In mid April, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs had issued a new policy brief where they had emphasized on the importance of digital technology for successfully addressing the issues and embracing reality during the pandemic.
“The crisis has demonstrated that it is impossible for societies to ignore technological advancements as they are continuing to change business models and people’s everyday lives. Governments should embrace these policy- and technological developments and harvest the digital opportunities that can support the long-term sustainable development of their countries.” (un.org)
From the beginning of mass quarantine, the significance of digital consultancy has become quite clear. People cannot leave their houses and visit hospitals anymore as it is one of the riskiest places to visit at present. So digital consultancy has become the “New Normal”, till the situation improves.
First of all, existing and ubiquitous digital systems in healthcare including patient tracking devices, RFID and IoT systems for healthcare asset tracking, HER and e-prescriptions, telemedicine solutions, mobile apps for patients and doctors are being used as the primary tools for addressing many issues and risks associated with the crisis in healthcare.
Secondly, government, businesses and world organizations are addressing digital technologies for solving the core problems of the pandemic. eHealth startups are now receiving massive support and investment and they are trying to speed up their innovations faster than before. Not to mention all the attention top biotech companies on the vaccine development landscape are getting these days.
The Role of Technology in Improving Healthcare Outcomes in times of Pandemic and beyond:
From Electronic Health Records and digital consultations to hospital asset tracking systems, digital tools are striving to make healthcare processes safer and more convenient.
Tracking technology such as RFID, RTLS as well as more complex networks of connected devices and spaces help monitor and control people flow (patients, doctors, nurses, other staff), locate medical tools and equipment, track sterilization processes. These technologies are indispensable in identifying infected spots and mitigating infection spread.
There’s a whole range of time-proven and widely adopted digital systems for doctors, patients, hospitals in general that helps deliver better, safer and more timely healthcare services. Among them are electronic health records, hospital management systems, medical inventory software and e-prescriptions.
These and many other platforms help regulate patient admission and discharge, track treatment effects in real time, improve medication adherence as well as smoothly manage financial, administrative and supply processes behind the scene.
Eliminate human labor from the process:
Commonly used EHR, HMS and e-prescriptions help better organize the very basic processes in health and social care and free staff from time-consuming routine and paperwork. Other emerging technology in healthcare such as wearables, smart hospital equipment, mobile apps for patients having chronic health conditions, robots and drones completely eliminate human interaction in the cases where it’s possible thus relieving the pressure on the healthcare system and limiting the risks associated with direct contact.
Among good examples are drones delivering medication, self-adjusting vitals tracking hospital beds, autonomous insulin delivery devices, assisting apps for people with mental health issues, etc.
Digital transformation is a major step towards keeping the pressure under control in these trying times and trying to prevent the health crisis entirely.