Healthcare and medicine have been changing by leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Yet with the rise of COVID-19, the healthcare industry is once again facing groundbreaking levels of change.

Suddenly, the world sees what the healthcare industry can manage when much of the care must be available online and focus first on patient care. There are many predictions for what will happen in 2021, especially in healthcare. Thanks to new technology, there is more potential now than ever before. Already several vaccines for COVID-19 have been created and are in the process of global distribution. That is merely one element that was predicted for this year.

Furthermore, the rise of telemedicine has officially changed the game. It was developed to help the industry survive a global pandemic, but it is here to stay. The ease of access for many patients has turned the industry around, putting patient care first. This demand will ensure that telemedicine will continue to grow rather than dissipate with time.

The pandemic also forced a new way of applying technology in the healthcare industry. Artificial Intelligence has been used to help track and detect COVID-19. The tracking software developed will likely be put to further use in monitoring other illnesses, including tracking the trend of chronic diseases.

In a world where healthcare is available virtually, there are growing concerns about safety and privacy. Organizations such as the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services have been willing to look the other way and allow for virtual appointments to exists. But more permanent measures will need to be put in place before much longer. 

While the framework for telehealth has been laid out, and the demand has been made clear, there are several long-term hurdles for the industry to tackle. Regulations, laws, and insurance coverage are all of equal concern, as is data security. 

In 2021 and beyond, the healthcare industry will have to put more than ever into cybersecurity. This will be one of the biggest challenges and limitations, especially as phishing attacks increase, such as fake calls or texts offering COVID-19 vaccinations. 

In all likelihood, HHS regulations will help predict and control cybersecurity. However, until those regulations are in place, it is essential to be mindful of scams and careful with any and all data.