Future Healthcare Services and the MedTech Transition
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions compelled us all to alter our lifestyles and work habits. Long-term societal effects have occurred, the value and legacy of which will be contested for many years to come. Despite this, the epidemic compelled us to reconsider how we could maintain access to vital services in the face of difficult and disruptive conditions. As case numbers fluctuate and government policies shift, so do the pressures on every industry. However, the service that is arguably most important is healthcare, specifically how it can be provided so that all conditions can be treated as effectively as they were before the pandemic, not only in the identification and treatment of disease but also in the prevention of disease. This has presented the healthcare industry with a challenge on a scale not seen in decades, both in terms of providing high-quality treatment to patients in difficult situations and in terms of the technological innovations required to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development and widespread use of new healthcare technology, such as national and international track-and-trace systems, which will have significant long-term implications for both the healthcare system and society.
At the Forefront of Technology
Recent discourse has focused on how healthcare services, such as those provided by general practitioners (GPs), operate and interact with patients. There have been reports of community physicians telling the media that face-to-face interaction with patients is unlikely to return due to current demand. This allows the deployment of new technology to help alleviate the pressure. Fundamentally, there has been a shift towards remote visits and triage, which has decreased the burden on healthcare institutions and the risk of infection. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile and app-based technologies, wearable devices, the speed and efficiency with which public health messages are transmitted, and data analysis and interpretation are among the innovations that are revolutionizing healthcare delivery.
The latter is especially important because it enables rapid detection of changes in case numbers or spikes in case of numbers in a particular location. Predictive analytics and large-scale data processing, which utilize resources such as quantum computing, are indispensable tools for meeting this demand.
In contrast, manufacturers and healthcare providers must exercise caution before implementing widespread digital healthcare technology. Accessibility must be a top priority, yet there is still widespread skepticism regarding data security. The Digital Technology Assessment Criteria is a crucial step in ensuring that new digital resources are both safe and innovative for both staff and patients. It is uncertain how digital technologies will add value to the hospital's infrastructure, and it will take time for this to occur.
Developers of the digital healthcare technologies listed below have been working on such solutions for some time, and it is only recently that the need to implement them on a larger scale than anticipated by 2021 has emerged. Developers now have a greater responsibility to ensure that proper data security standards are in place, both in terms of the accuracy of captured patient data and the security of that data during communication between healthcare departments and the patient themselves. Cybersecurity is a major concern and developer responsibility, without which public confidence in the system could quickly erode. Developers must also ensure that the created data can be reliably shared and analyzed by collaborative healthcare teams. Numerous treatments do not necessitate the participation of a single healthcare professional, allowing for the efficient allocation of resources.
Ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to extend the reach of technologies, such as to rural populations or individuals who find complex technology interfaces difficult to use, is another significant challenge for developers. Additionally, developers must keep in mind that any new digital technology utilized by healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, must be immediately user-friendly and intuitive. To ensure patient-centered outcomes, there will also need to be procedures in place for connecting with existing hospital and healthcare service infrastructure, which will require a high level of end-user participation.
The Patient Coalition on AI, Data, and Digital Technology in Health demonstrates that progress has been made in this domain. In the post-COVID-19 era, developers of digitalization can benefit from the perspective of such a coalition, which largely reflects the patient's perspective.
Adapting to New Environments
As society has adapted to limitations and disruptions in daily life, so too have the creators of the technology on which we rely. Obviously, as a result of the pandemic, the corporate sector has witnessed a surge in the use of digital technologies, and as a result, the providers of these services must ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support this growth, either by upgrading or adding capacity. For instance, managing a massive increase in Internet traffic. In terms of the advancement of digital healthcare technologies, there will be a need for them to be fully integrated with society's preparedness for future health catastrophes. In addition, these new capabilities will have translational implications for how patients are diagnosed and treated in general, ranging from remote monitoring through wearable devices in the home to the rapid transmission of public health messages. Despite the fact that it is too soon to predict how the landscape for digital technology developers will change, rising demand will need to be met as the healthcare industry continues to adopt a digital infrastructure. Consequently, proper evaluation and regulation are required.