The COVID-19 pandemic and its global sweep is scaling exponentially across the globe. We are witnessing that health systems across some of the COVID-19 affected countries are stretching beyond their ability to handle this pandemic. The affected countries have geared up and are urgently scaling-up aggressive measures to tackle the disease and combat COVID-19.
Unfortunately, even some large health systems in developed countries are designed to handle regular patient loads and not pandemics. The international community has asked for US$675 million to help protect states with weaker health systems as part of its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Right from mid-March till the first week of April, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. Patients with an extreme disease from COVID-19 need average respiratory support of approximately 13 days and the number of new patients that can be accommodated during this prolonged outbreak is really low.
The rapid growth of cases can alter a public health emergency into an operational crisis if containment flops. Proper planning and response will require multidisciplinary effort from physicians, healthcare professionals, nurses, respiratory specialists, supply chain, pharmacists, etc.
Here’s how technology is helping through its virtual care potential and other advancements
Healthcare workers on the front lines are overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The number of calls they receive from patients who want to talk to their respective physicians about COVID 19 symptoms is unimaginably high. As a result, health systems are suggesting their patients to use self-triaging tools to check for the COVID-19 symptoms before putting them through to their doctors. Chatbot’s have also been reconfigured with FAQ’s and assessment related to Coronavirus symptoms.
The current COVID 19 outbreak scenario is terrifying and the major concern for many of us throughout the world. Due to the sudden spike, patients triaged for COVID-19 should wait long in a virtual queue. During this long wait patients get frustrated and impatient, and also puts many patients in a state of panic and anxiety. In one of the articles it is stated that the number of virtual visits have gone 10-15 times more after the COVID-19 outbreak.
This insists on the need for health systems to standardize and streamline processes eventually to handle intake volumes and have the technology in place to manage such pandemics efficiently. It is said since the COVID-19 outbreak Telehealth visits/usage has increased by approximately 500% in the last few weeks. While some of the health systems have already successfully adapted to new healthcare technologies there are still plenty out there who have not thought about it yet.
It is time for health systems to realize, the power and potential of Telehealth, bring it into the mainstream and take it at one stroke to transform care delivery. Likewise, remote patient monitoring is also equally important to monitor chronic conditions patients and patients who are at high risk or suspected of contracting the virus during such pandemics.
The COVID-19 pandemic may be a turning point as we look at the future of healthcare across time horizons, how we live and work, and perhaps the planet’s future. During such situations, a certain degree of reprioritization is needed to speed-up the digital transformation of healthcare delivery.
Mainstreaming of Telehealth
Telehealth is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The HealthViewX platform supports patient-to-provider, provider-to-provider and multi-party collaboration from the onset of a condition. The platform supports both audio and video calling, and live-chats along with document transfer. Allows patients to join from any device like mobile, laptop, tabs, etc. It enables healthcare organizations to customize Telehealth experience for providers and patients, thereby enhancing the quality of patient care, raising patient engagement and improving patient experience and health outcomes.
For further customization, the platform engine helps build digital tools and platforms on-the-fly with no-code or low-code to orchestrate care journeys and facilitates transitioning to value-based care. The current system definitely needs to adapt to modern healthcare technology.