Healthcare is changing and changing rapidly. From technological advances to continued projections of physician shortages, a picture begins to emerge of the coming years and what to expect as a transformation overtakes the whole field. What can you expect to see? Here are a few healthcare projections for 2017.
1. Innovation and Technology
Yes, there’s an app for that. Expect to see patients monitoring themselves with smartphones and streaming that information to their physicians and specialists. From a 3-D printed ocular scope that can view the back of the retina (attaches to an iPhone) to navigation to the nearest defibrillator, healthcare is leaving the physician’s locality. Expect to see “bedless” hospitals and video conferencing that will bring medical advice to the underserved… all over the world. Integration of electronic records and real-time data will amp up early interventions and save lives. Cyber-security will be a growing concern.
2. Trending Professions
Advanced practitioners will come to the rescue in doctor shortages but limitations will leave a continuing gap in the surgical field. Retail clinics will continue to pop up on every street corner, taking advantage of consumer desire for convenience and customer service. Health care advisors will also proliferate, leveraging price transparency measures. Because it is unclear exactly what qualifications are needed to take such a position, regulation may be proposed. And in literal healthcare projections- financial advisors are riding a trend sparked by millennials who want to anticipate and save for future medical expenses.
3. Community and Environment
Diagnostics will rely more heavily on environmental conditions instead of lifestyle considerations alone. “Health coaches” will reduce the current lifestyle-related mortality rates as patients embrace preventative measures as never before. Heart disease will supplant obesity as the most publicized scourge and women, in particular, will become increasingly aware of risks. Local communities will play a bigger role as healthcare becomes more accessible through technology and health organizations will have to implement inroads to existing community organizations.
Overall, healthcare projections all include far better communication. A variety of innovations and the growing cloud of patient records will enable the sharing of information from a wide variety of sources. Communication itself will have a global impact as remote healthcare and portable diagnostic tools reach far-flung locations. The problems we see in healthcare today may have seemed insurmountable but the outlook is, in fact, very good.