The future of digital health is consolidating, which could be beneficial to you.
The past year brought the crucial nature of virtual care to the forefront. From mitigating the spread of the coronavirus to connecting isolated patients and providing care for non-COVID-19 patients, we have seen validation of telehealth under the most extreme circumstances as healthcare organizations face challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth is now a critical component of care delivery, not just a “nice-to-have.”
As we look ahead, virtual care will continue to lay the fundamental foundation needed to enable agile and effective care with the right clinician, at the right time, and in the right location for patients. Inpatient care is increasingly being imbued with virtual components that improve productivity, patient outcomes and provider experience. A growing range of patient engagements will employ a digital-first strategy designed to bring costs down, improve satisfaction, and make the entire experience more convenient for patients and caregivers alike. Telehealth will be reinforced with a new era of predictive tools and applications that augment the information available to improve overall outcomes.
Artificial and Augmented Intelligence
First and foremost, virtual care continues to drive effectiveness in outpatient care. Ongoing AI advancements will enhance clinical sapience and enable care for further cases, in malignancy of challenges related to limited staff coffers. Although artificial intelligence gets the bulk of the attention in healthcare invention, we shouldn’t underrate the significance of the mortal factor in the marriage of health IT and care delivery. Rather than relate to it as artificial intelligence, we prefer to concentrate on the conception that, in reality, it’s stoked information. Investment in stoked information is an important steppingstone in completing and enhancing being clinical workflows. Nothing can replace a knowledgeable, educated caregiver, but how much more effective can they be if we compound the information available to them? Nonstop virtual observation of cases, data capture through wearables and access to prophetic algorithms that can help providers anticipate conditions affecting patient issues will combine to ameliorate care.
Accelerated use of telehealth to provide services to patients unable to visit their doctors during the pandemic proved that this is not only viable, but often the preferred option. As a result, hospitals are looking for additional ways to extend healthcare engagement into the patient home. While this has largely been pursued out of necessity in order to reach patients isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also fueled by evolving patient expectations around easier access to care. Virtual care models represent the modern-day equivalent of the home visit or house call of the past. Technology platforms and an array of connected devices will emerge to become permanent fixtures within homes. These solutions offer a cost-effective means for reducing some of the overhead commonly associated with hospital stays, as well as increased convenience and comfort for patients. Home-based care has the added advantage of minimizing exposure to infected patients by clinical staff.
Presently, AI, home health and wearables each have had varied success in individual use cases but the real power and benefit will come from combining them into comprehensive ecosystems. Over the past year, utilization of telehealth reached incredible levels and established a new normal that is expected to remain after the pandemic is over. This is an ideal time for providers to optimize these technologies and prepare for growth. The care room of the future uses video-enabled care to drive operational efficiency, improve staff and patient safety, and reduce healthcare disparities.
Virtual care helped us deal more effectively with the pandemic and we have been given a glimpse of what the future of healthcare can be. The digital health revolution has begun and leveraging two-way video, wearables and augmented information will enable us to create a better patient experience, improve outcomes and be more prepared for the next challenge that might come. The benefits of virtual care were on full display in 2020 and as we move forward it is clear that there is no limit to how telehealth can positively impact the overall experience and outcomes across the entire healthcare continuum.