How COVID 19 has made a change in the future of the Healthcare Industry

posted on

14 nov, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an unprecedented healthcare crisis, filled with tragic illnesses and deaths. This has saddled an already overwhelmed medical workforce with more work. In the midst of all that, the healthcare industry is witnessing an evolution in the patient healthcare experience that will reform the healthcare industry in the future.

Apart from that, amidst a health crisis like this, people with treatable health conditions always suffer more. This is because the healthcare system is too overburdened to operate effectively. Many outpatient services have shut down either due to capacity issues or safety concerns. Also, intense social distancing measures make routine trips to hospitals a formidable task. People with chronic health conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, are at greater risk of falling critically ill if infected. Due to this, many patients and their families think twice before even visiting a hospital. The health authorities have become aware of this problem. This led to the implementation of various policies to promote telemedicine as part of the ongoing digital healthcare strategy.

The Emergence of the Digital Healthcare Industry

Before the outbreak, digital technology had already been leveraged in various nations. It helped advance, augment, and make amendments to health care services. Hence the authorities are using health technologies to address the most pressing needs during the pandemic. As we all know that the first country to bear the brunt of the outbreak was China. China introduced a lot of digital solutions spanning across different stages of the outbreak. On February 2, their National Health Commission asked the health authorities to strengthen the use of digital solutions, in collaboration with ministers across sectors and existing service providers.

Global health authorities are now involving private companies to expand their health services. Those companies are making a lot of effort to collectively represent a mix of services. These services involve everything from building ICT infrastructure to enabling the availability of AI-powered healthcare services.

Role of Healthcare Apps in Mitigating the Pandemic

Apps for Public Use

Data-driven technologies are augmenting contact tracing, testing, and surveillance in various countries. One widely used application by the general public is one that allows people to trace if they were ever near any confirmed cases. The app was first developed by an independent software developer. He used data crawled from social media and websites where information on cases could be found. Later, that app became more effective after having reliable data from public surveillance systems. Putting such risk assessments in the hands of the public was a game-changer. It enabled individuals to be more aware of whether they have been exposed to the disease. It also gave specific instructions to continue practicing social distancing and health monitoring.

Today, doctor consultation apps, pharmacy apps, fitness wearables, and health sensors are widely used. Consumers are now willing to make their own health choices. Now physicians and patients can easily access medical information about drugs and diseases online.

Apps For Healthcare Workers

There was another notable application, less known to the unexposed public but more recognized among health staff. It was used to improve diagnostic accuracy. It made diagnostics quicker and more effective and available to larger numbers of people. Hospitals in Wuhan and other cities introduced AI-powered CT imaging interpretation tools, which helped radiologists to reduce CT reading time from hours to seconds. Some tools enabled patients at community clinics to have their CT scan examined by medical experts miles away. This was critically important during the most stressful weeks of the outbreak. It helped decrease the chances of losing track of infected people. It also improved the diagnostic capacity without overwhelming the healthcare workforce.

Online consultation services have been maximized by revamping pre-existent privately-owned online telemedicine platforms. Authorities are also conducting infrastructural advancements in public hospitals for such functions. During the outbreak, telemedicine is even providing mental health support.

Online platforms made it possible to launch systematic, accessible, and comprehensive mental health support for everyone. Some pharma companies have already developed a digital disease management digital platform for NCDs like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are available in multiple languages, use behavioral science, real-world evidence, and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time monitoring, coaching, and giving advice to patients. It can also provide remote clinical assistance to doctors.

In A Nutshell

As Pandemic progresses, the role of digital technology continues to evolve. New apps and softwares have a key role to play. These apps are helping authorities in balancing the reinstatement of economic and social activities now that the lockdown is over. More and more pharma companies are recognizing the potential of digital platforms, mobile apps, webinars, social media for giving scientific detailing to the newer algorithm for improved insights on patient awareness on diseases, adherence to the treatment regimen, disseminating real-time information on developments in therapy areas, etc.