3 healthcare trends cited in GAO's latest future trends report

Innovation, biological catastrophe and health technology are touted as some of the top trends that government and society should be prepared to respond to according to the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO is looking to the future in its latest report titled "Trends affecting government and society" that highlight the biggest trends that are of national concern that the watchdog agency can stand to prepare to respond to. Overall 12 trends are identified in the report, three of which are related to healthcare. 

1. Preparing for catastrophic biological incidents

While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed cracks in the nation's public health strategy, the GAO warns that the U.S. is still underprepared for other biological incidents. These incidents are more likely to occur due to climate change, globalization, increased potential of offensive biotechnology and delayed medical care. It recommends ensuring there are accountability mechanisms if an incident occured and establish wide-scale targets which can be measured. 

2. Science, technology and the innovation economy

The GAO states there is a critical need to accelerate research and technology in the science and technology space as the U.S. faces expanding competition. The report encourages policymakers to create regulations to ensure small, innovative companies can thrive in the U.S. market and to reverse the decline in investment in the field.

3. Evolving health technologies

New health technologies have proliferated throughout the pandemic, with more health systems implementing cutting edge technologies to improve care. Regulatory issues, safety concerns and lack of funding though cause uncertainty in the field. GAO recommends policy makers remain agile when reviewing new tech and consider ethical, social and economic concerns when implementing it.

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