Image Source: Patient Engagement
The COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in millions of deaths and hospitalizations. It has brought socio-economic upheavals and other changes in the past year. And, the race is still on towards creating more effective vaccines. But, the best defense lies in basic public health measures. These include mass physical distancing and personal hygiene.
Yet, these are not the only “old-fashioned” responses to the pandemic. Even before the outbreak, digital health technologies were already used to augment healthcare. These technologies were also employed to meet the pandemic’s most pressing needs. Countries and health commissions implemented and called for the use of digital solutions. Private companies were also involved to broaden service coverage as the outbreak continues.
Below are two of the most urgent needs addressed by these digital health solutions:
Previous outbreaks have shown how people with treatable conditions suffered more. This was because the healthcare system’s capacity could not meet urgent healthcare demands. The same is true for the CoViD-19 pandemic.
Some healthcare services have closed due to capacity and safety concerns. Physical distancing is making hospital and pharmacy trips quite difficult. The worse thing is people with chronic diseases are at greater risk of infection. As such, patients are now terrified to have their routine checkups or to buy medicines.
Health authorities immediately saw these problems and responded to them. They started to promote online consultation services. They also helped refurbish privately-owned telemedicine platforms and prepared public hospitals for them. As a result, the barriers to getting medical prescriptions have become a thing of the past. The same goes for filling out these prescriptions. This was even made more convenient by such online tools as the USA Rx digital health marketplace. As they provide online access to cheaper medication, they also present more choices.
Teleconsultations also provided much-needed support for mental health. This, as online platforms rolled out comprehensive and accessible support for everyone. These included healthcare workers, who bore some of the brunts of the pandemic’s toll.
Digital health continues to provide data-driven technologies to help with the pandemic. These allow for faster responses to contact tracing and testing.
In China, an application is being used for contact tracing. Evidence of its efficacy came after the collection of data from all sources. The app helped in more than 140 searches three weeks after the Wuhan lockdown. It has helped in the contact tracing of over 80,000 travelers.
Another digital health app is being used now to improve diagnostic accuracy. It is also helping with the availability and effectiveness of testing. AI-powered CT imaging interpretation tools are helping radiologists and patients with CT readings. This helps reduce the risk of transmission, especially in diagnostic areas.
Other places recommend an application to balance the re-opening of the economy. They recently launched a traffic-light-styled health code. A person gets an assigned color (red, amber, and green) based on their health status. It has become a health permit to screen migrants for inter-provincial/regional travels. With millions of registrations, it is helping authorities trace transmissions.
The digital health marketplace still has so much to offer for CoViD-19. Innovations to technologies remain crucial as the world continues to battle the virus. Plus, there is also the fact that CoViD’s mutations and changes in patterns continue. So, everyone remains on heightened alert until this outbreak ends.