New medical innovations have allowed society to experience longer life expectancy rates and an overall improved quality of life, thanks to better treatment options for critical illness and disease. Adversely, however, in an industry as advanced as the medical field, many healthcare professionals are still using outdated, paper-and-pen processes to perform routine tasks such as maintaining patient records and sharing critical data. With the advancements in medical technology, and the comprehensive nature of management solutions available, the healthcare industry can no longer deny the efficiency and benefits gained with new innovations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare providers to embrace digital methods to perform everyday routine tasks. Technology companies have been working around the clock to develop new solutions that help providers remain safe while helping as many patients as possible. This new technology is making it easier than ever for patients, doctors and nurses to communicate and share critical healthcare information remotely and securely.
New technologies being used to protect frontline healthcare workers
Cleveland’s University Hospitals have recently introduced new mobile technology1 that enables healthcare providers to monitor COVID-19 patients on ventilators, reducing their exposure to the virus and helping to conserve the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Patients continue to receive in-person care when needed, but the system limits healthcare workers’ exposure to potential infection. This not only reduces the spread of contagion, but also helps to control and manage critical PPE inventory.
COVID-19 pandemic sparks demand explosion in digital health
Healthcare systems around the world all struggle with the same challenges: escalating costs, disparities in access to care, systems burdened by aging populations and chronic disease, and the absence of accurate mechanisms to measure quality of care. Each year sheds light on new solutions that promise to fix healthcare systems, but only one is having its breakthrough moment and is proving its value.
The adoption of telemedicine, or digital health, has been surprisingly slow up until now. Those who may have previously resisted digital healthcare are now keen on figuring out how it can benefit both patients and healthcare professionals, setting the stage for faster adoption of digital health services even after the pandemic slows down.
For people living with chronic conditions – diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease – telemedicine has been a godsend in helping them manage their diseases from home. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, chronic disease is estimated to cost the Canadian economy $122 billion CAD annually in lost productivity.2 Meanwhile in the U.S., 2016 figures revealed it costs $1.1 trillion USD to treat chronic conditions.3 Patients are seeing their doctors faster than ever before via virtual appointments, and should the surge in demand for telemedicine continue, it will only serve to help alleviate long wait times for appointments post-pandemic.
Speed up personalized care without compromising accuracy or security
Mobile technology is also being used to communicate and share critical information securely in real-time with other healthcare professionals about patient status and to discuss treatment plans and results, all with greater accuracy. With the rapid spread of COVID-19 overwhelming healthcare facilities around the world, they also face a surge in cyberattacks, threatening the security of IT infrastructures. These attacks can be devastating for healthcare organizations, potentially shutting them out of critical systems necessary for delivering high quality care on time, not to mention possibly exposing sensitive patient data. To reduce these security risks and more, healthcare organizations should consider a secure and integrated mobility and IoT management solution as part of their mobile strategy. An integrated platform not only enables healthcare organizations to manage devices remotely, but also provides the ability to diagnose, troubleshoot and fix any mobile device issues, wipe and lockdown devices remotely, easily build custom apps, and gain advanced data analytics into app, data and network usage.
Lifesaving healthcare goes virtual
The advent of telemedicine and the introduction of new mobile capabilities have opened a new world of possibilities for greater collaboration among healthcare professionals, resulting in more personalized care and faster delivery of treatment plans. In India in 2019, for example, a surgeon successfully performed heart surgery4 on a patient from 20 miles away, while Miami’s renowned pediatric hospital, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, makes their specialists available for virtual consultations5 around the world.
As digital transformation within the healthcare industry increasingly becomes a top priority, mobile healthcare applications and IoT-powered technologies will play an even greater role in the delivery of modern healthcare.
Looking ahead: More innovation and reliance on mobile technology
With more innovation expected as companies accelerate to keep up with the rapid pace of change, mobility is envisioned to revolutionize how healthcare systems can deliver care digitally. Patients will be able to access specialists they no longer have to travel far distances to meet, remedying the inequitable distribution of access to essential healthcare services in remote areas.
However, healthcare organizations must consider the significant changes and updates that must be made to their existing technology infrastructure if they expect to fully utilize mobile technology. Many healthcare organizations will be faced with legacy systems and outdated processes that will require an integrated mobile strategy to address. The anticipated benefits of mobile technology will be both positive and transformative if rolled out correctly, helping to build sustainable health systems that are more responsive to long-term patient needs.
- News 5 Cleveland, New technology at University Hospitals limits health care workers' exposure to virus, saves PPE
- Sunlife, Chronic disease in the workplace: Focus on prevention and support
- Milken Institute, The cost of chronic disease in the U.S.
- Popular Mechanics, Robot helps perform first long-distance heart surgery
- Contract, Designing for Health: The Telehealth Dialogue