How Technology & Healthcare Can Work Together in a Post-Pandemic World?

Dr. Ruchir Mehra, CEO & Co-Founder, RemedoDr. Ruchir Mehra is well versed in healthcare, pharmaceutical and consumer health space with strong communication, analytical and people skills. He completed MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi and PGDM from IIM, Lucknow.

Healthcare industry across the world has faced enormous setbacks in the past few months when the novel coronavirus affected a million lives in most fatal manner. The industry was all set to conquer the world when an unknown disease put public as well as private health sector companies in a difficult situation.

As social distancing becomes the new normal, here’s how the healthcare and technology could change in a post pandemic world:

Telemedicine: Telemedicine is a comprehensive term for giving remote medicinal services exchange between the patients and the doctors. Data and communication, involving the internet technology, are utilized for recording patient’s history, past or ongoing clinical diagnosis or treatment and reviewing the reports. Telemedicine-empowered machines convert the patient's location into a fully equipped clinic. The prognosis is communicated to the patient via internet alongside consult and a prescription, meaning geography will not prevent them from having access to medicine.

Medical experts report how patients are gradually taking interest in tele-medicine services. While it is still believed that tele-health industry may be an obstruction when it comes to doctor-patient relationship, current situation has demonstrated that it really improves this relationship instead, with high degrees of fulfillment, particularly as it gives patients quick and consistent access to their confided in clinician.

In a world after the pandemic where social distancing must be strictly followed, tele-medicine can prove to helpful. We are looking at a future in which allied services such as nutrition consult, physiotherapy, psychology, etc will move from clinics to at-home facilities. Tele-medicine increase doctors’ capacity for providing health care, even to remotely situated patients. It will also ensure better productivity on their part as they will be able to treat more patients virtually than they could otherwise. Countries, including India, are taking interests in this sphere and what is now the need of the hour could become a new typical order of the future.

Wearable Technology: Researches have claimed that data from a wearable gadget can detect coronavirus side effects days before you even acknowledge you’ve been infected. That simply changes the purpose of a fitness trackers from counting steps and calories to detecting viruses. The reports suggest that Fitbits and Apple Watches may end up being a viable early-detection framework and they could help revive work and home environments — and advance from customer tech oddities into health essentials. This will empower patients as with the help of technology and wearable devices, they will be aware of their health and hygiene.

As these organizations develop prototypes that are increasingly inspired by healthcare, wearables of the future could come with more sensors. For example, Fitbits now gather heart information while an Apple Watch application can recognize an atrial fibrillation and both Apple and Google, are also planning to set up
contact tracing technology for wearables which could make the detection process smooth.

Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare is another such industry that is witnessing super-fast changes with the introduction of AI. In a worldwide exertion to make healthcare progressively comprehensive with expansive advantages, while making it more financially savvy, accurate and fast, the industry is utilizing the most recent AI innovations as a key to foster development. Computing, networking, and security automation is driving constant and unprecedented growth of AI’s role in healthcare sector.

It is because of advent of artificial intelligence and its influence on the healthcare that home diagnostics and at-home care is possible today. Patients can capture their health data through at-home diagnostic devices, combined with home servicing of lab tests which help them track their conditions, share it with their doctors remotely and get consultation. Artificial Intelligence has been able to guide patients and help doctors with accurate and fast clinical support.

Telecommunication in the field of health care is going to increase as people get used to ‘quarantine’. The quantity of telehealth consults has risen exponentially during this pandemic and it will increase manifolds once it’s over. During this time, with a rise in patient queries and lack of one-to-one contact with doctors, AI-fueled customer assistance can be utilized as the front line of correspondence. Dissimilar to old IVR's, AI-empowered client care will comprehend the patient's needs and chat bots could make the transition easier.

Robotic Technology: Research labs and companies are making robots, including one intended to let health care workers remotely take blood tests and perform mouth swabs. These robots could have a significant effect in the future debacles as more countries are taking interest in the technology.

Robots are helping first responders in many ways, such as:

In emergency clinics, specialists and medical attendants, relatives and even receptionists are utilizing robots to communicate with patients while standing in a permissible range of contact. They are cleaning rooms and delivering medicines, taking care of the charts and other additional work. They are even shipping samples (of infected patients) to research centers for testing.

In public, public health care providers are utilizing robots to splash disinfectant in open spaces. Drones are giving thermal imagery to help recognize contaminated residents and implement isolation techniques and social distancing norms. Robots are also helping in broadcasting health awareness messages and helping the people learn about the infection and social distancing.

Open Surveillance for Contact Tracing: COVID-19 won't be the world's last pandemic, so this conceivable not so distant future situation could only be the beginning. There is a wide assortment of advanced innovations turning out far and wide to help check the spread of the novel coronavirus. Contact tracing, specifically, helps in surveillance and study of the distribution and patterns of diseases in a confined area, which makes it an area of interest & investments for the government.

It is how health professionals can identify the primary bearer of the virus followed by people he/she may have infected, to disengage those in danger and stop the virus from spreading. It's a reliable examination technique that has been used to effectively battle several diseases including measles, HIV, and Ebola. Nations around the globe and now is being used to contain the coronavirus. Simultaneously, organizations such as Apple and Google are building frameworks to help grow and automate the contact tracing and tell users who may could have become possibly infected.

Contact tracing is three-steps process involving test, trace, and isolate. While testing is irrefutably the top priority, it is also important for the health professionals to discover the individuals who have been infected. Contact tracing is indispensable for preventing a fatal disease from spreading fast. When the infected patients have been distinguished, the doctors can put those individuals in an isolation center before they spread the virus further.

Programmers are working strenuously to manufacture applications, services, and frameworks for a reliable contact tracing: recognizing and telling every one of the individuals who have met an infection bearer. Some of them have been proven to be brief, while others are invasive. Since this is the means by which innovation can help set up a new world order for another pandemic, administering bodies are required to take control and set up guidelines for ethical contact tracing.

Science has been proven to make significant discoveries when it comes to diseases, by seeing how it works, and finding better approaches to stop it. Doubtlessly the coronavirus pandemic will likewise require a reconsidering of needs and reorientation of methodologies as social distancing becomes inevitable.