Known as the year of uncertainties, 2020 was a rollercoaster for the healthcare industry as it was forced to adapt a number of new approaches which may well turn out to be blessings in disguise. The sector is evolving at a greater pace and trying to future-proof itself to the extent possible. The focus has drastically shifted toward advance research in medicines and vaccines to fight the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, the synergistic fusion of herbal and conventional medicines is a trending practice.
In addition to this, the approaches are patient-centric now-a-days as personalisation of healthcare is on the rise. So, looking at the fruitful transition in actions, better healthcare can be expected in coming years even in the developing countries like India.
Discussed ahead are four changing paradigms of healthcare-
PARADIGM 1 - Easier and advanced access to healthcare through IT
Unequal access to the healthcare facilities is one of the major concerns when it comes to availability of these facilities to different groups in the society. People living in rural areas, where the healthcare services are inadequate and biased, are described as the unhealthy part of the population.
However, due to pandemic, telehealth practices in the healthcare are on the rise, barriers are decreasing and access to public health facilities is increasing. Rising digitalisation in healthcare is resulting in increased efficiency, patient engagement and personalisation of health solutions. Several interventions like teleappointments, real-time interactions, telediagnosis, tele-patient monitoring, and much more, are possible due to virtual assistance.
Moreover, owing to this IT- based approaches, health professional who are based abroad, can efficiently guide surgical procedures and other interventions virtually. Due to increasing acceptance of telehealth, rural population can enjoy better and advanced healthcare in the coming years.
PARADIGM 2 - Proactive patient care
Due to late diagnosis of health condition, there was always a risk of highly advanced disease stage leading to unmanageable consequences. However, as the healthcare structure is evolving, proactive patient care gaining traction.
Early diagnosis is essential for managing deadly diseases like cancer and other chronic health conditions. Utilising early detection and preventive measures can lead to improved survival rate in the future.
In recent scenario, the preventive healthcare approaches surging with the interventions of nutraceuticals, traditional medicines and herbal supplements. Along with classic nutraceuticals, one of the most in-demand nutraceutical formulations are ‘natural immunity boosters’ which have gained a good traction in pandemic.
Moreover, In India, Ministry of AYUSH has led down a platform for immunity boosting traditional medicines during COVID. Contesting about tested or untested formulation are going on and there are certain natural products like Bacopa monnieri, for which enough clinical trials are available. However, claiming for corona on immunity, it definitely needs trials.
PARADIGM 3 - Integrative approaches
The concept of holistic wellness is establishing in the population like never seen before. Government actions are also inclined toward increased acceptance of Ayurveda and other integrative medicines. In pharmaceuticals, Drs’ prescriptions have increased for plantbased nutrition products along with vitamins and minerals as supplementary prescription which is evident from IMS. org or IVAC reports. In comparison to overall growth of pharmaceutical industry, the nutritional products, vitamins and minerals as nutrients, are going faster than the total market.
The pandemic has shifted people’s focus from cure to prevention. Along with this, role of spices, ayurvedic kadhas (drinks) and other traditional medicines have emerged as alternatives in the minds of the general public. In addition, lockdowns and work from home policies have further fostered the use of such remedies — although their efficacy remains unproven as yet. Similarly, there has been a growing awareness about therapies like acupuncture, massage therapies, meditation, etc., which, the author believes, healthcare can adopt as they are holistic in nature.
Patient’s rehabilitation is also one of the matters of concern as many a times, post-surgery care is important in order to restore a healthy lifestyle. Looking at the better approaches toward today’s healthcare, rehabilitation centres can become prevalent in coming years.
Paradigm 4- Technological headway
The days when surgeries were not so precise and unassured are fading away. Increasing technological advancements in healthcare at various levels are effectively future-proofing the entire sector and billions of lives.
Artificial intelligence (AI), one of the highly trending topics today, is making great moves in healthcare industry. Several advanced interventions which are not only timesaving but also very promising are empowering the current
healthcare sector. AI is highly useful in the space of genomics and gene editing which can give rise to the drugs and treatments for various life-threatening diseases.
While reshaping and reimagining healthcare, affordable healthcare cost should also be taken into consideration as this aspect of healthcare services is also very important. As more healthcare organisations implement tech-driven initiatives, cost factors are needed to be balanced in order to make the healthcare services approachable for the patients belonging to various levels of the society.