Like any other industry, the healthcare industry is in a constant evolution process, innovating and adapting to changes in society as time goes by. Another reason why there’s always a certain level of evolution in healthcare is the occurrence of historic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that has caused tremendous advancements in urgent care, viral infection management, and vaccine development. In this context, we think it would be informative to look at the latest healthcare trends and innovations in Canada and around the world.
Healthcare Industry Trends You Need to Know
Healthcare trends are influenced by the economy, culture, society, and demographics. For instance, apart from the pandemic, the other important factor that is contributing to the current healthcare trends here in Canada is the increasingly diverse aging population in the country.
These are some of the current healthcare trends:
More investment in long-term care – According to projections, by the year 2035 (when baby boomers are between 71 to 89 years old) there will be nearly 238,000 people in Ontario in need of long-term care, which is a considerable increase compared to the 98,000 seniors that receive long-term care today. Additionally, it looks like seniors in these facilities will be older, more medically complex, and more likely to suffer from cognitive illnesses than ever before. These factors are the reason why the current trend in the long-term care sector is to increase their scope and capacity to adapt to the growing need for their services.
Higher demand for senior care at home and in community-based settings – According to the existing data on baby boomers, this generation is more likely to prefer independent living and aging in place than previous generations. As a result, senior care that allows them to maintain greater autonomy, such as home care and community-based care, is projected to be in higher demand in the near future.
Development in remote primary care – According to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), “primary care has taken a great leap forward, connecting with and treating patients over the phone and online, letting Canada catch up to where much of the rest of the world is already operating.” This is the biggest trend in the entire healthcare sector due to social distancing, lockdowns, and the multiple waves of COVID-19.
More health services are going online – In addition to primary care, digital health and telemedicine have expanded to other health care services such as chronic care and specialized care. The benefit of these remote services is that they take less time, instead of having to take half a day off to take a trip to the doctor’s office.
More opportunities for nurses and nurse practitioners – The CNA has said that “COVID-19 has caused upheaval to every corner of health care and, given rising to opportunities we should take advantage of like nurses working more fully to their scope of practice: the range of medications nurses can prescribe has been safely expanded, nurse practitioners are managing long-term care as they are educated to do, regulated nurses are running testing centres.” This is great news for anyone who wants to pursue a career in nursing.
Local biomanufacturing – Thanks to the pandemic, Canada’s health sector has realized that it can no longer rely on overseas manufacturing, and it needs to invest in local biomanufacturing. This is something that became apparent when the country started struggling to get vaccines and ventilators in global markets where it had to compete with other nations.
Apart from these trends, the Canadian Journal of Health Technologies has created a list of 2021 health technology trends to watch, which includes 3D printing and bioprinting, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, COVID-19 testing and identification, interventional cardiology, neurostimulation, pain management, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, and virtual care.
Top Innovations in Healthcare in 2021
COVID-19 crisis has challenged the Canadian healthcare system, but it has also inspired this industry to innovate even more in order to deliver better healthcare services to people. These are some of the top innovations in the healthcare industry in 2021:
Virtual Care – Healthcare providers have managed to adapt pretty well to virtual care since in-person doctor visits have been so limited for patients during the pandemic. To contribute to the development of virtual care, some providers in the healthcare industry are currently working with tech companies like Microsoft to adapt and create software for doctors to conduct virtual visits with patients. These platforms are being designed to also help physicians schedule visits, manage patients and collaborate with other doctors in certain projects.
Cybersecurity in healthcare – Privacy and security are essential for healthcare, and while the industry is going virtual, companies are also creating solutions to guarantee the privacy of patients by protecting their information online. This is a necessary resource for healthcare providers if they are interested in increasing the number of people that opt for virtual care services and improving the engagement of patients when receiving care from doctors in virtual platforms.
Healthcare research – Technology and innovation are the best allies for research and science. For instance, in recent months, researchers at the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with Microsoft, developed a tool based on AI (artificial intelligence) to monitor the effectiveness of social distancing policies and guidelines at the St. Paul’s Hospital campus in Vancouver. This project is a good example of how advanced technology can help scientists conduct research in healthcare environments.
Cancer treatment – According to the Canadian Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 30% of all deaths. Because of this, innovation in cancer treatments is crucial. A good example of what is currently being done is the development of a machine that will facilitate cancer research and treatment. This particular venture is being led by scientists at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.
Overall, we’re happy to report that the healthcare industry in Canada is working hard to tackle its biggest challenges in order to transform the entire healthcare system in the country. The current healthcare trends and innovations are proof that the sector is invested in offering medical care to Canadians in more effective and innovative ways for today and for the post-pandemic world.
What do you think of these healthcare trends and innovations? Did we miss anything on this topic? Leave us a comment below.
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