Human beings are generally hard to change, we are creatures of habit. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity as a whole was met with unrelenting change overnight. As we continue to navigate the pandemic and the implications it has on our world, it is clear we are living through a significant cultural shift. Nearly overnight school, work and now healthcare has gone digital with virtual care/telehealth. Our children attended school virtually at home, family gatherings and workout classes occurred over Zoom, and adults began working remotely. One thing is clear: this change is not temporary. This new digital age marks the future of society in all its facets, including healthcare.
Gen-Z: Agents of Change
At the forefront of this shift is the newest generation beginning to enter the workforce, Generation Z, who has grown up with access to the internet, smartphones, and social media. Through the 21st century, we have watched the rise of social media and the evolution of the technology we use from TV to laptops and now to smartphones. So too have we seen the shifts in our habits and population dynamics as young generations age and evolve. The pandemic caused telehealth visits to quickly become a popular, efficient, and safe way to visit the doctor and it is here to stay. The shift to digital communication and mobile, smartphone first generations illustrated by Gen-Z signals the new expectation: everything, including healthcare is available digitally.
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Digital Medicine: The New Normal
Gen-Z and future generations will expect to receive medicine digitally through telehealth and other telemedicine revolutions. With the rise of subscription model services, could healthcare subscription models be the future? Health insurance is basically a subscription model, paying a monthly fee in exchange for a service, so the idea is certainly conceivable. Patient direct payment and subscription models for physicians administering care through the cloud is in the foreseeable future. Above all one thing is clear: all these services will be greatly enhanced by AI and telemedicine advancements and will add significant and meaningful value to our current healthcare sector.
One thing is clear: The digital healthcare age is upon us. Virtual care is the future and Gen-Z’s choice of care delivery. With exciting new advancements like Remote Patient Monitoring and the pandemic speeding up the destruction of governmental red tape, digital healthcare is the future of healthcare. Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities need to implement telehealth programs not only to keep up with the evolving times and patient expectations, but to ensure they have access to the security, efficiency, and capabilities of digital health and above all to the life-saving technology it offers.