COVID-19 has changed the world. Nations across the globe have seen their economies and societies brought to a standstill as governments struggle to contain an invisible enemy, a virulent aggressor the likes of which haven’t been seen for centuries. The virus has changed how we interact with each other, how we plan our days, and how we think about the world. In short, COVID-19 has changed everything.
Not surprisingly, few industries have been as intensely impacted as healthcare. The hospitals of the world have been inundated with patients, and the avalanche of the infected has shone a bright light on the outdated nature of how healthcare is organized and done. The technological revolution that has been slowly brewing over the years has now gone into overdrive, as countries embrace big data and technology in the hope of overcoming the obstacles of patient treatment during the pandemic, as well as preventing history from repeating itself once more in the future.
The use of artificial intelligence and increased awareness of data analytics and data management are not new things in healthcare. This is an industry defined by change, a world that is always on the lookout for better ways to treat patients. Despite this, there has been a reticence to fully embrace analytics and data when it comes to leading the fight against disease, but 2020 has exacerbated the need for change.
Hospitals need data
Healthcare has always been about development, and now that evolution is based around technology. COVID-19 has led to hospitals facing the struggles of over-capacity, tracking staff safety and fatigue, as well as the need to make immediate decisions and take immediate action, often a matter of life and death. In such circumstances, data is everything. As many have said, big data is the new gold, the new blood.
As such, centers of healthcare are no strangers to technology specifically designed to generate data, be it detailed electronic health records or even better maintenance on the various machines in the hospital. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of being able to utilize data effectively and efficiently.
One of the biggest challenges humanity has faced during the pandemic is the need for social distancing. This has also thrown up plenty of difficulties for the healthcare industry, as the physical examination has long been the central way of making a diagnosis. An increasing reliance on data management and medical technology has changed this, with greater confidence in telemedicine and all the benefits it can provide, with teleconsultation thought to be up anywhere between 300 and 500%. Doctors now have more access to patient statistics than ever before and are able to identify patterns and potential high-risk cases at an earlier stage.
More efficient data for every individual also leads to a much more efficient form of diagnosis and prescription, with each patient being prescribed the specific medicine for their case and context, rather than one medicine for every disease. Big data is helping to bring to an end the era of one size fits all healthcare, and it can all be done over the phone.
EHRs in real-time
It is the availability and abundance of individualized data that has seen the biggest development in modern healthcare, something that has been exacerbated during the pandemic. Patients now have electronic health records containing their own history, their own records, covering everything from test results to allergies and everything in between. The COVID-19 virus has affected people on a minute-by-minute basis, and the importance of time saved by having this data at hand is impossible to overstate.
Many aspects of data analytics in hospitals also come with real-time alerting software that can analyze medical data on the spot and provide the best course of action for every individual patient. The real-time changes that the data brings up has also allowed medical professionals to be able to monitor and evaluate the short term impact of COVID-19. Health AI has never been more sophisticated, becoming more trustworthy in the process. Big data and data management has given healthcare a head start when it comes to combating this new virus.
Robotics saving lives
The virility of COVID-19 hasn’t just changed the way we go to the doctors and the hospital; it has changed the way things happen inside those very same institutions. With physical contact to be kept to an absolute minimum, artificial intelligence and robotics have been thrust to the fore. Robots are being used in a wider variety of ways than ever before, as healthcare looks to reduce the number of bodies in place at any time.
Whether it is simple tasks like taking temperatures or blood or even more intricate needs such as decontaminating hospitals, robotics have never been more in-demand in healthcare. Robots are providing contact-free alternatives but also convincing more people of how important continual development is. The medical technology developed today will help stop the pandemics of tomorrow.
HTEC at the forefront
HTEC is committed to harnessing technology to provide solutions that answer the pressing challenges of today, and the pandemic has either created or amplified a number of said challenges. We are defined by our ability to innovate, think fast, and deliver in high-paced situations. From data-driven rapid COVID-19 testing to the application of machine learning in medical data analytics and beyond, we are eager to utilize our technical expertise and our innovative drive to engineer a better and healthier tomorrow.
2020 has taught the world plenty, but few lessons will prove to be as vital as that of the importance of data management, of embracing big data and artificial intelligence. Healthcare needs the insights provided by efficient data analytics and AI, to both provide the best possible care to the patients of today and help temper the damage caused by the pandemics of tomorrow.