Their program compares brain scans with thousands of database images to determine potential lesions and abnormalities. As a result, patients can get better results, faster. In some cases, this means lives saved.
Continued Use of Telemedicine Options
Telemedicine was the breakout hit of the coronavirus pandemic. This tool kept vulnerable patients safer while coordinating care over a virtual platform. In turn, it stepped up the accessibility of healthcare as a whole.
The emergence of telehealth became an assurance of care with many facilities being overburdened or shut down to cost and labor variables. Suddenly, the reach of medical care was no longer about geographic location. This platform for communication with a physician took off in popularity due to its accessibility, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
As the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, “Telehealth might continue to serve as an important modality for delivering care during and after the pandemic.”
A Reshuffling of the Industry Structure as a Whole
When the pandemic hit, an estimated 14.6 million Americans lost employer-sponsored health insurance, leaving them at a financial disadvantage for receiving healthcare in the middle of a public health crisis. This occurred at a time when the national discourse already frequently discussed the benefits and drawbacks of some sort of national health coverage plan.
Currently, the U.S. offers Medicare and Medicaid to eligible citizens. However, there are limitations within these programs as well. Some propose greater use of health savings accounts (HSA) or flexible savings accounts (FSA) to hold money tax-free to be used for medical purchases, including corrective eyewear, which is necessary for 60% of Americans.
While the debate is ongoing, the nature of the pandemic landscape will almost guarantee healthcare reforms of some scale.
2020 has been an exceptional year in terms of changing industries. By analyzing the data in the healthcare sector, we see the beginnings of patterns like these that will more than likely redefine the industry as time goes on. With big data empowering AI solutions and telemedicine further feeding these solutions, healthcare as we know it will never be the same. In the meantime, companies and entrepreneurs involved in AI and big data tools have a unique opportunity to help the healthcare industry adjust to the new, high-tech normal.