The strategy that various countries have embraced has been interesting to watch, with South Korea and Singapore implementing advanced digital solutions in terms of contact tracing and extensive testing. In Europe, different approaches have also been utilized, with Germany incurring the highest rates of testing, the biggest number of ventilated beds, and the highest number of trained front liners to support patients. As a result, they have the lowest number of deaths.
Furthermore, it has become clearer that the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare encompasses the illness that it produces as these healthcare systems need to cope with the existence of other diseases that may or may not be communicable somehow. This poses a tremendous challenge since, in most cases, the systems are not able to manage the number of patients that need care due to COVID-19, despite the fact that sometimes there are no other existing conditions like pulmonary, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases and cancer.
The effects of the pandemic vary from country to country, although some other patterns are developing. For instance, primary care has long assured people that issues like access and care could be brought digitally, but up until today, digital implementation has not been that excellent. The goals that we have around the digital revolution have been slowly accomplished because of the slowness of the implementation itself. Additionally, history shows that there are many challenges in an aging workforce, with consumer pressure making it almost impossible for the post-COVID-19 to be the same as the pre-COVID-19 times.
Consequently, the impact of the pandemic upon digital technology in terms of the provision of healthcare remains to be significant. It is improving as quickly as the coronavirus is spreading worldwide. Hence, reflecting on this new post-COVID-19 era, these can be considered as:
It is directly related to the pandemic.
There are a lot of things to be learned from using digital technology in public health systems, from the connecting of data in laboratories to the emergence of technological solutions to do link testing in different locations, and ultimately allowing information and insights to be gathered around spread and contamination.
Telemedicine for public health emergencies has been well-organized in many countries. A central approach for healthcare surge control for those suspected with the coronavirus recommended screening patients before they go to the emergency departments. The use of digital technology around access and delivery of primary care could not be delivered appropriately. There are a lot of examples of this in the United States that are utilizing personalized online screening, some of which are working effectively, and some are not.
In truth, the success of telemedicine depends really on our imagination, from bringing better answers in terms of disaster planning to the primary care of suspected patients by communicating with them online and face-to-face, regardless of their location.
Caused By The Pandemic
The world after COVID-19 is most likely a time when the care of various medical interactions, such as the delivery of primary care or the treatment or non-infectious diseases, shifted to digital approaches as the main variable instead of being the exemption. This new era would also probably allow other types of technology, like artificial intelligence and the power of 5G, to unite on a whole different level. We see this reality at speed we could not have imagined. In the United Kingdom, primary care has now begun to utilize telehealth and has adopted a digital priority approach as a way of dealing with care appropriately. This was only something of a theory a few weeks ago before the virus hit.
There is still so much that needs to be done. The government has to incorporate the implementation of these modalities and include a strong clinical support team. The scope and scale of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus are changing. Digital transformation is seen to be beneficial and must be continued and improved further. Another relevant change that is now growing is the implementation of precision health in both predictive and personalized public health and in utilizing digital technology in encouraging people to self-manage non-infectious diseases.
Finally, we all must understand that this post-COVID-19 world will look different from the previous world that we have gotten used to. Our hope is that by embracing these digital modalities in primary care, we will be close to achieving our goal of delivering better healthcare to everyone across the globe.