The Global Healthcare Scene Will Be Shaped By Six Significant Events In 2022

Despite ongoing challenges on numerous fronts, there is rising hope that many countries are now better able to deal with COVID-19's implications

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The global healthcare industry is witnessing a paradigm shift all around the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present new challenges. Healthcare workers all over the world are concerned with changing customer attitudes and behaviour, the integration of life sciences, quickly expanding virtual care technology, new talent, current healthcare models, and diagnostic and therapeutic innovation.

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Trends that will shape the global healthcare landscape

Digital transformation: The government has announced an investment of INR 64,180 crore over the next six years to strengthen healthcare services. A significant chunk of this budget will be used to digitize healthcare which comprises an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem, and will feature digital health providers and facility registries and universal access to health facilities. It will be a single point of contact that connects patients with specialized doctors, availability of beds, consent framework and universal access to health facilities, etc. This system will aid in the delivery of healthcare in ways that will shape India's healthcare future.

The rapid deployment of optical fibres in underserved geographies will aid affordable broadband and mobile services in rural and remote areas, while the rollout of the National Digital Health Ecosystem will enable an explosion of telehealth services across the country, connecting patients in rural areas with medical specialists in metros, thereby resolving the problem of access.

Many new health applications have been released this year to assist the population at large. They are making use of teleconsultations as well as the growing usage of technology for other health services. Even the prescriptions and lab reports are being delivered to the patient's home. As the industry looks for ways to combine inpatient care with community and home-based care, cloud technology will gain prominence. Furthermore, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other similar technology will continue to gain traction in the healthcare industry.

Focus on mental healthcare: While we have mostly recovered from COVID, the scars on our hearts and minds remain, as the footprint of the last 2.5 horrific years has left an indelible mark. According to a survey, aside from physical health concerns, there was a 200 per cent increase in overall psychiatry consultations, in persons aged 21-30 accounting for 62 per cent of the total teleconsultations. Among the top mental health concerns are isolation, panic attacks, stress management, loneliness and anxiety issues.

In this scenario, the central government's tele-mental health project is a step forward for persons seeking treatment for mental diseases who want to overcome societal stigma. Large numbers are still hesitant to seek help. Now that a telemedicine service is being put in place, more people will come out to discuss their mental health difficulties. This would surely contribute to the eradication of the stigma connected with mental diseases.

Research and development: R&D areas offer innovation that is out of reach for the poor and middle classes. The world has recognized the importance of investing in healthcare research and development in the face of the pandemic, and it will continue to lead the way. More vaccine research will be conducted, and a greater emphasis will be placed on finding treatments for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

ESG strategies for sustainability: The majority of hospitals and healthcare institutions are not energy efficient. It is time for healthcare leaders and organizations to set goals to minimize the sector's carbon footprint.

Today healthcare facilities should aim to build resilience into their infrastructure, supply chain and workforce to withstand future natural disasters. The necessity of the hour is to put measures in place to deal with the rising number of individuals suffering from respiratory, cardiovascular, and other climate-related illnesses.

Health equity: Health equity is achieved when everybody achieves full health and well-being. A lot of factors such as situations in which people are born, grow, live, work, play, and age, as well as biological variables, influence their health and health equity. Sometimes, inequality and discrimination prevent certain individuals to achieve health equity. Today's healthcare experts acknowledge that establishing a balance of clinical, mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health is crucial and influenced by social, economic, and environmental variables, as well as healthcare. Therefore, the focus should be to prioritize health equity by removing barriers that prevent people to achieve happiness.

PPP for public healthcare: New public-private partnerships, new sources of funding, new market entries with various skill sets, and considerable measures to digitalize the healthcare industry will all contribute to the improvement of public healthcare.

The Bottomline

Despite ongoing challenges on numerous fronts, there is rising hope that many countries are now better able to deal with COVID-19's implications. While there is little likelihood that COVID-19 will totally vanish, when new variants arise, COVID-19 will transition from pandemic to endemic, meaning that while the virus will still be there, it will be more predictable and controlled. We hope that the pandemic's actual legacy is to serve as a timely catalyst for launching and speeding up many of the healthcare industry's long-standing innovations.