Trends to watch in 2021 –
Health care: the evolving landscape
COVID-19 continues to challenge and reshape the delivery of health care in Canada. We anticipate that 2021 will be characterized by:
COVID-19 prompted exponential growth in virtual care platforms. Their practical applications—including telemedicine assessments for remote communities and the provision of care for people who might avoid in-person assessments—will gain continued acceptance among patients and practitioners, and permanent implementation where appropriate.
As virtual care cannot completely replace in-person assessments, we will see increased attention to standardized best practices, particularly concerning potential risks.
Medtech has catalyzed a paradigm shift in the life sciences and health care sectors. While securing funding will continue to be a challenge for small- and medium-sized medtech businesses, we will see accelerated interest in technologies for remote engagement and real-time patient monitoring—a boon when hospital beds are at a premium and health care settings come with the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of long-term care residents. The pandemic has spotlighted the need for modernized long-term care homes, which could lead to funding for new beds and spur development of new long-term care homes on both private and public lands. With the recent focus on connecting care in Ontario, long-term care homes may have alliances with acute care providers. Future directions in this sector will likely be shaped by the recommendations from the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco. The Commission’s final report is expected by April 30 2021.