Over the past two years, the covid 19 pandemic has prompted not just the healthcare technology sector but the entire world to focus on and develop new technologies to aid in the fight against illness and reduce the spread of disease. The outcome of the covid 19 pandemic also affected the way consumers interact with their healthcare providers i.e., doctors. Consumers are demanding more personalized and remote services and as a result, technology companies in the healthcare sector are responding in creative and innovative ways. These are some of the most important top healthcare trends to follow.
A.I in Healthcare: A welcome disruption
A.I in healthcare is set to explode in the healthcare industry as we know it with some innovative companies leading the stride. Some A. I programs have been known to diagnose illnesses faster than most medical professionals. Human medical error and misdiagnosing illnesses account for 10% of medical deaths. According to Statista , A.I in healthcare is a trend expected to grow from 1 billion dollars to a 28 billion dollar industry by 2025. As healthcare becomes more personalized and remote care becomes more accessible, A.I-powered programs and devices will be at the forefront of the digital therapy revolution. Healthcare trends like these will continue to power the way forward. Here are a few companies using A.I in the healthcare sector.
During the 1st wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, the need for remote and virtual consultations became increasingly evident. Firstly, the coronavirus pandemic cemented telemedicine as an integral part of the digital health revolution . Secondly also a major health trend to follow. According to this research on PubMed central, there was a marked increase in the search for telehealth during the pandemic. Most telemedicine encounters were for adults aged 18–49 years (66% in 2019 and 69% in 2020) and female patients (63% in both 2019 and 2020). Virtual health has enabled a lot of consumers to save time in booking and attending appointments which resulted in lower costs per consultation, improved behavioral routines, and reduced patient waiting lines in hospitals.
During the pandemic, most importantly telemedicine helped bridge the gap between patients and doctors relations. This and many other reasons are why telemedicine is beneficial and is here to stay. In third-world countries like Nigeria, telemedicine is a wonderful way to provide access to healthcare to rural areas. Here are some telemedicine companies making a difference in the Nigerian digital healthcare ecosystem.
Over the decades, wars, conflicts, natural disasters, poverty, and corruption in developing nations have cut off a lot of people from access to basic healthcare services. Mobile clinics are facilities that provide healthcare services via the ambulatory method and usually on an outpatient basis. They offer an extremely affordable, flexible, and dependent alternative to delivering healthcare to the poor. Mobile clinics come in many forms from motorcycle-mounted ambulances and drug dispensaries, tricycle operated ambulances, vans, mobile containers, and RVs. As healthcare delivery and innovation continues to progress especially in developing nations like Nigeria, mobile clinics continue to improve on delivery to those in need.
Mental health awareness
Mental health awareness has for long been a taboo topic and mostly glossed over when it comes to the impact it has on people, especially the young population.
People have been shamed, stigmatized, and not taken seriously when they choose to talk about certain things that affect their mental health.
The mental health impact of the covid 19 pandemic around the world has been anything but comforting. The isolation, hospital admissions, and people not being able to touch their loved ones. People’s businesses closing down, people losing their jobs, etc, it has been a roller coaster of emotions for millions worldwide. Consumers can now book evaluations and consultations virtually without any fear of being stigmatized. In the wake of the pandemic, more nations are now paying more attention to the debilitating effects when the mental health of individuals goes unchecked. Anyone who lives in Lagos, Nigeria knows the amount of triggering factors that could lead to depression, suicide, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.
Thanks to digital therapy, mental health experts have taken a more proactive, personalized approach. As a result, have created remote ways to connect with clients like creating mental health apps so as to reduce the burden faced by their patients.
This is also called personalized medicine or precision medicine. This is a field where physicians use an individual’s genetic profile, diagnostic tests, data, and analytics to advance new dimensions in disease prevention and improve patient lives. Personalized healthcare involves many parts, these are four main parts
- Early detection and diagnosis
- Individual, personal, customized care
- Access to basic optimal care
- Remote monitoring and care
This enables healthcare providers to formulate new diagnostic and treatment plans for an individual based on a genetic approach.
These are electronic devices that consumers wear that collect data on users’ health, experiences, calories consumed, and heart rhythms, and some of these devices send information to the physician in real-time from anywhere in the world. The increasing demand for all types of wearable devices is set to explode which in turn has led manufacturers and tech companies to develop wearables with syncing capabilities across all mobile and remote devices (smartphones, desktops, apps).
Companies like Fitbit and Apple have launched studies to check and monitor heart rhythms and alert the wearer and his/her healthcare provider. Wearables are here to stay, one of the good selling points is that they focus on measuring and helping the consumers maintain good lifestyle habits and also make It easier for your primary care physician to monitor patients’ health. Companies like Qardio design aesthetically pleasing ecg monitors, Fitbit, Apple, Samsung, etc. have a whole variety of wearable device
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
HMO stands for health maintenance organization; this is an organization that is mandated solely to manage the procession of healthcare services through healthcare facilities that are registered under the scheme. This rings true in a third-world country like Nigeria where HMO adoption is less than 10%. In Nigeria, there are 3 types of Health maintenance organizations
- National: They can operate in all states of the country
- Those that operate within the confines of each of the six geopolitical regions of the country (north central, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest and south-south)
- Those that can only operate in one state
In the recent past, there has been an upsurge in the number of hmo’s that have been registered. As health maintenance organization continue to roll out affordable care packages, we hope to see more Nigerian and Nigerian companies adopt the plan or models that best suits their individual, family, or company needs. These are a few health maintenance organizations operating in Nigeria.
As the world of healthcare rapidly evolves, accessibility has become easier and new technology is changing the way doctors work. From smartwatches that track calories to futuristic mind-blowing A. I systems that predict and diagnose at the touch of a button, some of these systems are already in use and waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. The conveniences that come with the upgrade in health technology and services include reduced cost for both providers and employees and lead to people becoming more intentional about their health and living an improved quality of life. Do you have any questions? Please comment below