At the beginning of each year there are many blogs which look back on the trends of the previous year. There are also those which try and look forward to predict the trends of the coming year. But, what are these predictions based on? How do we know where the focus of healthcare will be headed in the future?

For professionals within healthcare, there are many industry sources that can bring insight into the future direction of healthcare trends, but what about in the public eye? What do we see publically which gives an indication of future direction of healthcare trends?

One source which tends to grab headline news and public attention is ‘firsts’ in healthcare which may give us a look into the future.

So far this year, a few healthcare stories have reached the news headlines which include;

  • the first advert aired containing footage from a live medical procedure,
  • the first baby born to an infertile couple using ‘three person IVF’ and,
  • news that has just come to the headlines that a woman died last year from a ‘superbug’ infection that could not be treated by available antibiotics in the US.

Each of these 3 stories could be influential to future trends in different ways.

While the advert that was aired by Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK of a live colonoscopy procedure was to encourage discussion and raise awareness with the public, the other news headlines may have more of an impact on future R&D within the healthcare industry and possible affects on health laws.

The first baby born to an infertile couple using a ‘three person IVF’ procedure was focused on in the news, as originally this procedure was meant to reduce the inheritance of mitochondrial disease. However, now that this procedure has been used to help an infertile couple for the first time, there could be further impact that follows on. For example, could pressure from the news and public now increase the availablitily of three person IVF for infertile couples rather than mitochondrial diseases? Would the regulations and laws regarding IVF be changed in the future?

Then the news that the CDC have confirmed an infection that led to a woman’s death, was resistant to all available US antimicrobial drugs, could have the biggest impact of all. From a public eye point of view this is a very scary piece of news, and when you look into the finer details of the case there are many points to consider for the future. In the CDC report of the case they point out that the infection had a possible susceptibility to fosfomycin. However, this is not approved for treatement of this type of infection in the US. Could the use of each type of antibiotic be considered as a last resort in extreme cases such as this? Also, the fact that this patient spent time hospitalised in India before returning to the US with the ‘superbug’ could have consequences for further travel restrictions or hopefully encourage multinational collaboration to tackle the prevention of infection transmission.

In an age of technology, the ‘firsts’ for medical advances are ever increasing and may shortly begin to seem like ‘normal’ occurences. It may become that ‘firsts’ in healthcare do not grab the headlines unless they are a radical development.

Other healthcare issues which have consistently been in the news of previous months, include the state of the NHS in UK and healthcare availability in the US. With these issues directly impacting a majority of the population, does interest waiver when advancements in specialised or rare disease treatment are documented, as the costs associated with these will be high? One ongoing impact on the budgets of the NHS is the increasing elderly population and their need for drug provision. These are just some of the healthcare issues facing the population which may affect their views on future direction in healthcare.

As for our team at IE, we continue to look to the future to implement the freshest approaches to launching new drugs and continue to share our expertise through our blogs.

Over the next few weeks we will be asking you what you would like to hear more of from us at IE, stay tuned to get involved!