Medical Devices

How investing in digital health can maximize patient access to care, Health News, ET HealthWorld

by Carlos Montiel

The historic crisis has always spurred some technological benefits for the world that helps it recover and change for the better. For example, World War II enabled the adoption of the Telegraph, revolutionising long-distance communication and the Cold War advanced satellite and aerospace technology. Similarly, the pandemic has led to increased use of digital tools in almost all sectors, from banking and finance to food deliveries. However, the adoption of telemedicine and remote monitoring has revolutionised healthcare by enabling equal healthcare access for everyone. Overall, the Covid-19 crisis has allowed technology to affect the way healthcare is delivered daily.

The current pandemic has spurred the adoption of digital healthcare and telemedicine in more ways than one. Patients are increasingly more inclined to solutions that improve access to healthcare, outcomes and lower treatment and recovery costs. Similarly, many doctors now resort to remote patient monitoring and connected care solutions to avoid letting patients step out and expose themselves to the virus. Years of exposure to bad air quality and an unhealthy lifestyle has made Indians more suspectable to Covid – 19. A study conducted last year by the Radiology Department at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital found that years of exposure to bad air has caused structural changes to the lungs of Delhi-NCR residents, making them more susceptible to respiratory illnesses than residents in Bengal, Bihar, or Odisha. Telemedicine enables people in remote areas or places where access to care is challenging to manage chronic diseases. In times of the pandemic, “home-based” management is most useful in the suspect of infection-related symptoms and allows to address subjects at their comfort.

Chronic diseases such as COPD require constant monitoring, increasing risks for both patients and doctors. Hence, healthcare professionals were no stranger to telehealth offerings when COVID-19 arrived in 2020. The pandemic, however, has shown that the ability to provide remote care must now be a core skill for healthcare providers. Cloud-connected technologies and video conferencing allow patients to see the doctor virtually from anywhere and ask them questions and receive routine care, all while eliminating the need to travel or getting infected in the current scenario.

Covid-19 has proven the pressing need for a paradigm shift in terms of primary care. With the unprecedented rise in teleconsultations, telepathology, teleradiology, and e-pharmacies, India’s telemedicine market will reach $5.5 billion by 2025. Taking this trend into a dynamic post-pandemic era will depend on overcoming challenges on three fronts.

  • For healthcare technology providers, the focus must be on developing solutions that are easy to use for healthcare professionals, interoperable, trustworthy, and secure.
  • Healthcare professionals and hospitals must embrace new ways of working and be ready to invest in IT infrastructure to support more contemporary patient recovery processes.
  • Lastly, governments must strive to help infrastructure development and resolve policy blocks such as privacy and safety issues to allow data sharing opening windows for innovation.

Although remote monitoring is still somewhat of a novelty in India, citizens and doctors are gradually accepting this new healthcare pillar. At ResMed, we are committed to support the transformation of healthcare delivery and adoption of tele-monitoring solutions in India through its advanced suites of respiratory and sleep care devices. The pandemic has certainly accelerated this evolution and has helped optimize patient recovery. However, only with proper coverage and access to these modern technologies can we truly democratise healthcare and make healthcare available to all.Carlos Montiel is Vice President, Latin America & South Asia, ResMed

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly)

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