The one clear consensus that has emerged from this doubt and anxiety-filled time is that our society will be forever changed by COVID-19. In the recent days, we have seen a general movement toward telecommuting and digital solutions to accommodate the drastic changes caused by this global pandemic. The healthcare industry, which is arguably impacted the most, is no exception to this trend. But while the movement to digital healthcare started well before the outbreak, it has been a slow journey, fraught with many regulations that have slowed its market penetration.
With the current system so overwhelmed, a transition from the face-to-face model of care to a digital model has become vitally necessary, forcing it to happen sooner rather than later. Places that have already embraced the digitalization of healthcare practices have demonstrated the benefits of updating the old-fashioned model. A digital approach to healthcare can have unlimited applications, from telemedicine to a digital system for tracking available hospital beds. All of these applications not only save time but also potentially peoples’ lives by eliminating unnecessary contact between infected and healthy patients as well as their caregivers.
How does digitalization help healthcare workers and in-home caregivers?
There have been many benefits already displayed from using technology for public health surveillance, including the ability to link data from sentinel labs and the ability to immediately link testing in different geographic locations to provide insight surrounding the spread of the virus.
Some countries, such as South Korea, have turned to using smartphone technology to better manage contacts and have enjoyed outstanding outcomes. In Germany, hospitals are using a centralized dashboard system to manage and track bed and care availability within their facilities. This has been shown to greatly increase the efficiency in bed utilization.
Perhaps the greatest and boundless potential in applying technology to the healthcare industry lies in telemedicine, which offers personalized and secure preliminary or post-release care for those diagnosed with the virus, while also providing other immunocompromised patients the ability to access their care without the risk of exposure to the virus in a hospital setting.
Telemedicine has unlimited potential when it comes to bringing consistent and personalized care in real-time to those in need – specifically benefiting those in remote areas. This type of care would lift unnecessary stress from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Not only would it benefit healthcare workers in hospitals and clinics, but also in-home caregivers, giving them the access and technological support they need to safely carry out their duties and support their patients.
A successful and timely transition to the digital healthcare system will depend largely on factors such as reimbursement for new digital services, expanded relief on constricting regulations, and effective evaluation of the clinical care provided by these technologies. Yet, with combined effort, we are likely to usher in a new era of digital healthcare that will forever alter the way we approach the subject and improve the lives of both patients and those who care for them.
The UpLyft™ team is dedicated to promoting the well-being of healthcare workers and their patients everywhere. We hope that everyone is staying safe during the pandemic and getting the support that they need.