Corona Virus and impact on Healthcare

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Corona Virus and impact on Healthcare

In this blog post, we discuss the corona virus impact, draw parallels to other historic events which became the catalyst for societal change and try and provide a prediction on what this means for the healthcare Industry.

Learn more about how you can gear up your practice to improve patient volume during the corona virus crisis.

Corona Virus and Impact on Healthcare

Large scale crisis are established change catalysts

For a lot of us, Corona virus crisis is nothing we have experienced before. When thinking about other major events, the 2007 home financial crisis comes to mind – which changed the way we buy homes or 9/11 – which had a lasting impact on how we travel and what security means to us as citizens.

A viral pandemic that keeps us contained in our homes—maybe for months—is already reorienting our relationship to the outside world, even with our own family members. Some changes we expect to see in the coming months or years might feel unfamiliar or unsettling: Will nations stay closed? Will touch become taboo? What will become of restaurants? Will telemedicine gain popularity?

But crisis moments also present opportunity: more sophisticated and flexible use of technology, less polarization, a revived appreciation for the outdoors and life’s other simple pleasures.

Corona virus and impact on healthcare

A quick history lesson about the Renaissance – that cultural, political, scientific and intellectual explosion in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. We all know the impact and how it changed intellectual advancement. But did you know the start of the Renaissance coincided with the Black Death plague? Between 1346 and 1353 – this epidemic that wiped out millions, which made a fertile ground for change to spread.

What does The Renaissance have to do with Corona Virus?

What is it about the impending doom spelt for humanity that makes us change our perspective. I wonder.

Ok, so getting back to our current situation – No one knows exactly what will come, but here is our best attempt to the how we think healthcare is going to change for us in 2020 and beyond.

Corona Virus and Impact on Healthcare

Telemedicine will be forced on people

We are bullish on Telemedicine in general. I personally think that once people are forced to change to telemedicine due to safety and containment reasons, many will start seeing the benefits it offers, the convenience it provides. I expect telemedicine to start replacing regular health visits for a lot of people even after the crisis is resolved.

In addition, I feel the following technologies will lay the foundation for Telemedicine 2.0 – Bigger, better, faster and a much more accepted version of telehealth which will change our world forever.

Corona Virus and Impact on Healthcare

Remote Consultation

The movie Star Wars Episode I: (The Phantom Menace) may not be a fan-favorite, but in one scene-  Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin takes a blood sample from the young Anakin Skywalker and sends it back to his ship remotely to be tested. While we likely have a long way to go before we can send physical organic samples over the Internet, doctors can currently gather and analyze data remotely. The use of tools like remote stethoscopes, otoscopes and other remote medical hardware combined with the innate communication potential of the Internet means that doctors can gather important clinical data on patients even when they aren’t in the same room.

Digital pathology has been disrupting the way pathology samples are collected and analyzed.

It is not difficult to foresee a network of “stores” which collect data, samples, diagnostics from patients. That data is aggregated, analyzed over the cloud using powerful compute engines and intelligent algorithms. They are then aided by specialist doctors who provide an oversight. A very futuristic system, like from a sci-fi movie – Fifth Element anyone?

Corona Virus and Impact on Healthcare

Remote Robotic Surgery

Okay, I know. One doctor conducting robotic surgery does not make it mainstream even if it the technology was developed to aid doctors to perform surgeries on astronauts.

The first true and complete remote surgery was conducted on 7 September 2001 across the Atlantic Ocean, with French surgeon (Dr. Jacques Marescaux) in New York City performing a cholecystectomy on a 68-year-old female patient 6,230 km away in Strasbourg, France. It was named Operation Lindbergh, after Charles Lindbergh’s pioneering transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. France Telecom provided the redundant fiberoptic ATM lines to minimize latency and optimize connectivity, and Computer Motion provided a modified Zeus robotic system. After clinical evaluation of the complete solution in July 2001, the human operation was successfully completed on 9/7/2001.

Corona Virus and Impact on Healthcare

Remote Medication Management

Could a medical robot administer the right medication for patients. I don’t think it too far fetched, even though it may remind you of a scene from the medical bay in The Expanse or a scene from Star Wars V – Empire strikes back.

A new program called the Sedasys was designed to help surgeons and anesthesiologists more efficiently manage patients’ sedatives during an operation. It took the form of a computer with an attached IV needle, which the surgeon can tell to administer small, moderate or large doses of anesthesia to patients. J&J had to pull the plug on the system in 2016 – perhaps a product ahead of its time, but I do see a place for systems like these and how they will alter telemedicine. There are already companies and resources invested by large technology corporations like Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google) in developing these technologies. Not too far fetched to think they will be mainstream one day.

Conclusion

I think corona virus will usher in the future of healthcare vision that we see in science fiction much faster. It is perhaps the catalyst we needed as a society to break away from the traditional and how its always been done. The rate of adoption is anyone’s guess at this point, but I foresee a dramatic explosion in adoption.

I also think this will lay the ground for bringing in disruption in providing care and merging the promise of digital with the personalized aspect of delivering care to patients.

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