Communication and continuous engagement have become increasingly important during the pandemic. They will continue to play an important role in the post-pandemic era. While the pandemic has been a systemic shock for everyone, it has made the private sector, governments, and individuals take healthcare seriously. Inefficiencies in the healthcare system prevented these challenges from being addressed, particularly with respect to the system of communication. The ones who cannot avoid the pandemic have had to work on the ground level in the absence of a revamp of the healthcare system. The inability to pass on the right messages has put immense pressure on healthcare workers who have been forced to make many sacrifices to get us through the pandemic.
Technology is playing a role in helping and complementing efforts to win this war. Technology companies made new solutions and tweaked existing ones to make them more effective to meet the unique challenges posed by the pandemic. Some of the technology solutions that made a difference are:
Secured Telehealth Services: Information about the virus, testing facilities, and hospitals was crucial for all during this pandemic. Most countries imposed lockdowns to reduce the spread. Telemedicine played a vital role in helping patients and doctors during this time. Telemedicine is not a new technology, but its importance was seen in a different light. It was adopted widely and quickly across the Globe. It will now continue to grow as a mainstream healthcare solution.
Comprehensive Record Keeping Systems: EMR is an old practice, which was adopted by larger hospitals. During the pandemic, small and medium-sized clinics have started adopting it as a part of compliance. This helped various government agencies to track the virus, and proved the importance of data during a crisis. Many medical records were found useful for taking right decisions and prescribing medications.
Supply Chain Management: Due to a lockdown imposed without notice, the supply chain collapsed. Many places were not able to get their basic needs, including medicines. To ensure continuity in supply, various logistics solutions were explored, including tagging, tracking, and using drones. This has given everyone an experience of crisis management and its effect on everyone, especially when so few options are available. Supply chain infrastructure and solutions will only avoid the worst impact of such a crisis.
Disinfection Solutions & Robots: Virus and infection spread was one of the primary challenges of this pandemic. To minimise the effect and spread, disinfection was started everywhere. This needed continuous effort. Many innovators built robots that can be controlled remotely, to help with disinfection. Initially, these were installed in important public places like hospitals. Now, we can see them everywhere to ensure a continuous disinfection process.
Health Insurance: There is a surge in healthcare usage in the pandemic. Many were not clear about what is included and what is not. The claim process and overall operations flow was changed, which had to be accommodated within existing systems. This also attracted many illegal activities by hackers. Cybersecurity became an enhanced concern because of this.
Healthcare at Home: Home care was adopted due to the limitations faced by hospitals. Many countries asked patients to take initial care at home. This included visits by doctors, nursing services as well other healthcare services provided at the doorstep, and made sure patients got what they needed and reduced the pressure on the healthcare system.
AI & Remote Monitoring: Within hospitals, doctors and nurses were facing challenges due to the nature of the virus and the speed with which it was spreading. Technology helped many doctors to monitor the situations remotely. AI solutions started playing a role in analysing the patterns and trends and helped to accelerate the process of vaccine research.
We hope to see many more such innovations to help address current and future healthcare challenges.
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