Let’s Get Digital: 3 Digital Healthcare Trends That Will Impact Physicians in 2021

Written By The Rounds

It is undeniable that 2020 was a year that we will never forget – no matter how hard we try. Between stay-at-home orders, stockpiling toilet paper, and far too many people trying their hand at making sourdough bread, to put it simply, 2020 was a year filled with change. 

The pandemic impacted every industry across the globe. From restaurants to salons, everyone was forced to adapt and change their everyday practices to ensure that they were complying with the new COVID-19 protocols.

In particular, the healthcare industry has had to adapt its age-old practices and shift them to digital within the last year. Doctors were forced to change how they practised and how they were used to interacting with the pharma industry. With physicians now relying on a good internet connection compared to face-to-face interactions, it is no surprise that we are seeing many digital healthcare trends popping up within the healthcare space. 

We narrowed down the top three trends that we saw in the healthcare industry in 2020 and believe will continue to impact physicians and HCPs in 2021 and beyond!

1. Telemedicine

In a recent survey, only seven percent of healthcare and pharmaceutical companies said they had gone digital, compared to 15 percent of companies in other industries. During the beginning stages of the pandemic, this number was forced to rise due to the continuing demand for patient appointments followed by the need to abide by the new Covid-19 protocols set in place.

It is predicted that telemedicine will continue to be more prevalent in 2021 and beyond. Although not every appointment can be done online, telemedicine can easily follow Covid-19 protocols by holding appointments online to keep both patients and healthcare providers safe. Patients have enjoyed being able to take their appointment from anywhere and find that appointments by phone or through an app are more likely to fit into their schedule than ones that require them to commute to a physician’s office.

One thing that will remain a top priority when dealing with telemedicine is the patient experience. From pre-appointment communications to check-in procedures, and everything in between, each aspect of the patient journey is important. To ensure that your office is using telemedicine in the most efficient way, auditing every touchpoint across the patient journey is of utmost importance. If your patients feel cared for during the transition to digital platforms, it will make navigating the pandemic that much better for them and yourself.

2. Virtual Medical Conferences

The days of catching a flight or driving hours to attend a medical conference to discuss the latest innovations in the healthcare space have ended. With flights grounded and stay-at-home orders in place, the ability to attend an in-person event such as a medical conference is something of the past.

In 2020, we saw the rise of virtual medical conferences unfold as many began to realize that Covid-19 was not ending anytime soon. At first, the transition to these online environments was difficult to navigate, however, with the positive outcomes that have been seen from these events, many see virtual conferences as something that will continue well into the future.

Recently, many people have preferred attending conferences virtually. According to blogs.bmj.com, many have found the ability to pause and rewind talks, and stop on certain slides that they are interested in to be useful. One aspect that was mentioned was “loving the minimal FOMO” (fear of missing out) that comes with virtual conferences. Participants are able to see the full list of presenters/booths and do not have to pick and choose the ones they can attend in an allotted time as many would have to in-person. However, although a virtual conference seems like a great idea, physicians must understand how to get the most out of them if they are choosing to attend.

How to get the most out of a virtual conference:

  • Make time to attend the conference
    Setting a reminder and clearing your schedule are both important to ensure that you don’t forget about the conference that you plan to attend. Virtual conferences can easily sneak up on you and in order to get the most out of the event that you are attending, you want to make sure that you have time to dedicate to it.
  • Limit your distractions
    Whether you are attending a virtual conference in the office or from home, it is important to reduce distractions. Notifying staff that you are busy and finding a space that is quiet in your home are essential steps to stop interruptions. Another tip is to turn off phone notifications to ensure you are staying as focused as possible.
  • Network
    A common feature in virtual conferences are opportunities for digital networking with others that are attending the conference. Taking advantage of the live chat tools will connect you with other attendees and presenters at the conference and allow you to be more engaged during the event, similar to an in-person conference.

Although virtual conferences are planned to continue into the future and attendees are enjoying them, we must continue to learn from virtual events. By gaining feedback from attendees, conference organizers are able to adapt the way conferences are done and will ensure that they are providing everyone with the best experiences possible.

3. Online Collaboration Networks 

What are physicians supposed to do without their in-person doctor’s lounge during the pandemic? Are opportunities for physicians to collaborate and learn from each other suddenly put to a halt? In order for physicians to access the collaborative network that they are used to, it must be switched to an online platform. 

Modern healthcare is a team sport.

With the healthcare industry going digital, a platform like The Rounds was designed with physicians in mind and built to maximize collaboration by leveraging the collective knowledge of thousands of verified physicians across all specialties.

As a modern physician, The Rounds provides you with a secure collaboration network that improves healthcare outcomes. No matter your specialty, The Rounds provides physicians with a place to learn, share and discuss their needs in a secure environment.

Joining your colleagues and peers on this online network has never been easier. As we see the trend of online collaboration networks continue to grow into 2021, The Rounds welcomes physicians across all specialties to register their free accounts today.

Although 2020 has not been one of the best years to date for many, the digital healthcare trends we see are constantly evolving and impacting us in a positive way. While there are many trends that sprung from the world turning digital overnight, we are living in a time where healthcare has to be more innovative than ever. Embracing these trends throughout 2021 will continue to bring us the valuable connection we need during this uncertain time.