A series of global infectious epidemics toward the end of the 19th century facilitated the establishment of a worldwide public health system and raised public awareness of wellness. The COVID-19 has unquestionably further changed the face of the wellness industry, making wellness one of the bright spots of the economy. There are some wellness trends we could expect to see gaining stream in 2021.
Booming online wellness and fitness services
As physical activities are still under different restriction due to lockdown policies, the wellness market has adjusted promptly to meet the demand. Virtual wellness solutions, from online yoga class, zoom fitness course to meditation apps, are springing up more than ever. Desires to boost the immune system to contend with the virus is one of the elements driving the demand for such services. Stranded at home due to social distancing, craving for human connection is another factor contributing to the growth. It is expected the online wellness services will continue in the post-COVID era due to benefits of at-home servicing.
New generation of wearables
The pandemic reignited public interest in wearables as they help users better understand and take control of their overall health and well-being. Healthcare gadgets now involves an AI strategy utilising sensors and algorithms to collect and analyse medical data, supported by the collaboration with medical companies. For instance, the newly released Apple Watch is able to track respiratory health and detect irregular heartbeat patterns in real time. Supported by new technologies, some smart gadgets also gauge body temperature, allowing detection of potential fevers or illness which mitigate the silent spread of COVID.
Consumers are now demanding a preventive approach in healthcare in the light of the pandemic. While traditional western medicine has a solutions-oriented approach to well-being, COVID has accelerated the shift from treating health problems to staying healthy to prevent problems in the first place. The public will focus more on exercise, sleep, healthy food and stress reduction in order to boost immunity rather than relying on powders and potions.
Expansion of telemedicine
Telemedicine is nothing new but has been limited by laws and regulations due to patient privacy issues and eligibility concerns. Considering the extreme high transmission rate of COVID, governments have eased restrictions of telemedicine, allowing patients access to informed medical opinions remotely. While telemedicine has been critical to providing healthcare during the pandemic, healthcare providers expect an expansion of telemedicine in specialist care in the future. Implemented with the right technology and regulations, telemedicine could serve a much larger portion of the population. Patients with heart disease can be remotely monitored while people with mental disorder can quickly connect with psychiatrists. Elite Asia’s FUZON Over the Phone Interpreting (OPI) platform allows healthcare providers to utilise interpretation tools and services with over 350 languages. The platform quickly connects the health professional to a qualified interpreter within 10 seconds at a fraction of the cost, providing reliable telemedicine services.
As the coronavirus outbreak has shaken the world, it might be the first time the public focuses on global health more than economic development. The world may see a return to the foundational pillars of wellness as well as advanced wellness products to come.
Due to globalisation, people are traveling around the world to seek medical treatment primarily due to affordable, quality health care. Medical tourism has emerged as a new type of tourism and healthcare service mobility. According to market research, it generates one-third or more of revenue for hospitals in most APAC countries.