The year 2021 showed us all kinds of highs and lows in Healthcare Industry. While it started in a rather mellow mode, it certainly passed through unexpectedly. From the suppression of the COVID 19 virus to the second outbreak of COVID to the current state of events, 2021 had a lot to offer and a lot to take.
Unlike the year 2020 which required us to spend most of the year in fear while being trapped in our homes, 2021 showed us a ray of hope. Thanks to the notable developments in the field of medicine, we made it through this year with some discipline, some awareness and inevitably, some loss. Here are the 5 Top Happenings that shaped the Healthcare Industry in the year 2021.
1. Second and third Wave of COVID – Delta and Omicron Variant
When 2021 commenced, the US, UK and many other parts of Europe were battling a Second Wave that resulted in a spike in cases. The second wave affected different parts of Asia, showing its most lethal phase in India and Philippines, where there were a high number of daily deaths owing to the lack of Oxygen cylinders and worsened symptoms. As compared to the first COVID 19 variant, the Delta Variant proved to be more fatal and more easily spreadable.
Towards the end of the year, the Omicron Variant first hit South Africa, which then passed on to various other countries. The worst-hit countries as of the end of 2021 are UK and USA; although recent reports suggest that these cases might not be as fatal as Delta Variant cases. It remains to be seen how we will all battle this wave out.
2. Higher Reliance on Telemedicine
The year 2020 showed most of us how it might not be possible to visit the Doctor’s office as often as needed. In such a case, telemedicine seemed to be the only viable option that ensured Doctors’ consultation at the convenience of the click of a button with the utmost of safety and privacy. This would help people stay within their homes without coming in contact with other patients and thus minimizing the risk of Covid spread.
In the year 2021, the majority of medical professionals equipped themselves with an adequate telemedicine setup or aligned themselves with platforms that had the available technology to connect with patients digitally, thereby bridging the gap between patients and much-needed medical facilities. Since 2021, overcrowding in clinics and a long queue outside the doctors’ office is now a thing of the past.
3. Vaccination Development and Distribution
Vaccination drives were perhaps the best possible thing to have happened in the year 2021. A majority of leading health and pharma labels rolled out their respective vaccines in the year 2021 after continuous periods of test and trial. The point to be noted here is that vaccinations for any other disease have never been achieved as quickly as for Covid. It has taken a minimum of five years for any vaccination to be developed. This in itself is proof of how the healthcare industry is moving forward leaps and bounds.
Countries like Israel and India set a wonderful example for the rest of the world by facilitating a quick vaccination drive that resulted in enhanced immunity and COVID Protection for the population. The Indian Vaccination Drive set a wonderful example for the rest of the world by vaccinating more than 80% of the adult population of the country through consistent and accessible vaccination facilities.
Various governments of the world took the necessary steps needed to spread knowledge and provide assurance to their people regarding vaccines. Also, booster shots have already started to be administered in the UK and a few other countries where the governments have reduced the wait time from 6 months to 3 months in light of the Omicron Variant. Few others have brought it down to 4 and 5 months, whereas some have stuck to the 6 month wait period.
4.Increased awareness of Mental Health Wellness
The year 2021 has been pivotal when it comes to mental health awareness. 2021 saw more and more workplaces opting to set mental health-friendly working hours and balanced work culture for their employees.
More so, after staying home ridden for months, more and more people realized how important it was to maintain a holistic level of wellness, which covers the entirety of mental health. 2021 witnessed a surge in the number of people who actively reached out to seek help by consulting therapists. With 2022 just around the corner, it will be heartening to see this trend rise further.
5. Increased Efficacy of Health Forecasting
After the world got a chance to see the damage that occurred in the absence of up-to-date health facilities and adequate arrangements, a majority of countries worked on shaping up their medical infrastructures and preparing themselves for any unforeseen emergencies.
This was possible due to an increased emphasis on health forecasting and data analysis that improved drastically in the year 2021. Predictive technology will soon become a commonly used word in the healthcare industry. In 2022, we can expect greater innovations in health forecasting.
While 2020 mostly involved conversations and findings regarding the management of COVID Symptoms, 2021 was mostly about the onset and awareness of Post-COVID symptoms that were experienced by an increased number of people who caught COVID in the past.
Post-Covid symptoms included both chronic as well as non-chronic symptoms such as continued distress in lung function, blood pressure and blood sugar imbalances, faulty organ functioning and hair loss or anxiety among many others. A major challenge in 2022 will be to restore those who have been affected by Covid back to their old healthy selves.
In Totality, 2021 for healthcare industry was a bittersweet year for all of us wherein we understood that no matter how tough times might be, they do not last forever!