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Telehealth after COVID-19

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

The American Medical Association carried out a routine survey in 2016 to identify the use of emerging technologies by doctors in daily practice. A follow-up survey in 2019 found a doubling in adoption of telehealth & virtual technology to 28%, and an increase in remote monitoring and management to up to 20%. The unprecedented events of COVID-19 have made telehealth the norm. However, doctors are concerned about how to optimise technologies, safeguard patient data privacy and integrate records from virtual and in-person visits. Patients are concerned about quality of care and payments for virtual care (more).

In order to get a better sense of where we all might be headed, I would recommend the following article from Philips (more) that provides a vision of the future of healthcare delivery. Their ten examples of telehealth innovation paint a very different picture of the future to the pre-COVID-19 world, including the following:

1) Screening and engaging with patients before they enter the hospital or surgery

· prevent unnecessary exposure, opportunity for online lifestyle coaching

2) Remote training around medical imaging and procedures

· webcams providing first person perspective, technical expertise available during procedures, ability to train, guide and assist colleagues in other location

3) Tele-ICUs

· high-definition cameras and telemetry allow constant monitoring of patients, predictive analytics provide alerts to deterioration

4) Wearable biosensors

· remote monitoring of chronic diseases at home, transitioning between facilities, or capturing data/providing peace of mind to high-risk mothers

5) Tele-dentistry

· sharing high resolution photos to get personalised, practical advice, allowing dentists to keep in touch with patients between visits and monitor progress

6) Virtual Care Stations (Figure 5.1)

· connected, accessible room that enables provider to visualise remotely patient’s area of concern.

Figure 5.1 – Patient consultations in a Philips Virtual Care Station

Source: Philips

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