A crisis is a catalyst for change, and the global COVID19 pandemic has wrought a significant change on the healthcare industry. It stands to impact healthcare systems and economies worldwide in a manner without precedent.
Indeed, the ongoing global pandemic, which has forced us to re-think social interaction and adopt social distancing strategies, has similarly given rise to a greater emphasis on remote medical attention and ‘tele-medicine’.
Financing healthcare post-COVID19
Globally, the burden of a global pandemic has shown up limitations in medical infrastructure, supply chain issues, and shortages of PPE and equipment and has placed significant pressure on budgets and finance.
The challenges of re-equipping Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers is one typical consideration facing the industry and addressed by growth companies such as Revsuppliance.
A pertinent question raised by the fallout from the pandemic is whether world healthcare systems will be able to adopt and finance new and emerging health technologies.
Health information technologies and the move to electronic medical records
The past decade has seen steady advancements in the field of information technology and the rise of Electronic Medical Records. The number of certified Health Information Technology (HIT) vendors in the United States has risen significantly from 60 to over 1,000 since 2008.
Digital storage and the attendant benefits of streamlined information sharing between healthcare professionals have been a natural consequence of the exponential growth of networking, internet, and cloud-based storage technologies.
The present global crisis has acted as a catalyst for further change and development in health information technologies, borne from considerations of staff deployment and availability and the need to protect and isolate medical staff from viral exposure and infection whilst carrying out their duties.
The rise of tele-medicine in the COVID19 era
Tele-medical screening and consultation have permitted patients to schedule video conferencing appointments, alleviating the need for travel to an in-person healthcare site.
Electronic Medical Technology means that service providers have easy access to relevant patient travel and exposure history.
Hollander MD & Carr MD [Virtually Perfect? Telemedicine for COVID19] observe that some American healthcare providers have now partnered with commercial concerns to develop their own in-house web-conferencing software platforms to permit a single remote clinician to administer to multiple sites in emergency situations. In this way, a secure open connection between a triage center and the remote clinician can be established rapidly.
In the same way, patients who have been identified with a positive screening can be isolated in an examination room and assessed via a dedicated tablet connection, thus reducing the potential for staff exposure.
Furthermore, the increased emphasis on remote consultation has further permitted ‘fast referral’ to other specialists and practitioners, who would have perhaps been less accessible in the in-person setting.
What exactly is the ‘new normal’?
As the world progresses through milestones in the current global pandemic, notably including vaccine development and national rollout programs, the question frequently posed is “What will be the ‘new normal’ in the post-COVID19 era?”
By general consensus, the answer to that question appears to settle on at least one particular point – the current pandemic appears to have changed our ways of working irrevocably and on an unprecedented scale.