How is COVID-19 Shaping the Future of the Healthcare Industry?
The healthcare industry experts knew that the sector is steps behind from becoming an open ecosystem. There were far too many challenges and opacities keeping the health and care domain from becoming completely digital or accepting the inclusion of groundbreaking technologies like Blockchain, AI, IoT etc.
But it was when coronavirus started creeping up on us, the moment of truth was brought into the limelight. The healthcare industry across the globe was completely unprepared for a pandemic. There was a lack of completely-cloud infrastructure, an absence of digital practices to support offline to online transfusions and very less preparation for preventing frontliners from getting affected.
With a few months having gone by, the effect of coronavirus on the healthcare domain has started showing. Moreover, the picture of a changed healthcare system has also started emerging.
Let us deep dive into how COVID-19 is changing the healthcare system.
Rise in telehealth services
One of the biggest challenges that the healthcare industry faced ever since the onset of coronavirus pandemic was lowering the contact between healthcare professionals and visiting patients. The need for medical distancing was high but the solution was unavailable.
This need and lack of solution led to a glaring rise in the telehealth services. While active in the background for years, COVID-19 shoved the adoption of telehealth services on the front. In the time to come, the medical industry will continue to flourish and become accessible, open through telehealth facilities.
Surge in crowdsourced disease monitoring
The cluster formation which is evident in how coronavirus is spreading has called in a need for widespread contact tracing tools. As a mode of crowdsourced disease monitoring, digital health experts are moving towards contact tracing applications wherein people put in their data like travel routes, health conditions, etc for the agencies to then track and check if there’s a probability of them having caught the virus.
Boosting interoperability with HIEs
The growing influx of patient data coming in from multiple healthcare facilities is leading to a rise in the need for a robust health information exchange. The sector is set to witness efficient interoperability.
There is a need for secure, real-time exchange of health data between patients and doctors or between doctors and the healthcare facilities. This need is what HIEs integrated with new-gen technologies like AI, Blockchain, and IoT are out to solve.
Growing demands for health gadgets
The impact of coronavirus on the personal healthcare domain is most evident in how health conscious people have become. The fear of getting caught up by the virus has led to people downloading health monitoring applications and investing in wearables.
They are using wearables to keep track of their blood pressure, calorie count, body temperature and anything which can signal a probability of low immunity.
Probable change in healthcare policies
With the changing healthcare domain and the sector moving towards digitalism, we can expect to see changes being made in the healthcare policies prevalent globally. It is safe to presume that the industry will see more reforms coming into the picture for ensuring security and transparency in the e-health world.
There is no doubt that the post-coronavirus would be stark opposite from the one that we have deemed to be normal. Every healthcare process straight from how patients search for doctors to their hospital visits and practitioners' clinic management will see digital transformation advancing it. There are a number of tech firms that have come on the forefront to take charge of the transformation like highlighted in the Apple and Google partnership or in Walgreens expanding its telehealth program.
All these COVID driven changes will push the healthcare sector to an open ecosystem. One where the industry is accessible, real-time, and secure.
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