Digital & Innovation

Unveiling the controversial trends shaping the healthcare landscape

Health Industry Hub | July 17, 2023 |

Digital & Innovation: A healthcare influencer and host of the popular YouTube series WTF Health, Jessica DaMassa unveiled three trending topics that are reshaping the US healthcare landscape, raising questions on the local impact of these transformative trends.

At the Medinfo23 conference last week, DaMassa wasted no time in painting a controversial picture of the current state of healthcare.

“We are having an identity crisis, folks,” she declared, punctuating her words with an air of urgency.

Hospitals desperately seeking to reinvent their business models after the bruising impact of the pandemic, pharmaceutical giants venturing into telehealth with QR codes, payers acquiring medical practices, and retail sector giants like Walmart and CVS encroaching on the healthcare industry – these were just a few of the intriguing developments she highlighted.

The revelations continued as DaMassa turned her attention to the plight of startups.

“Digital startups are like a meteor crashing to Earth right now. In 2021, funding was $30 billion. We’re back down to about $15 billion, which is where we were at pre-pandemic levels,” she noted.

But amidst the chaos, DaMassa illuminated three prevailing trends that are set to reshape the future of healthcare.

Firstly, DaMassa highlighted the emergence of an ‘omnichannel care strategy’ as a game-changer in healthcare delivery. She emphasised the paradigm shift this strategy represents, divorcing care from the traditional confines of hospitals and extending it to the home and virtual platforms. DaMassa underscored the significance of the massive investments in telehealth infrastructure, which have made online care a legitimate and convenient option. As telehealth gains traction, healthcare organisations are exploring ways to integrate it seamlessly into their existing systems. DaMassa encouraged vigilance in monitoring the expansion of telehealth, as it holds immense potential to transform care delivery and improve patient outcomes.

The second trending topic DaMassa delved into was the rise of direct-to-patient care models. These innovative models empower patients by putting them in control of their healthcare spending while leveraging technology to reduce costs. She highlighted the success of companies like Grow, which offer a comprehensive range of services such as telehealth, online pharmacy, and in-home care. These direct-to-patient care businesses challenge traditional healthcare models by eliminating layers of middlemen, providing more flexible scheduling options, and offering specialised care for niche populations. DaMassa also discussed how retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Amazon are capitalising on their reach and expertise to expand their healthcare offerings, including virtual care, primary care clinics, and pharmacy services.

“They got empowered by becoming essential for COVID vaccine distribution and they are not letting go of the corner of the healthcare industry that they’ve managed to edge on,” she said.

The final trend DaMassa explored was the evolving health IT infrastructure. As healthcare organisations grapple with the need for efficient data management and interoperability, a new class of health IT infrastructure companies is rising to the occasion. She described these companies as ‘layer-on-top’ startups that enhance electronic medical records (EMRs) with features such as bi-directional text messaging, remote patient monitoring, and AI-enabled care. Additionally, there are data analysis companies that are capitalising on the 21st Century Cures Act to move and analyse data, while others are providing tools for building DIY EMRs. DaMassa urged attention to the role of big tech companies like Apple and Amazon, whose forays into healthcare will introduce transformative IT solutions.

“We need to address data security and privacy as the boundaries of health data become blurred, including the untapped potential of generative AI in healthcare,” she emphasised.

She added “We’re going to see more empowered healthcare consumers, and we haven’t even begun to understand the power of what optimal, data-driven healthcare really means.”

DaMassa’s insights offer a glimpse into the future of healthcare, where technology, patient empowerment, and innovative models of care converge to shape a more accessible and efficient system. As the industry embraces these unconventional trends, it becomes clear that the future of healthcare holds both challenges and tremendous opportunities for improving the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

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