What a year… 2020 was without a doubt a hard year for all of us. We had to adapt to the “new” normal and change the way in which we did everything. As I mentioned in my presentation, the health care industry has been changing slowly throughout the past years, but during the pandemic the shift to digital transformation accelerated and has been very beneficial to the general public as more options for treatment on demand.
Telemedicine and connected health platforms are ways in which healthcare has become more digital and accessible. There is an increase in demand for on-demand, more flexible healthcare solutions. These options use existent technologies such as video calls and messaging to provide medical services. Connected health is a platform in which a patient, a nurse/doctor and medical equipment are connected. This technology allows doctors and nurses to monitor and support their patients while doing medical treatments at home.
Prescription delivery services are other ways the healthcare industry is changing. Services like PillPak from Amazon and Capsule are a few of the online pharmacies that have been created and gain momentum because of the pandemic. PillPak has a lot of added benefits other than delivering for free to your door, they separate the prescription into daily doses and provide the date and time you should take them. This is a great benefit for the patient and for their care givers, as it saves time and provides guidance on when to take them.
Services like Firefly Health, which is accessible by phone app provides on demand access to a care team of primary care doctors, behavioral health specialists, health guides, and specialists. The mission of this platform is to change care for the better, and they are doing this by providing the users with continuous access to their health data. You are able to book an appointment for the same day, something that is virtually impossible in the current health systems.
Firefly health came up with another offering, creating a program called “Return to Work” to monitor employee’s health. This service provides constant monitoring through daily screenings and combines it with access to their care team through their mobile technology model.
In late 2019, with the push by the government to push medical treatments at home, for example by setting the goal of 80% of new end stage kidney disease patients to treat at home or have a transplant by 2025 technology goals. It motivated companies to look into ways to improve and change the way treatments are made at home.
Medical systems geared towards the treatment of chronic kidney failure like the System One with Nx2me connected health platform from Fresenius Medical Care and the Tablo system from Outset Medical are finding ways to improve the connectivity between patients and care team. The tablo system is an easy to learn and use system that reduces training time and guides the user through their treatment. The system is connected through a 2 way wireless data transfer to the HIPAA approved cloud based monitoring and reporting platform. These systems are the beginning of what can change the way chronic diseases are treated and provide more flexibility to patients and allow them to have more control of their health and treatments.
Through the crazy times last year, the healthcare industry made leaps in their digital transformation process. Investments for development in new technologies will continue to grow and improve patient experience while also minimizing costs for providers. I believe projects to leverage existing technologies to improve the way we interact and receive health care will continue to expand. On demand access to a doctor through telemedicine will be normalized, especially for non urgent situations. As well as companies will re-imagine how to treat chronic illnesses that require constant treatment and follow up will be moved to the comfort of patients home.
Would you embrace digital changes in the way you get health care?