Everywhere in the world, the healthcare system is in limbo because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries like Italy which have one of the most effective health systems in the world crumbled. The pandemic crippled its health system. The same pandemic put the world in lockdown. Families are quarantining in their homes. Governments are shutting down. Businesses are losing. But there is no other industry in the world that will likely have to face a devastating new normal than the medical industry.
But thanks to technology, the medical industry will likely survive the new norm. There will even be new exercises for curved spine scoliosis and other mobility activities. But, how will the new norm affect health care workers and their patients? How will this new norm impact the way doctors treat their patients? How will patients reach out to their doctors?
Technology Will Play the Biggest Part
There has been some consensus in the past that the medical industry needs to adapt to the changing times. There were some apps and software developed to start digital consultation, slashing the need for patients to see their doctors in person. Though none of these programs have become effective enough to be adopted by large medical institutions, now is the perfect time for the industry to do that.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, hospitals and health care institutions have closed their doors to diseases other than this new strain of coronavirus. People with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and the common flu are being turned away from hospitals too overwhelmed by treating COVID-19 patients. This led to many doctors, who are not at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, to allow online medical consultations. Some have come as far as writing prescriptions for their patients.
This has been a long time coming. So many app developers in the past have tried to encourage doctors to see their patients virtually than in person. None have been successful primarily because doctors refuse to treat patients they haven’t touched, seen, or talked with in person. Patients aren’t as comfortable taking medicines when their doctors did not consult with them in person.
But that has to change now. The internet will play a critical role in making sure health services are still delivered in this new norm. But the way these services will be delivered has forever been altered by the pandemic. To protect themselves and their patients, doctors are now going to be more welcoming to the idea of telemedicine consultation.
In hospitals, there will be centralized dashboards that will manage bed and care availability. This is already being done in countries such as Germany. This will be adopted by other countries after the pandemic is over. This allows health care workers to manage the hospital in a way that won’t require them to be physically present there. Hospital administrators can manage the hospital from their homes. Nurses can schedule care availability accordingly. Charts will be shared through a central location so that doctors can make appropriate changes to the care instructions without needing to talk in person.
The emergency room will look different, too. Patients might no longer be allowed to come in and out as they please. Since physical distancing is paramount to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even trips to the emergency room will be scheduled and handled remotely. There might be an online screening first before people are allowed to go to the emergency room. Unless it is an absolute emergency, patients might need to wait for their doctors’ advice before going to the hospital.
Artificial Intelligence Is Critical
In this regard, artificial intelligence and the internet of things will be further developed to embrace telemedicine. Amazon has rolled out the use of drones and robots to deliver packages during the crisis. Following the same logic, the medical industry can also start adopting these new technologies. Hospitals can send drones to deliver test results. Robots can take blood samples from patients right in the comfort of their own homes.
And what about medical records and medical insurance? There’s a need to cut down the number of people in the hospital. Or else, the transmission of the disease will continue. All processing of medical records and insurance claims can be done online. There will be a centralized hub from where to access important medical information about a patient. Of course, IT personnel will secure the hub. Only authorized personnel will access it.
People and industries need to understand that this new norm is critical for the world to get back on their feet. People need to work together. They need to embrace the new world that they are about to wake up to a few months from now. The medical industry, in particular, is at the core of this. If societies and governments fail to strengthen the health care industry, the world will continue to suffer through pandemics.