Evolution of Healthcare post Covid-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic has placed unparalleled demands on modern healthcare systems, it has demonstrated its pliability and its potential to evolve and accelerate it’s transformation in the digital ecosystem.
Digital healthcare was already evolving at a rapid pace but the pandemic detonated the implementation of many technological solutions struggling to find their foothold in the industry. Several nations integrated digital technology process for combating the pandemic right from testing, contact tracing, devising quarantine plans for travellers. Virtual care models helped flatten the incidence curve by preventing people from getting infected or by managing the existing cases with much ease. Unprecedented efforts are still underway by healthcare and immunisation experts to leverage AI and Technology for mass production, as global immunisation plans are translated and implemented at country and regional levels.
Today, the vaccine is a ray of hope for the world that was devastated by a pandemic with no signs of abetting. Even then, one of healthcare’s biggest challenges today is to devise a system that has the digital capacity to engage every citizen globally not just during the pandemic but even for other chronic conditions.
The upscaling of virtual care in the wake of the pandemic, has given rise to a number of new digital health solutions for the healthcare industry.
The pandemic highlighted the emphasis for precise diagnostics and treatments for patients based on a range of biomarkers by analysing clinical patient data containing genetic predispositions, patient’s lifestyle and behaviour to understand their biological vulnerabilities for targeted treatments. In the light of recent ongoings, the future patient care relies on accentuated need for personalised treatment solutions derived from advanced data collection and analytics drawn from those rather than a one drug fit all solution.
Digital contact tracing and interoperability.
Data tracking technologies have emerged as a way to enhance traditional contact tracing efforts. A lot of these were primarily developed to spread awareness and connect the essential health services to the common man. These apps use the smartphone’s Bluetooth and GPS locations to track individuals who are at the risk of being exposed to infections and evaluate the risks of infection by scanning through a database of existing cases.
This digital toolset has significantly reduced the medical healthcare system’s contact tracing challenges by collecting real time data of people by tracking resources who could have been exposed to or could be a source of exposure to the public.
Robotics and AI
Robots are fast becoming common in the healthcare industry today, even more so during the pandemic. The virulence of the virus and the rate at which it was spreading forced the healthcare professionals world over to reduce in-person contact with patients unless absolutely required. Robots are being used vastly in many healthcare institutions for small jobs like reminding patients to wear a mask, wash their hands. These Robots even check patient temperature with their thermal monitors and make a repository of it for the staff thus combating the spread of the virus to a certain extent.
Today Robotics and AI is being developed to handle multiple critical scenarios in assisting medical professionals in hospitals and are deployed for activities like medicine and food delivery, protective gear delivery, vitals monitoring and much more to reduce the risk of infection. Some robots are also being developed to use their 3D UV light to disinfect the hospital premises of the virus.
Telecare or Virtual Care
Virtual care platforms have seen a rapid rise in customers over the last year. These platforms use video conferencing, digital monitoring and leverage technology to make healthcare accessible to one and all by connecting patients and doctors under one platform.
Virtual doctors or chatbots are designed to address basic questions and are trained to address patient concerns in an optimised and structured format. This technology has revolutionised the way patient interaction is conducted as many opt for telemedicine. Although this tech is still in its initial stages of development, the chatbot can be made “smarter” by adding more content to their database for an elevated customer experience.
The pandemic has definitely propelled the need to integrate AI and Big Data driven practices in the healthcare industry giving a whole new dimension to centralised patient Data. This in turn has given a whole new meaning to swift identification of emergencies for public health using analytics drawn from this for better medical and personalised preparedness.