Like in America, the healthcare industry is also making shifts to adopt new, safer hospital practices in response to Covid-19. Since physical contact and proximity present such risks, hospitals are turning to a variety of digital tools in order to meet their care priorities, such as risk reduction and better resource utilization. Having a better understanding of these priorities and what tools hospitals are using now will help us in the health tech industry know what to build for them next.
At Siilo, we believe that putting tried and true technology into the hands of healthcare professionals will result in a higher quality of care for patients down the line. Here are the three major categories of care currently being aided by digital tools: distance diagnoses, internal communications, and external collaborations.
Covid-19 was not the start of the telehealth revolution, but it was certainly a major driver in its widespread adoption this year. While doctors and specialists could not and still cannot see their patients in person, that doesn’t mean people haven’t stopped needing consultations. Moving diagnoses online has been the only option to continue delivering care directly to patients.
Companies like Germany’s Klara are working to put these digital tools at the center of doctor-patient communication all across Europe. Telehealth services provide a variety of benefits: anything from patient portals, where individuals can email their doctors in a secure online environment, to mobile applications, allowing doctors to hold virtual appointments with patients via video call. They can also include the collection of health data, voluntarily given by patients, through the Internet of Things, such as smartwatches, in order to get a more holistic view of the patient’s wellbeing.
Advances in telehealth can certainly ease the burdens on healthcare professionals looking to safely diagnose their patients over digital platforms, but we need to make sure that we are providing products that prioritize data safety. That means designing for GDPR compliance incorporating key features, like passcode protection and device-only data storage.
The influx of telehealth and digital solutions for communicating with patients has also resulted in a professional counterpart for members of medical institutions, organizations, and associations all across Europe. Beyond the EHRs and secure email servers typically found in hospitals or physicians’ offices, technology is being developed to make communication by modern healthcare professionals more efficient, more secure, and more informative.
People bring their smartphones to work with them, and as such, we see professionals increasingly seeking out mobile tools and applications to simplify their workflows. In particular, professionals are looking for ways to quickly exchange information with each other and their departments at large. My company, Siilo works in this space.
This integration is not seamless, however. Bring-your-own-device policies, such as those found in Germany and France, have been put in place to limit the chances of cross-contaminating patient data and personal information, and increasing digital literacy amongst professionals can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. Nevertheless, hospitals and public health institutions should be prepared