The national health crisis had to finally burst out as the healthcare system stays far away from being efficient and organized. While the Covid-19 drains the resources of the hospitals and medical facilities all over the world, we wonder what the post-pandemic future of the healthcare industry will look like. Once the pandemic is over, we should expect some major changes to occur in this sector.
Lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic
In the article about medical apps of 2019, we mentioned mobile health research on the adoption of medical apps in the U.S hospitals. At that time, only 3% of medical facilities were using such solutions on a daily basis. We could hear about a plan to build software for the healthcare industry that would finally revolutionize this sector. But the scale of adoption of the digital healthcare solutions wasn’t big enough as well as the level of engagement coming from the medical staff. The current Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the actions as people noticed how much we really need to modernize the healthcare industry. Especially in times when we simply can’t go to one of the medical facilities without risking our own health.
Post-pandemic future of the healthcare industry
What we can expect is the rise of Doctor On-Demand healthcare mobile apps. The concept was brought up long before the pandemic but now gained the needed consideration. Doctor On Demand apps provide patients with access to online medical care whenever and wherever they need it. They can request a doctor’s appointment via an online chat or a video call. This way they can receive professional help through so-called teleconsulting without the need to go out and wait in one of the medical facilities. Doctor On Demand apps are not just about teleconsulting but about creating an online platform where patients have access to all their medical history, hospital visits, past illnesses and prescriptions. It’s the most convenient approach to both sides and is already on the market.
Doctor On Demand apps that you can use already
The rate of investments in on-demand healthcare solutions has greatly increased in the past few years. In 2018 alone, the total number of deals closed in the on-demand healthcare industry was 50 which stands for a total investment of $1.4 billion. Among the top on-demand healthcare startups, we have Amwell, Doctor on demand, or 2nd.md. All of the on-demand healthcare solutions provide online medical care in the form of video calls with doctors of different specialties. Physicians, physiotherapists, psychologists, and many others are waiting to provide you with a second opinion on your health status. When it comes to recent solutions in digital medical care, there is also Babylon Health which is the Covid-19 Care Assistant app that helps Coronavirus patients monitor their symptoms and consult with GPs by video.
Benefits of on-demand healthcare solutions
Doctor On Demand apps benefit both sides as they reduce the total healthcare costs as well as the rate of hospitalization. Patients are less likely to go to urgent health clinics when they can hear their diagnoses through an online appointment. This way there is more place in hospitals for patients who really need advanced medical care. Also, the medical staff is not overburdened with too many occupied beds. On-demand healthcare makes patients aren’t dependent on one medical facility and can easily exchange information with doctors. The level of convenience and faster service that healthcare mobile apps offer, significantly outperform what we have now.
EMR and Blockchain technology
Next to on-demand solutions, there is the implementation of EMR using blockchain technology. EMR stands for Electronic Medical Records and it’s a digital version of patients’ medical history. It includes information such as diagnosis, prognosis, demographics, prescribed medication, and much more.
Blockchain is a distributed database managed by multiple computers at the same time. The computers don’t belong to any individual, company, or government organization. What’s more, each block of data is fully secured by being bound to another using cryptography. This way the information is shareable and can be expanded but it can’t be copied, modified, or deleted.
Here’s why blockchain-based health records is another trend we can expect in the post-pandemic future of the healthcare industry. The technology will soon solve all the problems with administration and medical data management. The combination ensures data are updated and constantly secured. The system also reduces time required to access a patient’s information and improves the quality of medical services.
Treating with Virtual Reality
Something that we considered a source of distraction, turned out to have a therapeutic effect and the potential to treat serious health conditions. VR technology has already proven to be effective in treating postoperative and chronic pain, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. A study by Samsung showed that VR helps reduce pain by 52%. Virtual Reality has also been used by doctors to practice complicated surgeries and improve their skills. Adopting VR into more hospitals would greatly increase the level of medical care provided by the institutions. In fact, the estimation is that the healthcare VR and AR market will reach $5.1 billion by 2025.
Big data collects information relevant to the business through channels such as social media or online transactions and use them to predict future trends. The technology can provide the healthcare industry with predictive analysis about admission rates. Big data can identify the risk of having too many emergency cases and help health institutions properly staff their facilities. What’s more, the technology can be used to minimize the risk of medication errors. Through patient records analysis, big data can compare the patient’s health status with the prescribed drugs and alert doctors about health-threatening situations. Adopting big data technology, healthcare companies can organize their data and better understand the market and its future demands.
Challenge for medical apps developers
Hospitals and medical facilities need to be modernized in order to be ready for situations like the pandemic. Healthcare mobile apps are helpful but what we really need is dedicated software for the healthcare industry. And although it’s a much bigger quest, it’s the one we should think of right now. Medical apps developers should build a system for patient and document management to improve the organization within hospitals and provide them with their own digital database.
The main challenge for medical apps developers in building such solutions is to define the end user’s needs and ensure data security. We are talking about thousands of peoples’ private medical histories and personal information that need to be fully secured. Also, when it comes to online healthcare solutions, medical apps developers have to take care of advice verification. To ensure the consultations and medical opinions are given only by qualified general practitioners.
The healthcare industry disruption evoked by the Covid-19 pandemic only stressed out the need for modern technology in this sector. We believe the post-pandemic future of the healthcare industry will bring more innovation with the help of medical apps developers. Even though doctor on-demand apps or digital healthcare solutions are extremely helpful, up to this day, we can’t say they are widely used across all hospitals. But that will soon change.