5 Major Events in the Healthcare Sector in 2020
2020 was an extremely eventful year, especially for the healthcare sector. With a global pandemic impacting every nation, and healthcare workers pushed to their limit, it’s safe to say everyone is ready for a fresh start.
But before we start looking ahead to 2021, it’s important to reflect on the past year to analyze the events and better prepare ourselves for the future.
Here’s a look back at the five major events that impacted the healthcare sector in 2020.
It’s impossible to discuss 2020 without mentioning COVID-19. This last year will forever be synonymous with a particularly contagious version of the coronavirus that quickly spread around the world.
At the time of this writing, over 80 million people have been infected, resulting in over 1.8 million deaths. Many of the world’s healthcare systems were over-extended due to large influxes of patients. In some parts of the world, doctors were forced to choose who lived and who died due to shortages of beds, equipment, and staff.
Even though most of us were caught off guard, many experts saw a pandemic coming. After the large-scale impact the coronavirus has had worldwide, we’ll hopefully be better prepared for the next pandemic if and when it happens.
The Race for a Vaccine
While much of the healthcare sector spent their time caring for COVID-19 patients, the rest poured their resources into developing a vaccine. The toll the virus took on hospitals and the economy meant there was an enormous amount of pressure to find a cure.
Under normal circumstances, a vaccine can take 10 – 15 years to develop. Luckily, scientists weren’t starting from square one.
COVID-19 is a variant of the coronavirus, the same family of viruses that SARS and MERS came from. This meant that there had already been a fair amount of research done on how to create a vaccine for these types of viruses.
Pfizer was the first to receive approval for their vaccine, getting approved by the FDA on December 11th. Moderna received approval for their vaccine on December 18th. By the end of the year, a total of six vaccines had received approval from regulatory bodies, giving hope that the pandemic could end in 2021.
The Assault on Public Health and Science
Throughout history, there have always been those who have been unable to trust governments and other public officials. The coronavirus pandemic gave this section of the population even more fuel for their unfounded conspiracies, and this time their distrust was targeted against the healthcare sector.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been countless false claims around the pandemic and the spreading of unproven treatments for COVID-19. Some of this misinformation even led to unnecessary deaths as people chose to believe rumours on the internet over the advice of doctors and scientists.
While the majority of the population still trust scientists, the internet has given extremists an effective way to spread their beliefs. This has forced the healthcare sector to fight a two-front war: one against the virus and the other against those who don’t trust their methods.
Perhaps no medical product was in higher demand in 2020 than face masks. Many countries and healthcare systems were caught unprepared by the pandemic, leading to several mask shortages in March and April.
But it wasn’t just healthcare workers who were looking for masks. Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began, face masks and other personal protective equipment reached the bestseller list on Amazon.
While they’ve long been used in Asia to prevent the spread of disease, masks have traditionally not been apart of western culture. However, it wasn’t long before governments began recommending their use, with some local authorities even mandating them.
Despite some small groups who opposed the use of masks, by the end of 2020 most had accepted them as a part of everyday life. It will be interesting to see if the use of face masks remains common in the west as we transition to a post-pandemic world in 2021.
The Rise of Telemedicine and E-Health
The pandemic was certainly the biggest story of the year, it wasn’t the only one. Telemedicine saw a big boost in 2020, and the industry is expected to grow even more in the next few years.
With many people wary about visiting health clinics, e-visits increased in the US by 154% this last year. The rise in virtual appointments, along with the development of mobile apps and advancements in Electronic Health Records, has experts anticipating the e-health market will grow to 185,669.6 million by 2026.
Here at Novalins, we’ve seen the growth in this industry ourselves, with many of our clients experiencing a surge in their business over the last year. If you’d like to learn more about how our team is helping e-health companies, check out our services page.
2020 was a turbulent year, but also one of advancement for the healthcare sector. Here’s hoping 2021 is filled with a little more positivity and further growth for health-related businesses around the world.