Telehealth: A new era of the Health Industry
By Apratim Ghosh 6th July, 2020
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ the old proverb becomes the ultimate truth for global healthcare organizations in the current situation. The front-line healthcare staff has been fighting a war against the dreadful human tragedy due to COVID-19. In these turbulent times, digital technology is reshaping the care delivery system globally.
The healthcare industry was pretty slow in embracing the digital age. But, after the Corona pandemic, healthcare organizations have picked up at an unprecedented pace in the digital transformation journey. Also, more than 50%*** of patients are now ready to adopt digital tools as a way of quick cure solutions. Within six months, some significant variations were observed in medical management, like:
- Doctors and care staffs became more digitally matured in different hospitals
- More confidence & willingness among staff and patients to use technology
- Funding to invest in the medical IT infrastructure
Healthcare leaders have been spellbound by noticing how technology has stepped up to help the affected people in this pandemic. A report reveals a 500%* increase in telehealth visits and remote worker’s number almost double-ups.
Providence Health of Washington State has reconfigured their chatbot ‘Grace’ with FAQ’s and COVID-19 symptoms related assessment. Providence Digital Innovation Group has noticed that 70,000 * patients log into the chatbot and received over one million emails enquiring about the disease symptoms and doctor consultations. The number of virtual visits has gone up by 10 to 15 times compared to the pre-pandemic situation.
Millions of people are now welcoming digital care therapies and open to adopting the virtual health visit. Now, most on-demand digital care services are:
- On-demand medical appointments, home therapies, and care suggestion through telehealth
- Physicians and hospitals are using big-data insights and cloud storage to track and manage patient data
- Medical wearable devices to control health 24/7 and improve preventive measurements
- The virtual collaboration that helps doctors and caregivers to get trained in a better way
- Artificial intelligence that makes personalized treatment possible
- COVID-19 Self-assessment survey designed by healthcare marketers to check the valuable data among the population and initiate quick actions
Considering the present situation, the Government is relaxing healthcare regulations. Since the onset of the pandemic, social distancing has become mandatory for everyone, and that has started an experiment on remote care. The remote treatment makes patients more digitally empowered than ever.
According to the Google database report, from the starting of January to now, the most searched term is “Vaccine,” including the phrase “COVID-19 Vaccine trial and update.” Moreover, the below statistics have revealed a substantial increase in searches of preventive measures in South Asian countries.
Based on these above facts, we have found some astounding impacts on the global healthcare business due to this rapid transformation. An American market research company has already observed a hockey stick curve of the virtual care adoption system in the United States. Besides, US health insurers have admitted covering coronavirus related telemedicine. A French firm Doctolib SAS has experienced an 18-fold jump** on the medical video consultation within March 2020. Over one million people have used NHS 111online support for assessing nCov symptoms within the first week of site launching.
Besides all these benefits, there are some challenges in a digital transformation like:
- Equal opportunity access
- Clinical support to the patient for optimizing technology
- Training to handle new expertise and others
However, healthcare organizations can get rid of these challenges and improve their adoption scale by following the below characteristics.
|Easy to use techniques||Patients able to connect through mobile device sensors, useful for video/phone consultation|
|Measurable improvement in patient care quality||Facilitate clinical decision and increase learning on augmented reality|
|Affordable agile solutions and easy to replace the facility||Maintenance cost is low|
|Better working collaboration with industry innovator||Improve communication between end-users and makes clinical training easy|
|Ready to deliver a dynamic solution as per the need of end-users||Quick analysis and better advice to patients|
* Padmanabhan, P (contributor of CIO) ‘How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping healthcare with technology’, CIO, India Retrieved from: https://www.cio.com/article/3534499/how-the-covid-19-pandemic-is-reshaping-healthcare-with-technology.html
** Rethinking Digital Transformation of Healthcare Amid COVID-19: How Marketers Can Adapt to Changing Dynamics Retrieved from: https://useinsider.com/healthcare-amid-covid-19/
*** Vikram Kapur and Alex Boulton Covid-19 Accelerates the Adoption of Telemedicine in Asia-Pacific Countries, BAIN & COMPANY, Retrieved from: https://www.bain.com/insights/covid-19-accelerates-the-adoption-of-telemedicine-in-asia-pacific-countries/
An Entrepreneur, leader and technologist with over 18 years of experience. He is very focused on providing Technology and Advisory services to companies and has helped startups from different verticals to create technology platforms.