It’s safe to say that the world has changed in many ways in just over a year. Depending on how we’re looking at things, these changes were both for the better and the worse. While the past year has undoubtedly been a difficult one, the silver lining is that modern medicine has evolved at an accelerated pace.
A vaccine against the coronavirus was put in circulation in less than 12 months, which many consider to be one of the greatest achievements in healthcare history. During the initial weeks of the pandemic back in 2020, it’s no secret that many healthcare institutions weren’t as prepared as they should have been, but looking at the virus’ unpredictability, this is now somewhat understandable.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 not only incapacitated cities and countries all around the world, but healthcare systems, as well. Thankfully, with the help of digital healthcare technology, things started to bounce back pretty quickly. Streamlining medical processes and offering better treatment for patients was a key goal in the fight against this virus.
COVID-19 accelerated the use of digital health technology tools
Many healthcare institutions leveraged a multitude of digital healthcare services to have a fair fighting chance against COVID-19. This helped alleviate some of the pressure doctors were facing and helped medical staff tackle challenging cases and situations. AI, telemedicine, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and blockchain technology, just to name a few, were great sources of aid for healthcare professionals. These technologies didn’t revolutionize medicine, but they surely propelled the rate at which medicine is evolving.
Moreover, many new and improvised medical facilities started popping up, and these facilities desperately needed digital tools and a safe network infrastructure to function properly. Mobile devices, apps and wearables also played a huge part in dealing with certain medical situations, including improving treatments and prevention. Receiving key healthcare information over the phone, and real-time monitoring of a patient’s well-being thanks to wearables became essential in a time with limited in-person contact. Telemedicine also played a huge role in the fight against COVID.
The use of mobile digital apps surged during the pandemic, and according to a report by App Annie, overall app usage surged 40% year-over-year in Q2 2020. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) reported that their app usage surged 111%, as more and more citizens used the app for prescription requests, among other things.
Governments and health care organizations turned to transformative technology in these dire times to have a fair fight against this life-threatening virus. Everything from mobile apps to blockchain technology, chatbots and AI epidemiology modeling were used and leveraged. Here at SMEDIX, we decided to share the top 3 most important technologies that are still playing key roles when it comes to slowing down the spread of the virus.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has been mainly used to detect and identify whether people have been infected with the new coronavirus. Wearables, for example, have implemented sensors that monitor body temperature, which is a very helpful way to assess if someone is feverish. AI technology also has the capability to process vast amounts of unstructured data from multiple sources, helping predict new cases in certain areas, as well as optimize strategies for controlling the spread.
Due to the high transmission rate of COVID-19, especially within hospitals and other medical facilities, doctors had to come up with an alternative way of treating non-life-threatening diseases. With the help of telemedicine, doctors were now able to treat mild illnesses and do regular check-ups via phone or video calls, thanks to apps such as Skype, Zoom or Google Meet. This method is still limiting the spread of the disease, and it’s safe to say that telemedicine will continue to be highly used even after the pandemic is over.
3. Drones and robots
Although not as widely used as the above mentioned, drones and robots help slow the spread of the virus, but in different ways. Robots, for example, can disinfect and decontaminate hospitals, as well as deliver medicine and food for patients, allowing nurses to attend to more urgent matters. Drones, on the other hand, are used to monitor quarantine measures and for aerial broadcasting, as well as to deliver medical supplies in infected areas. The use of drones and robots for medical purposes will continue to grow, ensuring elevated safety and care.
Even though COVID-19 is still here, we came a long way in terms of keeping the virus at bay. Physicians and healthcare professionals worked tirelessly to ensure better care for patients, and some procedures wouldn’t have been possible without the help of technology. Nonetheless, healthcare digitization is a complicated process, and most of the time you need experts with proven track records to provide you with the software that you need.
We’re a team of passionate professionals who strive to improve the lives of millions by streamlining medical processes with the help of personalized technology. Even though we can’t build robots and drones for you, we can implement services that will improve your healthcare facility, hospital or medical cabinet.
We are always focused on innovation, and we use resourceful techniques and strategies to bring you the best products possible, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Our mission is to accelerate innovation in healthcare through genuine partnerships that allow us to create custom and high-quality products to improve lives.