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2021 is going to be a very different year. We will experience the continuing economic, human and disease impact of COVID, and there will be unforeseen challenges. And at the same time we will be entering a new era as a vaccinated world opens up.

2021 will become a turning point. The beginning of a new decade. So much positive change came out of 2020 (especially around innovation in digital technologies) and these developments have created the platform for more transformational change in healthcare. 2021 will therefore be the year to build on the changes already implemented and undertake further innovation, particularly within the areas of Digital Health and Telemedicine.

 During 2021 there will be an even greater understanding of how digital technology can deliver better health outcomes. Over the last few years there have been major advances in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), wearables, sensors, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and healthcare apps and the launch of a number of products and services associated with these technologies; and throughout 2021 we’ll be seeing many more developments within this rapidly evolving field.

 The use of Social Media, particularly around patient engagement in healthcare will continue to rise throughout 2021. Healthcare organisations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of platforms and technologies and COVID has been the catalyst for the implementation of a range of initiatives for improving collaboration and communication across multiple social channels.

 With better data analytics, patient-centric campaigns will be more tailored, more targeted and more relevant. During 2021 there will be further increases in private social media groups (supported by patient groups) where people will be sharing content which is relevant and relatable.

 2021 will see the introduction of more Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications including drug research and discovery; clinical trial management; medical imaging and diagnostics; through to patient-centric programs based on predictive behaviour modelling.

 COVID hastened the arrival of telemedicine and during 2021 we will see further growth in the area, with virtual doctor visits being here to stay. This adoption of telemedicine will be responsible for the growth in associated products and services; and it will provide challenges within areas of quality; compliance; data integrity; and cybersecurity.

 We will see new models of care being implemented (eg hybrid models with regular telehealth consults between visits); and to support telemedicine there will be growth in healthcare apps, the IoMT; and the use of AI for remote monitoring.

 The growth of telemedicine will open up conversations around diversity and inclusion and equity of access. Our new healthcare ecosystem, one with interconnected devices, monitoring hubs and virtual consults, will need to ensure that everyone is included and issues such as vision, language and mobility needs will require addressing.

 

HPG (Healthcare Professionals Group)

Sydney (02) 8877 8777

Melbourne (03) 9938 7100

 www.hpgconnect.com

 

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