digital health forecasts: With millions of people back in strict lockdown due to the rampant new strain of coronavirus and the launch of a monumental global immunization program, 2021 is likely to be another seismic year for digital health. We’ve heard about the impact on NHS primary care, the rise of virtual mental health care and growing concerns about health data security. Healthcare IT News speaks to healthcare leaders about their outlook for the uncertain 12 months that lie ahead.
dr Minal Bakhai, GP and National Clinical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement for the Digital First Primary Care Program
“GP practice is emerging as one of the biggest challenges the NHS has ever faced. Building on the major strides we’ve made in digital access, full triage and remote consultations, 2021 offers exciting opportunities to help us deliver more flexible, coordinated and personalized care. With two million online consultation requests per month, over 90% of practices with online consultations and 99% with video consultations, this is just the beginning of our journey.
“The key to success in 2021 will be optimizing the changes we implement and reducing the variance in readiness, capacity and digital infrastructure in our systems. When we get it right, using digital tools to increase in-person visits can improve the patient experience, reduce inequity, and prioritize care for those who need it most, which is important and benefits all of our patients, not just digital users.
“We hope for better integration of general practice with broader primary care, virtual centres at scale, better software usability, and personalized data-driven long-term care pathways, leveraging the effective collaboration and peer support we’ve seen in the pandemic to make it all happen.” ”
Dr Sam Shah, Director of Medical Strategy Numan and former Director of Digital Development at NHSX
“The past year during the COVID-19 period has disrupted healthcare, but it has also spurred adoption of certain types of technology. It is too early to say whether or not the changes in health technology will last, but it is clear that there is now a much greater focus on public health and prevention than before. As COVID-19 affects people worldwide, that trend will continue in 2021.”
“Policymakers, clinicians and citizens are also recognizing the value of better-connected health information, for example, insight into a person’s COVID-19 test results or immunization status.” However, with such rapid change comes the challenge of integrating new technologies into existing healthcare ecosystems, especially in environments where the infrastructure may not be as mature.
“It looks like telemedicine and remote monitoring will continue into 2021, with greater trust between patients and doctors, better interfaces and increased reliability. This transformation will likely support the shift to home care and more self-management.”
“AI had become a myth, but it looks like 2021 will be the year when it can make it big and use automation in healthcare. Over the following year, we will likely see more solutions supporting images, reports quality, and increased use of natural language processing. The combination of these technologies will help improve the efficiency of healthcare systems, should they recover from the pandemic.
The interoperability agenda has made mixed progress
but 2021 looks set to be the year when the need for increased data analytics, greater visibility of EHR systems, and the need to make population-level decisions are likely to drive new solutions in interoperability and integration. Real global needs, such as B. visibility of vaccination status, will likely be a key factor in 2021. However, the trend in telemedicine may not strengthen further in 2021, partly because the pandemic may have created such extraordinary circumstances that some realignment is likely in the coming year, and a sign of this could be a greater mix of online – and offline care.”
Bogi Eliasen, Health Director at the Institute for Future Studies in Copenhagen
“2020 has been a much stranger year than we anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it stands now, 2021 will still significantly impact the ability to vaccinate adequately outside richer countries. Will the restrictions spread COVID-19 further than people expect and pose a significant risk of new mutations that will require new vaccines again?
“While the COVID-19 pandemic is tragic for humanity, it has brought some much-needed advances. First, it has driven both openness and the use of digital health forecasts capabilities. For example, remote healthcare suddenly increased, even though the crucial pieces of technology had been around for the past decade. As the pandemic subsides, the focus will shift to how digital capabilities can be used more efficiently to create more personal and accurate healthcare services.
There is increasing pressure to develop a reliable
bio passport for vaccines that must be coordinated globally to have the desired effect. We could also see a push for a combined application for biopass and traceability application. There is immense demand for such a solution, and commercial players are likely to release some of these features as the travel and hospitality industry dire need of a solution that will allow them to do business again.
“The revolutionary advances in sequencing technologies, particularly in genomics, have enabled a deep understanding of the biology of COVID-19 and accelerated vaccine development over the past two decades. Advances in sequencing have also attracted a much larger group of stakeholders, with an expected drop in costs due to the sheer volume of sequencing initiatives. This improvement will open up new areas for sequencing both inside and outside of healthcare.”
Lene Søvold, Norway-based clinical psychologist and mental health consultant
“I believe that in many ways, the digital health forecasts trends of 2021 will be a continuation of the trends of 2020. New technologies, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, will gradually mature to address the specific needs of patients and healthcare professionals with awareness and requirements related to bridging the digital divide and strengthening data security, as well as the need to provide robust evidence and validation of newly developed health technology solutions.
“I think we will understand an increase in therapeutic interventions based on digital evidence to prevent, manage and treat medical and mental illness. There will also be more specific and specialized programs and services for different user groups such as youth, women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and overworked and stressed healthcare providers.
“Patients will have ever higher expectations for digital health solutions’ quality, safety and effectiveness. The solutions will become more person-centric, personalized and tailored to specific challenges, needs and environments.” of the patients.
“digital health forecasts solutions will increasingly strive to provide a more proactive and consistent user experience and journey across the healthcare continuum, rather than just providing reactive care, which has been the primary focus in traditional healthcare.” Patients will also increasingly play an active role in their health journey and experience.”
Also read: future challenges for digital health
Dr Charles Alessi, Clinical Director of HIMSS
“We are starting 2021 with hope and justified optimism. Despite the devastation caused by the pandemic, we hope to regain some mobility and communication with colleagues. As social beings, most of us have missed face-to-face interaction and contact, and all of this is very welcome. We have a lot to look onward to in 2021; this is a sample of what we expect to see.
“Certainly, some of the technologies we are already using will ‘grow up’: their additive real-world impact could be transformative. What is certain is that there will be changes, and the pace of change will continue to accelerate. Maybe 2021 will be the Day of the Voice or the Year of the Internet of Things (IoT), made possible by 5G becoming a major development area.
“Finally, we must keep in mind that, as mentioned above, complex adaptive systems often have unintended consequences. It would be surprising if 2021 were not remembered for some still unexpected new developments. We must remain hopeful that 2021 will be an “A year that will be better than the year before. Let’s make it a memorable year of change and renewal, one in which we continue striving for the HIMSS vision of realizing the full health potential of everyone, everywhere.”