Healthcare trends for 2022
Healthcare trends for 2022
While the COVID-19 pandemic put the world on pause for the past two years, the healthcare industry has continued to advance. Technology continues to be one of the main advancements, transforming the industry for both professionals and patients. Now, thanks to wearable devices, virtual reality, and digital therapeutics, patients are better able to manage their health daily, and health workers are better trained and informed to care for their patients.
While it’s no secret that the pandemic has put a tremendous strain on the healthcare industry, a few good things have emerged as a result. For one, businesses are placing a greater emphasis on employee health, which will mean a healthier workforce and population in the long run. Health equity has also come to the forefront as the pandemic cast a harsh light on how access to quality healthcare can impact a person’s chances of survival. And urgent care centers have multiplied, reducing the burden on emergency rooms and allowing patients to receive treatment faster.
Below, learn more about some of the healthcare trends you can expect to see in 2022.
Technology will continue to transform patient healthcare
Patient health will continue to benefit from advancements in technology. Everything from smartwatches to virtual reality to digital therapeutics will help patients better manage their physical and mental health daily. And, as virtual reality continues to gain acceptance as a training platform, healthcare workers will see new opportunities to improve their skills.
Smartwatch sales continue to increase
Smartwatch sales have continued to rise and a new, older population is embracing them due to the improved health features. These watches have made it much easier for patients to monitor everything – from their exercise and sleep to their heart rate. Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved many of these watches. These devices can actually save lives by detecting the early warning signs of cardiac arrest. Plus, some can also identify conditions like sleep apnea, detect seizures and even send out an emergency notification when the wearer is experiencing a medical emergency or has fallen.
It’s believed that 2022 will bring about even more monitoring options. For example, Apple plans to add the ability to monitor your blood pressure and to track fertility with a wrist thermometer. Amazfit is just one of several other brands that have recently launched or are planning to launch new smartwatches. Their additional health features will include 24-hour heart rate and oxygen level monitoring and even individualized health scores based on the impact of physical activity on the users’ heart. And, of course, Meta, formerly Facebook, plans to launch a smartwatch (with a camera!) in 2022. While we don’t have the details of which health features it will include, we’re sure the device will incorporate some.
As a medical professional, your patient’s smartwatch can provide you with valuable data to help you understand and solve various medical concerns. For example, new features may allow you to monitor the impact of a new drug, your patient’s recovery status after an operation, and more.
A healthier workforce
Increased health equity
Social determinants of health (SDOH) – where a person lives and works, as well as their education, financial situation and age – can significantly impact a patient’s health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examples of SDOH include:
- Safe housing, transportation and neighborhoods
- Racism, discrimination and violence
- Education, job opportunities and income
- Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
- Polluted air and water
- Language and literacy skills
When patients have limited access to quality healthcare, they may struggle to manage chronic conditions and receive medical treatments. However, the government, healthcare providers and policymakers are beginning to address this issue. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with various communities to prevent childhood lead poisoning, reduce health disparities related to diabetes and even develop health interventions for specific cultures and communities. In addition, multiple states, such as Massachusetts, have created programs to help individuals who experience SDOH. And locally, cities such as Minneapolis, New York City and Buckhead in Atlanta have provided people with better access to healthy foods and created initiatives to reduce gun violence.
Urgent care centers will continue to grow
In 2020, the average number of patients visiting an urgent care center per day was 58% higher than during the previous three years. While we can thank the COVID-19 pandemic for that dramatic increase, experts predict that even as we get the pandemic under control, urgent care centers will continue to make gains, with the global market reaching $40.7 billion by 2027.
Urgent care centers benefit both patients and the healthcare industry by reducing overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms and providing patients with quick access to medical care for non-life-threatening matters. Plus, they are generally more affordable than a visit to the ER. In 2021, the number of urgent care centers in the U.S. is expected to increase by 6% from 2020. Expect to see additional new centers open in 2022.
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