Covid-19 has clearly shown that there is a lot that will soon change in healthcare. Some of the new norms we are currently seeing might be here to stay for longer, even after the pandemic shall have gone. With the current technology and change in the population structure in most states, a lot is yet to change in healthcare. Some of the undeniable trends worth discussing include:
1. New therapies
A lot of research is going on to offer a solution for chronic illnesses like cancer. The radiation therapy that has always been the case has presented many side effects. As an individual recovers from chronic diseases, they end up having permanent after-treatment problems. For instance, radiation therapy and chemotherapy tend to kill cancerous cells alongside healthy cells. This is why people lose their hair when exposed to several chemotherapy sessions.
New therapies are likely to come to play. For instance, immunotherapy is expected to be used to deal with most chronic illnesses. This therapy is supposed to work better since it enhances the body’s capacity to produce antibodies that can fight a given disease. This is likely to reduce the intensity of the side effects.
However, before the new therapy becomes the new future, some critical questions need to be addressed. For instance, it is yet unclear how some tumor cells have proved to resist treatment. Additionally, the tumor cells tend to exhibit different characteristics from one individual to another. If these issues can be well addressed through research, it will be easy for this new therapy to be used in healthcare.
Another new therapy that we can expect is gene therapy. This works by targeting the non-functioning gene in the DNA of the patient and replace it with a working gene which is needed to produce the right protein that can work against a given disease.
Like immunotherapy, gene therapy is not expected to come up with many side effects. Once the DNA of a sick person has been ‘corrected,’ the person can now operate normally without ongoing any treatment. If this becomes a reality, the number of patients undergoing treatment in the healthcare facilities will go down.
The question that cannot be answered now is how long the body will respond to the gene corrections. It is, however, predicted that different people might different time to have it active. Additionally, it might is not clear how the gene edits will end up with the long term side effects. Without addressing the intensity of the long term side effects, it might be challenging to be sure that this strategy will have its play in healthcare. This is why much research is still underway in this area.
2. Home-based caregiving
The increased number of the aging population, especially in America, promises a future of home-based caregiving. This is evidenced by the training going on in the healthcare training institutes. Nursing is becoming one of the most-demanded courses. Certification has also been made easier than it was before. Through the accreditation, anybody can hire a nurse to offer their services legally at home.
3. The digital healthcare
This is something that will finally become the norm of healthcare. However long it might take, it is sure that it will come to pass. One of the most probable future is artificial intelligence in healthcare. Through artificial intelligence, most medical data analysis and the molecular combination can be done within a shorter time than when done manually. It poses a bright future for healthcare. Some pharmaceutical R&D labs have already started using this strategy in addressing the relationship between a disease symptom and the biological mechanisms.
Artificial intelligence is also promising to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases without patients making long queues in the healthcare facilities. This will reduce the cost of operation in the healthcare facilities.
However, it should be noted that an expert human judgment would still be used alongside the AI. The difference will be the reduced number of human experts since it is just meant for confirmation. This area also still needs some studies to give an extent to which AI should be allowed to play in the new healthcare. It has to come alongside ethical considerations.
4. Personalized healthcare
Every human has unique needs that should never be ignored. This is why some medication shows extreme side effects on some individuals than on others. The genetic makeup and the lifestyle of an individual could be a great player for such differences. This is why every patient should be dealt with uniquely.
Personalized healthcare, therefore, attends to the unique needs of the patients. This is something that has been implemented, but not entirely since it seems expensive. For instance, it has been proven that having a genetic test on cancer patients can reduce the extent of chemotherapy by 34%. This is because it focuses directly on the unique makeup of the patient.
5. Ultra-fast scans
Here is a piece of excellent news for the patient who needs hearth scans. Traditionally, heart scans were not possible since the heart seems to beat faster than it can be scanned. Most of the CT scanners were not able to take still images of the heart in a single heartbeat.
The good news is that a new CT scanner is on the market. It can take more than one still image of a heart in a single heartbeat. With the fast scan, it will be easy for most heart problems to be diagnosed. This gives hope even to those who have a heart attack.
There is a bright future for healthcare. This should be an eye-opener to most nurses to further their knowledge and skills so that they are in a better position to fit into the future of healthcare.