5 healthcare trends to watch in 2017

  • career advice
  • January 23, 2017
With a new administration at the helm in Washington D.C. and a world of technological breakthroughs and innovation, it is no surprise that we will soon begin to see a plethora of changes in the healthcare industry in 2017.

The Affordable Care Act

One of the biggest changes to take place is the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act — with no replacement currently in the works to take its place.
 
In a perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine, President Barack Obama said that a plan to terminate his signature healthcare legislation with no plan to replace and improve it is — for a lack of a better word — reckless.
 
While the new administration has vowed to quickly repeal the ACA, there has been talk about keeping certain pieces of the legislation which guarantee coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ health care plans until age 26 years. The uncertainty continues.

Patient involvement in new drug developments   

One thing we do know for sure is that with the passing of the Cures Act, pharmaceutical companies will no longer have to endure the lengthy and draining FDA approval process for new drugs and therapies. The days of slow development of new cures and treatments are no longer.
 
Patients are expected to have more say in the development of new treatments for their diseases since they are the ones who know firsthand what it is like to battle their illness. In short, we will see the enhancement of ongoing efforts aimed at including the patient in the decision-making process for new drug developments in 2017.

Virtual reality, mobile apps and wearables — oh my!

The healthcare industry is ever evolving with new and improved devices and technologies, which is expected to continue during 2017.
 
For one, virtual reality is popping up in all aspects of care. From medical students at a faraway location watching a surgeon perform surgery as if they were in the operating room themselves, to helping cancer patients cope with harsh and grueling treatments, it is safe to say that we will be hearing and seeing a lot more about virtual reality in the healthcare field.
 
More advancements in mobile healthcare apps are also anticipated in the coming year. According to a recent market research report, the mobile healthcare market is expected to reach a high of $21.5 billion in revenue by 2018 alone. This comes to no surprise with apps like Hart, which not only gathers information on your daily activities and medical information that can all be accessed via your smartphone screen, but also allows you to make doctor’s appointments, send your doctor a message and even view your latest test or lab results — all in the palm of your hand.
 
Other wearable technological advancements that have undergone trial and error for years are finally advancing to the point of use, such as stretchable electronics that are placed on the skin and transmit health information to smartphones and computers.

Zika vaccine in 2017  

The Zika health scare may soon come to an end as recruitment efforts have been initiated for a phase 1 trial that will test a potential Zika vaccine across three U.S.-based locations in 2017. The initiation of the trial was sparked by the World Health Organization’s declaration of an international public health emergency following the devastating outbreak of the virus in 2016. The three U.S.-based sites are currently asking for healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 49 years, to participate in the study by clicking here.   

Nutrition takes center-stage, yet again

As the healthcare industry shifts from a volume to value-based care model, more and more healthcare organizations now focus on nutrition as prevention. By now, we have all heard of the more popular healthier food options, quinoa and acai (and are no longer pronouncing them wrong, ahem), soon to be joined by baobab powder and maple water — yes, maple water is ‘a thing’ and some say it isn’t so new.  
 
While health and nutrition have been going hand-in-hand for some time now, the relationship is still going strong and the health food trend torch is anticipated to be carried through all of 2017. 

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