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
· 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
· 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