SACRAMENTO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 8, 2021 / The COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020 has had a massive and indelible impact on society overall and on the healthcare industry in particular. The lockdowns to prevent the virus’ spread resulted in changes to patient and provider behavior that many believe will have a lasting impact to the delivery and outcomes of care.
As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, here are a few ways in which we can expect healthcare to continue to evolve, according to Dr. Cynthia Telles, the director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center for Excellence.
Telehealth is here to stay
As doctor’s offices, outpatient care centers, and other locations of care closed during the early weeks and months of the pandemic, the healthcare system saw a sizable uptick in telemedicine.
According to the Epic Health Research Network, while patient demand for care via telemedicine was at an all-time high in mid-April, the demand dropped by the summer, from 69% of all visits to 21%. But considering that telehealth previously accounted for just .01% of all visits, Dr. Cynthia Telles believes the pandemic will bring about a lasting change in patient behavior. As a psychologist, Dr. Telles recognizes that there are many patient needs that can be met through telemedicine, which can help impact not only access but also may help appointment adherence. At the same time, providers must carefully monitor the quality of care and watch closely for any inadvertent risk associated with using this form of care.
Artificial Intelligence will become more prevalent in healthcare
The healthcare industry is rapidly learning the many ways artificial intelligence (AI) can positively impact the delivery of care, the patient experience, and the associated administrative tasks. While there are data privacy and other concerns that need to be addressed, AI holds much promise for delivering tools and solutions that can help make tasks easier, such as appointment scheduling, image analysis, or aiding a clinician’s diagnosis. As the nation continues to look for ways to improve care, reduce costs and improve access, the promise of AI is exciting.
Self-monitoring options for chronic illness patients
It’s widely known that management of chronic health conditions makes up about 80% of healthcare costs. Bringing that down is key to helping lower the cost of healthcare for everyone while improving outcomes and life expectancy. Dr. Cynthia Telles believes that the use of wearable monitors and trackers will continue to grow, helping patients manage certain elements of their own healthcare. In fact, Fierce Healthcare recently reported that “the use of remote monitoring technologies and wearables has accelerated during the pandemic as a way to track health conditions while consumers stay safely at home.”
Today’s technology is a far cry from the early gadgets that simply counted our steps. The growing wearable market offers a wide variety of devices, such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps. Some believe the growing acceptance and use of healthcare wearables could save the nation’s healthcare system close to $7 billion per year.
“These are exciting trends in healthcare,” says Dr. Telles. “As we look to improve care, expand access and lower costs, each of these trends hold great promise for both patients and care providers.”
SOURCE: Cynthia Telles
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