Most have never lived through a global pandemic like the one sweeping through many countries right now. The experience has left an indelible imprint on society, one that challenges people to change the way they do business. The lessons learned from the coronavirus experience come into sharp focus as considerations for a thriving and prosperous health tech industry.
As the world community continues to battle the terrible consequences of the novel virus, it's clear that both the government and financial sectors have learned to manage from past experiences. Events like the 1930's Great Depression and the 1980's Recession have created opportunities for learning how to manage social, economic, and financial crises. Still, it's crucial to develop a similar commitment to bring technology to the health sector.
Implementing telehealth en masse is one example of how health-tech can provide an essential venue for managing health care needs in complex situations – like a pandemic. More significant support for growth in the telehealth sector and quicker adoption by both providers and patients can ease demand and save money. But for this to happen, an overarching strategy and investment commitment must be made – preferably at the Australian government level.
If this current health crisis proves anything, it should be that the digital health sector can ensure Australian clinicians are a leading provider in the Asia-Pacific region. Virtual care is lighting the way through COVID-19 panic and uncertainty and easing the burden on overtaxed health systems and their patients. Those responding to the crisis are becoming increasingly aware of how leveraging tech solutions and services for patient engagement, research initiatives, and critical communications is necessary for managing extreme events.
Using these technologies, healthcare workers will be able to see patients from the safety of their own homes, access health records remotely, and collaborate with co-workers online. The other half of the equation is, of course, the patient. As digital health tools, cloud-based practice, and clinical management systems come online, it's essential to be transparent with patients about the process. When they are ill, people want to know they are being attended to and well-cared by their healthcare team.
With more smartphone apps, wearable devices, and other remote monitoring instruments, it will be possible to diagnose, track, regulate, and monitor people’s health status and adherence to therapies. In addition to these abilities and others, it will be possible to potentially detect outbreaks and/or map the contagion’s spread.
Australia’s healthcare is world-renowned for its clinical expertise and patient care. For it to continue to evolve, the system will need a health tech strategy moving forward - one that ensures the continued growth and incorporation of these innovations into practice.