Covid-19 has changed the course of healthcare all over the world, and the industry has been transformed with technology. Since the pandemic outbreak, the use of technology in healthcare has only accelerated and helped make healthcare facilities more accessible while reducing the risk of spreading the virus further.
The use of technology in healthcare was already growing at a rapid pace before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated it big time. The use of digital health technology is playing a major part in fighting the novel coronavirus and will leave us with robust digital health ecosystems that will revolutionize healthcare in the future.
Here’s a look at how COVID-19 has accelerated technology in healthcare.
Growing Demand For Telemedicine
Telemedicine has certainly served as a major tool to curb the spread of the virus. Digital monitoring and video conferencing platforms have been used around the globe for reducing exposure to COVID-19. When the healthcare crisis began most of the hospitals were dedicated to treating coronavirus patients and the number of patient visits to the hospitals and healthcare practices increased significantly. Back then, it became an important duty to utilize technology to ensure that healthcare is accessible to everybody without increasing the risk of contracting the virus.
The systems have been designed to offer early assistance and diagnosis so that proper care could be delivered and the number of visits to the hospitals could be reduced. Telemedicine can even help with the management of chronic diseases.
Since the pandemic, there’s been a spike in the video consultations, and coordinated efforts have also been put forth to promote telemedicine. The UAE Ministry of Health launched a doctor chatbot for assessing potential COVID-19 cases around the country.
According to Professor Tim Pawlik of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, his hospital was getting under 100 telemedicine visits a month through tele-video and telephonic consultations, but that number has surged to around 14000 visits a month now.
Improved Wi-Fi and 5G Connectivity
The pandemic also made high-speed connectivity over the internet more important than ever and shifted the focus of the MedTech leaders in that direction. Be it telemedicine or remote patient monitoring, it could be a nightmare to render these services without high-speed internet and, hence, improved Wi-Fi and 5G connectivity can play a major part in making it all happen.
The technological advances have led to an increased number of connected medical devices able to generate, collect, analyze, and transfer data. These connected devices and the data transmitted through them have created the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) – a connected infrastructure of software applications, medical devices, and health services and systems.
In China, the medical treatment for COVID-19 was made possible through telemedicine consultations and expert visits powered by the 5G network. So, accelerated 5G telemedicine development is bound to happen across the country, as the doctors, as well as hospital management, are using these technologies for reaching the patients, particularly in various remote areas.
Better Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring relies on digital technologies for collecting medical and other different health data from individuals in a particular location before electronically transmitting it to the healthcare providers in some other location for analysis and recommendations.
RPM has helped big time in dealing with the challenge of COVID-19 and will continue to grow considering all its perceived benefits. Companies are already designing reactive, impactful patient-clinician remote monitoring solutions tailored for the primary and community care markets, and have plans to extend them to the secondary care outpatient clinics.
Multi-tiered modular systems are already in place for capturing data and accessing it. These interoperable software frameworks allow for data push and pull for secure and seamless data sharing anywhere and anytime. Furthermore, these systems also allow for interactive reporting through data visualizations for quickly analyzing R-A-G threshold alerts, flagging any urgent concerns for quick and swift preventative action.
Such systems can help tackle clinical wastage of time caused by existing manual-paper processes and reduce the risks of possible human errors. Digitizing the paper forms can lead to an intuitive data collection for clinicians, and can make the process easier for patients as well.
The technological-drive in healthcare hasn’t ended yet, and things are expected to move in the same direction in a post-COVID scenario as well. There will be more innovation in the MedTech and processes and the systems will become more efficient.