Healthcare 2023 – the trends to watch
Posted on the 11th January 2023
From the rise of AI to dealing with global healthcare inequalities, we detail some of the topics that will matter most in 2023.
The twelve months ahead look set to be some of the most exciting and progressive for global healthcare, with a marked improvement in the synergy between technology and healthcare becoming a key feature of the healthcare landscape.
Increased use of artificial intelligence
An almost permanent feature of ‘one to watch’ lists, AI could finally come into its own this year.
From improving patient care with data-driven clinical decision-making to streamlining system workflows, AI has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. However, most experts agree that it should not be to the detriment of patients and personnel, and must be human-centric.
In addition to this, there is a pressing need to ensure that AI bias is minimized when creating AI-based algorithms. Diversity, and the inclusion of minorities and underrepresented populations, need to be incorporated.
Awareness of the changing landscape of patient privacy and algorithm transparency is also essential in this process.
The rise of the robots
Medical robots are becoming an increasingly familiar feature of healthcare and could help reduce workloads across the industry.
Through automation and AI, these machines can perform a range of tasks and support services – from facilitating the transport of patients and assisting in surgeries to delivering vaccines in remote areas.
In Japan, robots are already assisting nurses and healthcare workers in reception areas and guiding patients to specific rooms within the hospital.
They can also be found in nursing homes, where they perform duties such as monitoring falls or assistance needs, moving individuals, delivering goods, and communicating to provide comfort.
Robots could also prove invaluable in the prevention of disease transmission through the autonomous disinfection of hospitals and other clinical environments.
Health from above
Unmanned drones could play a vital role in improving a range of services, especially for those living in isolated areas.
With over half of the world’s population lacking access to essential health services, and 100 million people worldwide experiencing extreme poverty due to health expenses, drones could be a game-changer.
Their ability to deliver medications, diagnostics, and medical samples safely, rapidly, and efficiently offers a cost-effective means of improving outcomes, especially in remote, underserved communities.
From smartwatches and bracelets to apps and tracker chips, wearable healthcare technology is on the rise and looks set to continue in 2023 as individuals take their health into their own hands.
There is now a growing consensus that this proactive approach to the capture of personalized data could be invaluable in assisting medical professionals with the assessment and diagnosis processes and could play a critical role in disease prevention.
Embracing cloud technology
The ability to access patient data and health records remotely provides medical professionals with a cost-effective means of optimizing and speeding up patient care.
The increased use of cloud technology will also provide further opportunities for big data software companies, providing data migration costs, cultural shifts, security compliance, and standards and regulations are observed.
While not a new technology, the importance and value of telehealth systems were catapulted during the pandemic as alternatives to in-person visits were sought.
Healthcare worker shortages combined with long waiting lists mean that, three years later, demand for the system shows little sign of waning.
Remote, live-video appointments using computers or mobile phones allow users to access their healthcare providers faster and more affordably than traditional visits.
Additionally, telehealth systems allow patients to message their providers and organizations directly with concerns ranging from prescription changes to insurance questions.
Personalizing the patient experience
We are seeing a growing trend towards ‘personalized’ care. From diets that analyze exact macro requirements to increased digital interactions, the patient experience is hugely important.
However, for personalized healthcare to really be successful, there is a pressing need to improve the patient experience first, as patient engagement and self-advocacy can lead to better clinical outcomes and improved quality of life.
The importance of mental health
Mental health awareness has improved considerably in recent years and was especially significant during the pandemic as isolation, redundancy, and increased stresses came to the fore.
However, as global cases of anxiety and depression rose by 25 per cent, mental health services were under severe external and internal pressures due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
To contend with this, the World Health Organization (WHO) created its Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 to provide guidance on improving mental health services.
Over the coming months, we could well see many of the key points in this report put into action as governments and individuals increasingly realize the benefits and importance of mental health.
Levelling up healthcare inequalities
The pandemic and the subsequent access to vaccines highlighted the significance of social determinants of health (SDOH), such as environmental conditions where individuals are born, live, and worship, and their impact on health and quality-of-life outcomes.
These factors are largely at the heart of all global health disparities and inequities.
In the coming months, healthcare programs and initiatives to address the challenges of SDOH will be promoted by the agencies including the WHO, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Centers for Disease Control.