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    Healthcare Digital Transformation – How COVID-19 Influenced the Healthcare Industry

    Healthcare Digital Transformation – How COVID-19 Influenced the Healthcare Industry

    Tracy Watson


    9 min read

    digital healthcare

    A lot has been made about the latest technology making our lives easier and automating redundant, mundane processes. However, what often gets lost in the mix is that at the end of the day, it is all about people. In other words, while all of the latest technological advances made us a lot of money and simplified certain tasks, the important thing is that it benefited the customers in the end. Such digital transformations are going on across industries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is definitely benefiting the common good.   

    While technology is making a positive difference, it does not enjoy a pleasant reputation among consumers, especially AI. One of the main reasons is that this technology has advanced very rapidly, and regulations are not keeping up. In the end, we are faced with all kinds of dilemmas where AI can be of great use, yet it is sort of a gray area. This is especially true in the world of healthcare. Today we would like to share with you the latest digital healthcare innovations and how the COVID-19 virus influenced the development of new products.   

    Robotics and Telehealth are Playing a Big Role  

    When we think about digital transformation in healthcare, we usually think about some new software doctors are using or a new medical imaging machine. However, since doctors are now scrambling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, they have to do so without endangering themselves as well. This is where robotics comes in. Instead of going into the room to see the patient, a robot goes in, and the doctors operate it via an iPad from the other side of the door—this digital innovation in healthcare currently being used in hospitals in Washington and other states. In fact, the robot even has a stethoscope to take the patients’ vitals.   

    digital health industry

    However, this is not the only healthcare digital transformation making news. Doctors and researchers are now using AI to analyze datasets to get more detailed knowledge of the virus and understand how it spreads. All patient information, including x-rays and other images, are all interpreted to help flatten the curve.   

    NLP and Chatbots  

    Since the Coronavirus has caused widespread panic in almost every country around the world, people are calling hospitals and other healthcare providers in order to understand the symptoms better and obtain some general information. Unfortunately, the medical professionals trying to assist patients are being stretched thin since the demand keeps growing. One of the latest developments in the digital health industry is the increased use of chatbots and natural language processing (NLP). Companies like IBM are offering their solutions to help assist patients called the Watson Assistant for Citizen Campaign. As a result, the wait times in call centers decreased dramatically, prompting many companies to start exploring the capabilities of NLP.   

    Apple is also assisting both doctors and patients by developing a screening system where patients can answer a few questions regarding their symptoms and then be connected to a doctor, if needed, via certain apps. Not only does this allow patients to get the help they need, but it also reduces the risk of infecting others since there is no need for people to leave their homes to get medical care. This is even more important given some of the quarantine measures in place in many countries around the world.  

    digital transformation in healthcare

    Innovative Manufacturing  

    We have all heard about the lack of certain medical supplies needed to assist patients. This includes things like protective gear, ventilators, and many other things doctors and patients alike simply cannot live without. Technology comes to the rescue here again and helps fill the supply chain shortage with 3D printing. Many companies have joined in on the efforts, including Hewlett Packard, who is manufacturing swabs for testing, Dyson is helping out with the ventilators while others have helped produce protective clothing. When everybody comes together for a common goal, it really makes a difference, and the effects are being felt in hospitals around the country and the world.   

    Facilitating Fast Response  

    In 2018, IBM launched the Call for Code program, which provides funding and other assistance to researchers looking to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. This year, the program is mostly focused on assisting doctors in helping patients and finding a cure for the Coronavirus. Anybody in the world has access to open source technology to create breakthroughs that will assist with crisis communication, provide education, and anything else that will help stop the Coronavirus in its tracks.   

    digital innovation in healthcare

    Interestingly enough, the very first winner of this competition was a company called OWL, which created a solution that allows WiFi to keep working even during a disaster. They created a very complex system comprising of “clusterducks” that provide an offline communication structure and can even float if needed. This is an excellent example of the great good that can come from a unified community of developers geared towards making a difference.  

    Putting It All Together 

    What we have seen from the tech community this year is really inspiring. Everybody put aside their revenue goals for as long as the Coronavirus is running rampant and has joined in the efforts to eradicate it. Even companies whose original goals had nothing to do with creating medical products started doing so to help out. Only companies that have made a stride in their digital transformation efforts can make such a quick pivot. These are the companies that looked beyond the traditional viewpoint on a specific technology and looked for new practical applications.   

    Skywell Software has an extensive history of working in the medical field and creating products that make an impact. Now more than ever, we are doing everything we can to assist doctors and researchers in any way we can by utilizing our development experience. We always remain up to date on the latest digital health trends, and we can provide you with everything from consultations to creating innovative software solutions. We have a long history of taking seemingly impossible ideas and bringing them to life.

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