Healthcare Moving ForwardEditorial
In the era of COVID 19
There is no denying that the COVID19 pandemic has accelerated change in the healthcare sector. Pushing the use of technology in every facet of healthcare delivery has now reached a new level of urgency, in view of a likely prolonged pandemic scenario.
Importantly, the use of technology must not degrade the existing quality of care. In fact, it should offer superiority to existing care models. Advocating scientific evidence and accurate data analytics should form the crux of this technology push.
Retail businesses are now moving towards contactless payment methods. From Credit card wave technology to e-payment methods, this now preferred way of paying can help prevent unnecessary contact. Paper cash can be a food medium of coronavirus transmission and will no doubt be expeditiously phased out.
The registration process should also be made as contactless as possible. Be it using QR code scanning or a proprietary application, there should be little need to now queue at registration counters.
Introducing smart technologies alongside is probably wise. This can potentially remove the manual processes which can be error prone, and increase the efficiency and reliability of the processes involved.
Of course, we can’t talk about the future of healthcare without talking about telemedicine. In fact, this can be a topic by itself.
As many healthcare facilities push telemedicine to the fore, it is important to be cognizant of certain issues.
- It requires training. Many expect that healthcare facilities and professionals are well equipped to perform telemedicine. This is not true. As the doctor-patient relationship is altered through a digital medium, it may be important to recognise the limitations of this method. Training is essential to maintain patient safety.
- Preparing for contingencies. As telemedicine is rolled out, plans must be made in emergent situations. These processes must be in place and easily executed should there be a need.
- It’s part of a larger infrastructure. Telemedicine must be rolled out in tandem with other infrastructures. It can be the computer hardware and the wireless internet speed to the ability to remotely monitor these patients and reaching out where necessary. Planning ahead is important
Patient Health Records
A centralised data storage has always been the aim, in order to consolidate care between hospitals, healthcare institutions and healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, power play between software and hardware vendors and the inability to fully and seamlessness integrate has stifled this initiative.
There has to be better public – private co-operation in this. There also needs to be unprecedented partnerships between private healthcare organisations in order to create a realistic infrastructure where data sharing is more acceptable.
It may remain a distant dream. What is more realistic is to allow patients to hold their very own medical records through encrypted data that is only readable by authorised places. In this way, patients who visit different doctors at different facilities can still get good care through accurate and detailed information about their health.
COVID 19 will no doubt change the way healthcare is delivered and expedite much awaiting changes in line with existing technology. Many barriers will be broken as these changes take hold. Ultimately, it is patient safety that is the pivotal reason that one has to be careful while implementing these changes.