Both technology and consumer behavior have influenced many trends, and healthcare isn’t any different. The majority of people have always taken some level of interest in their own health, and trends that are happening right now are making it much easier for many to take control of their health. Here are six current trends in the healthcare industry that have been influenced by either technology or consumer behavior.
Wearable devices were usually only seen in the construction and related industries as a way to keep track of workers’ vitals and keep them safe. However, wearables have become more mainstream, as seen with devices like Apple’s smartwatches. There are different types of fitness watches that keep track of vitals, and Apple has one with a built-in EKG that monitors the heart. Still, it’s important to note that several cardiologists have claimed that these fitness watches exaggerate their claims— the bottom line is that these devices should not be used in place of a qualified physician.
Known by either name or virtual healthcare, telehealth has become increasingly popular since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It existed before the pandemic, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon now that the pandemic is over because more than half of all healthcare consumers prefer virtual healthcare over in-person care. Of course, healthcare can’t be 100% remote, but these new advances in technology are making even recovering from surgery at home possible— though the surgery itself can’t be remote. This, in turn, has decreased emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
In recent years, healthcare has become more personalized, but technology has also allowed for it to become even more personalized through at-home genetic testing with DNA tests like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. These tests offer in-depth health information (in addition to ancestry), such as the likelihood of developing:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Lactose intolerance
- Macular degeneration
- Type 2 diabetes
- Weight gain
This allows consumers to take their healthcare into their own hands when it comes to prevention, rather than visiting a doctor for treatment. However, not everything can be prevented. Fortunately, technology has also allowed for precision medicine, which provides better treatment plans and options for patients.
Mental health is becoming more of a priority among individuals of all ages and is being treated the same way as physical health. In the past, physical health was seen as seeking treatment rather than prevention, but nowadays, most people are taking a more proactive and preventive approach. The same can now be said about mental health— instead of waiting for a problem to arise, more and more people are seeking therapy now.
Technology has also been used as a therapeutic tool in mental health— but experts believe that there’s a thin line since the use of technology can also contribute to mental health disorders. However, spending time in nature, exercising, and engaging in creative activities are also great ways to boost mental health.
Studies in consumer behavior have shown that the majority of consumers make an effort to choose healthier options, whether at the grocery store or in restaurants. In fact, more and more people are demanding vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian options when it comes to food. Fermented drinks such as kombucha and other probiotic-rich foods are also in higher demand as more and more people are also focusing on gut health. Social media has also played a huge role in promoting healthier food options, as well as healthy recipes that inspire people to cook more and eat out less.
Last, but certainly not least, AI has made a huge impact on healthcare and has been met with mixed reviews. As with anything related to AI, many people were (and still are) worried that AI could wipe out jobs, yet healthcare is a bit different because it still requires human empathy. However, there have been both good and bad contributions in healthcare brought about by AI, such as ECG devices that can both detect and predict heart abnormalities and robots that assist physicians in surgery. Unfortunately, the latter has resulted in serious issues for some patients, requiring them to contact a defective medical device attorney or medical malpractice attorney.
Both good and bad come with trends in any industry, and the current trends in healthcare seem to be good for the most part— or at least have good intentions. It’s great that technology is allowing more people to be more proactive about their health, but some tech trends need to be worked out so that they don’t cause any harm to patients.