Henry Mintzberg, Canadian author and academic, once said, “Corporations are social institutions. If they don’t serve society, they have no business existing.” To serve society implies to keep it safe and healthy. However, the dramatic collapse of major economies was inevitable. The UK is experiencing its first recession in 11 years, India might have a similar fate, with the GDP falling by a significant 23.9%. Whether it’s through telemedicine, remote monitoring, or workforce management, this blog will look at how businesses can get back on their feet. Technology has played a huge role in enabling individuals and organizations to rapidly adapt to our new COVID world. Many countries have developed tools to ensure public-health safety measures are being disseminated and implemented. Technology is enabling people to be more in control of their own health and less dependent on medical professionals. Healthtech will help in identifying the illness, treatment options, leading to increased access to medical information, and improved quality of life.
The pandemic instilled fears that one would have not previously thought of – What if seeking medical help would lead to more health complications? Although laden with skepticism at first, the overburdening of the healthcare system due to the Coronavirus led to the rise in telemedicine all over the world. Moreover, research shows that more than 80% of doctors expect telehealth at the same or greater level than they do now.1
In India, on the same day as the nation-wide lockdown began, the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines were issued, making it legal for registered medical practitioners to provide healthcare services using digital technologies, such as chat, audio, and video for a diagnosis. A recent report2 found that at least 50 million Indians opted for online healthcare during the pandemic, out of which 80% were first-time telemedicine users. Moreover, 44% of these users were from non-metro cities. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, India could save up to $10 billion by 2025, if telemedicine services could replace 30-40 percent of in-person consultations.3
Taking this opportunity, many healthtech organizations and experts voluntarily created an app for free teleconsultation. One such app is SWASTH – An effective telemedicine platform for quality COVID related healthcare access in India. It has over 2,000 registered doctors on its database, which can provide audio/video teleconsultation; other features include the listing of fever clinics, order medicines online, multiple languages, etc.
IoMT | Wearable Devices
Like telemedicine, another tech solution that can complement and enable well-being from a distance are connected wearable health devices and remote patient monitoring (RPM) technologies. Apart from the cases where hospital readmissions are critical, it was found that the medicare industry spends an estimated $17 billion a year on avoidable readmissions that can be mitigated by early detection, intervention, and better at-home care.4
Behind all of this is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which will allow cloud-connected medical devices for improved patient compliance, detecting device failures before they become critical, and collecting data for more personalized therapy.5 As internet penetration increases around the world, and wireless capabilities and computing power improve, many IoMT devices are changing the healthcare landscape. With the ability to track and prevent chronic illnesses, connected devices will be able to collect, analyze, and transmit health data for both patients and healthcare professionals.
COVID’s impact on businesses has been insurmountable and transitioning to a post-COVID-era will require relying heavily on digital technologies, for self-assessment, contact tracing, and syndromic surveillance. Initially, there was a false trade-off between the economy and the virus. However, it was never a debate – for the economies to regain their momentum, the Coronavirus has to be defeated. The world can’t come to a standstill; and although remote working is encouraged and has become the “new normal”, many organizations are eagerly waiting for things to settle down to resume work in a staggered manner.
As organizations resume their operations, ensuring the well-being of their employees is going to be their priority. Technology can play a role to effectively manage the workforce while complying with all the Government protocols. One such innovation from HashedIn Technologies, called Heed, is a platform that is allowing corporations to get back on their feet, despite the ongoing pandemic. Some of its unique features include, contact tracing, employee self-assessment, alerts, employee/visitor rostering and access, security, cloud syncing, etc.
Healthtech is here to stay
As Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy-Secretary-General said, there is no exit strategy until the vaccine is found.6 However, innovation in the healthtech space is enabling us to contain the virus and assuring us that we will be better equipped to adapt and fight off a health crisis at such a scale through technology. The accelerated adoption of digitization in the healthcare sector has helped us to cope with the repercussions of COVID. Healthtech has not only reduced the impact of the pandemic but has also increased access, bridging the urban and rural healthcare divide, while improving personalized patient care. Healthtech solutions are here to stay, long after the world has recovered from this pandemic.