It has been another challenging year for the world’s healthcare workers. COVID-19 has compounded the emotional, physical, and mental strain on nurses who were already reporting burnout. The cracks are beginning to show: Healthcare workers are now retiring at a faster rate than anticipated, while demand for them is set to increase in coming years.
However, new technology is coming to the rescue for clinicians everywhere. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Telehealth, and precision medicine technologies are three main players to watch in the healthcare world in 2022 and beyond.
Prediction #1: AI Will Help Reduce Clinician Burnout
Artificial intelligence is going to be a game-changer in 2022. AI works by gathering and analyzing data and churning out actionable insights to lighten the workload of doctors and nurses. For example, AI-enhanced software can help reduce the steps involved in imaging a patient by quickly identifying abnormalities in a scan. It can even ease the administrative burden on charge nurses by managing the flow of patients to an emergency room. This frees up clinicians to focus on their core mission: treating and caring for their patients.
Prediction #2: Telehealth Will Continue to Help More Patients Get Treated
Regardless of what happens with the pandemic this year, the shift to virtual care and care-at-home will continue to accelerate. Beyond telehealth visits, 2022 will see increased adoption of hospital-at-home and remote patient management because healthcare providers have seen how feasible it is, not to mention the cost savings. Most importantly, patients prefer to be at home instead of a hospital and all stakeholders are realizing that optimal outcomes can be achieved outside of a medical facility. In addition, telehealth allows healthcare workers to treat patients who may be in rural areas where the nearest hospital is over 50 miles away, as well as immunocompromised people who do not feel safe in clinic or hospital waiting rooms due to risk of infection.
Prediction #3: Precision Medicine Will Revolutionize Healthcare Delivery
For decades, treatment for several diseases and genetic disorders was a one-size-fits-all process. In the case of cancer, patients underwent surgery to remove a tumor, and then endured several rounds of chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells. But nowadays, it is almost unthinkable to treat cancer patients without accounting for their individual genes and specific disease. That is why nearly all cancer drugs that are currently in development have tests that allow clinicians to quickly diagnose if a tumor has a specific genetic change or biomarker that is targeted by the drug. Thanks to technological advances, especially within genomics, clinicians will increasingly harness precision medicine in 2022 to treat diseases and disorders based on an individual’s genetic fingerprint, environment, and lifestyle. The solutions currently in development are expected to radically change care delivery models and improve outcomes for generations to come.