2021-Winter-Newsletter-FINAL - Flipbook - Page 1
How 2020 Shaped Healthcare Trends for 2021
As the year 2021 begins and the world eagerly works to defeat
coronavirus while still suffering under the restrictions of the
pandemic, we look back on a remarkable year in global healthcare.
During 2020 — a year riddled with uncertainty, isolation and loss
— the world turned its attention overwhelmingly to the clinical
laboratory, looking for answers to the questions that so much
hope and heartbreak rested on.
While there is much work to be done yet before this medical
crisis is behind us, it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will be
discussed in history books and medical ethics classes for years to
come. But how will this event change the future of healthcare and
what influence does it have over what will be trending in 2021?
At the beginning of the pandemic, amid shelter-at-home orders
and limited (and sometimes conflicting) information, virtual
medical visits were suddenly thrust into the mainstream of medical
norms. While remote medicine had already debuted and enjoyed
some popularity, it became a downright necessity during the early
days of coronavirus. Whether it was for identifying symptoms of
COVID-19 or for routine medical appointments (other maladies
still exist and demand attention!), video conferencing replaced
face-to-face interactions for many clinics and private medical
practices across the country. And now that many patients have
become accustomed to the logistics and convenience of such
appointments, it’s likely to continue as a preferred method of
meeting, even after the need for social distancing dwindles.
The events of 2020 also turned a spotlight on the increasing
demand for new testing modalities, especially in rural or
remote communities around the globe. Much has been done
in recent years to develop “lab-on-a-chip” devices that provide
comprehensive test results when complex analytical equipment
— or even laboratories themselves — are not available. Utilizing
microfluidic cartridges also allows for rapid testing without the
need for storage of reagents or even quality control material in
areas that have limited space or refrigeration. The last few years
have also seen the development of smartphone-based diagnostic
testing. This technology allows consumers or remote healthcare
providers to perform complex testing using sensors that connect
directly to a cellphone or use a modified cellphone to perform
Watch for these
2021 and beyond.
that found the
spotlight in 2020 because of its seemingly endless possibilities is
CRISPR gene editing. This process uses RNA sequences to deliver
enzymes that will cut a cell’s genome to remove or insert genes.
Utilizing CRISPR, researchers have been able to delete mutations
from human cells, remove viruses from infected cells and slow
the growth of cancerous tumors, among numerous other valuable
functions. The full spectrum of what CRISPR is capable of has yet
to be realized, and it’s likely to be at the center of many exciting
and impactful advances in the years to come.
While we are optimistic that the global COVID-19 pandemic
will soon come to an end, we can all be thankful for the
continued research and development that will keep us healthier
and hopefully, prevent future diseases from spreading out of