The healthcare sector has been at the forefront of the pandemic response. Health care providers have earned rich accolades for their heroic deeds in mitigating the impact of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 has necessitated digital transformation in an unprecedented way. Before the onset of this pandemic, healthcare institutions were awake to the need for digitalization. However, the pace at which these initiatives were being approached was too sluggish.
The Role of IT in Digital Healthcare
Information Technology (IT) is going to play a leading role in digitalizing healthcare. IT will serve as the binding factor between so many important, yet disparate functions that combine to deliver quality healthcare to a citizen.
Below are a few key features of a digitalized healthcare system which the providers need to visualize and endeavor to achieve.
Virtual Patient Care
After the pandemic, the number of patients availing telehealth facilities has skyrocketed by a factor of 50 to 175 times. As the number of patients desirous of telehealth increased, the IT infrastructure of hospitals was simply not equipped to handle this burden.
So, a virtual patient care system will be the basic building block of a digitized healthcare mechanism. Setting up such a system will involve a revamp of the entire organizational, clinical and financial processes that are currently being used by healthcare providers.
Lets highlight a few key components of an effective virtual patient care ecosystem.
Integration with Electronic Health Records
A medical consultant or physician will need to have seamless access to electronic health records of his patients availing telehealth facility. This will enable the healthcare professional to paint an informed picture of the patient being treated remotely.
Defining Clinical Protocols
The telehealth system cannot function in a vacuum. So, this facet of healthcare will also require defining proper clinical protocols and standard operating procedures (SOP). Only then would there be a proper track, assessment and accountability of this facility.
Reimbursements & Insurance Claims etc.
The telehealth system will also need proper financial integration to work smoothly over the long term. So, telehealth providers will have to devise a proper mechanism for receiving the proceeds from patients availing this facility.
Patients will belong to a wide range of categories. Some of them would directly be paying for consultation fees and medicine bills, while others may have elaborate insurance plans in place that would then reimburse the telehealth provider.
Regardless of that, there would be a need to setup efficient, secure and transparent financial settlement mechanisms for telehealth facilities. Then, a proper system would be required to compensate the telehealth provider such as a hospital, consultant or physician.
Telehealth is a new technology for all stakeholders, whether its consultants, physicians, pharmacists or patients themselves. So, healthcare providers will need to initiate awareness programs aimed at each of the above segment of end users.
By availing awareness sessions, each stakeholder or user will be able to avail the telehealth ecosystem in a seamless and efficient manner. A positive word of mouth and feedback will result in more people turning towards telehealth.
The Role of Cloud in Telehealth
As pointed out earlier, the IT infrastructures of most healthcare providers were not designed and equipped to deliver mass telehealth. Secondly, the in-house IT teams of most healthcare providers lacked the capacity to develop in-house telehealth systems.
So, this is where the Cloud comes into the picture. The public cloud emerged as the perfect enabler for reliable, secure, compliant, affordable and most importantly, instantly scalable telehealth solutions during the pandemic.
Healthcare providers were able to readily avail the state of the art Cloud Infrastructures of Public Cloud Service Providers (CSP) like dinCloud. Cloud providers have also delivered well on the promises of robust cyber security and improved regulatory compliance.
This puts healthcare providers in a much better position to avail the public Cloud for telehealth solutions across USA and elsewhere. The promising results emerging from the healthcare sector so far are painting a bright outlook for cloud based telehealth.
Like many other facets of our lives, healthcare is also evolving massively in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This crisis was effectively used by the healthcare sector as an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of telehealth platforms.
If you are a healthcare provider and desire a reliable, secure, robust and cost efficient telehealth solution, you must give dinCloud’s services a shot!