COVID-19 has forever changed our society. In recent days, we have seen a movement toward telecommuting and digital solutions to accommodate drastic changes caused by this pandemic. The healthcare industry, which is arguably impacted the most, is no exception. But while the movement to digital healthcare started well before the outbreak, it has been a slow journey. And that journey has been 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. 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 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 greatly increased efficiency in bed utilization.
Perhaps the greatest and most boundless potential in applying technology to the healthcare industry lies in telemedicine. Telemedicine offers personalized and secure preliminary or post-release care for those diagnosed with the virus. It also provides immunocompromised patients the ability to access care without the risk of exposure to the virus.
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 a 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. This will forever alter the way we approach care and improve the lives of both patients and caregivers.
Supporting the well-being of healthcare workers and patients everywhere is the primary goal of the UpLyft team. We hope that everyone is staying safe during the pandemic and getting the support that they need.