4 Digital Technology Trends
After the pandemic crisis that is Covid-19, Digital Health will be increasingly adopted. Indeed, the context of this pandemic has made patients and health workers realize the problems linked to the current system. From long waits at the emergency rooms to the fear of getting even sicker by visiting a doctor, those problems can be diminished with those 4 new digital trends.
Given the virulence and ease of transmission of coronavirus, people avoid visiting their doctor and are afraid of going to public hospitals. In addition, our hospitals are already overloaded with critical cases; isn’t there a way to reduce unnecessary visits? For these issues, telemedicine is a ready-made option that addresses this issue.
Telemedicine, the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology, is 40 percent more efficient than the traditional health care system due to centralization and leads to cost savings of 15 to 20 percent. Thanks to telemedicine patients can consult doctors from the comfort of their homes regarding their symptoms or be monitored for other ailments. This reduces unnecessary hospital visits, allowing physicians to focus on urgent cases requiring prompt medical attention. A use case which has proven to work is the usage of an app for video consultation.
After a remote consultation, you might need a paper-less prescription with a qualified electronic signature. As described is our use case in the workflow consists of two main steps:
- generation of the prescription document containing information on the drugs and the concerned patient, and the signature of the prescription
- distribution to the prescription to the patient and the select pharmacy
As described above the electronic signature is key in a telemedicine consultation but is also need for many contractual exchanges The Federal Council is facilitating the use of the electronic signature for a period of six months which can be extended. With this regulation, the Federal Council now wants to avoid personal contacts among the population.
Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
Patient are looking for answers to their health-related questions and this need becomes even stronger during a pandemic episode. A first bot use case shows how together with Medgate and the Federal Office of Public Health, we rapidly designed and developed an online triage and recommendation tool in less than two weeks to answers citizen questions around Covid.
AI has countless applications in healthcare. Whether it’s being used to discover links between genetic codes, to power surgical robots or even to maximize hospital efficiency, AI has been a of benefit to the healthcare industry.
Another AI use case shows how a chatbot and AI integrated into an App can disrupt telemedicine. Together with Medgate and IBM we have developed a solution based on artificial intelligence to remotely identify critical medical situations.
Everybody has heard about the smartphone tracking apps. By tracking smartphone usage, health authorities are able to identify who has been in contact with whom, and subsequently alert those who might have been in proximity to someone infected with COVID.
There are at least 10 countries employing such surveillance methods. Singapore’s opt-in app uses Bluetooth and wireless signals to trace users in proximity. South Korea’s successful management of the outbreak was in part thanks to tracking phone use, in addition to bank transactions and CCTV footage. Moscow launched a QR-based system to track the disease (source). However, France is delaying the launch of its Stop Covid application for confidentiality reasons.
On the other hand tech giants as Apple and Google (who have already access to all our personal data) formed an unlikely partnership to include contact-tracing into their operating systems.
This is just examples of how mobile apps can help the health industry. Mobile health applications are one of the fastest-growing categories in the app market. According to report the Global mHealth Apps Market to grow at 21.1% CAGR and reach $11.17 billion value by 2025.
Mobile healthcare applications have several objectives:
- help patients suffering from a chronic disease better manage his or her day-to-day illness
- improve adherence to treatment
- facilitate interaction and relationship between healthcare practitioners and patients
It should be noted that health applications can take several forms: some serve as a source of information for the patient, others are capable of collecting medical data, analyzing it, giving advice and/or sending the data to health professionals.
Another use case has been experimented by a group of Swiss private clinics that wanted to explore the possibility of offering their patients a supporting application. Putting such an application in the hands of their patients would allow them to follow their treatment progress anytime, anywhere, and reinforce their relationship with the medical team.