Jul 30, 2021
Innovation in a Post-Pandemic World: What We Have Taught Ourselves
Daniel Thibodeau MHP, PA-C
So much has changed since January of this year. By now, most states are working to get back to some sense of normalcy while hospitals and healthcare systems are trying to recover from one of history's (and present day's) most memorable health events. As we look back at our systems, we can easily define the many challenges we faced, though some of these were not quite as obvious at the time. However, we can also look forward to how we can begin capitalizing on the many advances we have made and the opportunities they present.
A white paper published in Becker's Hospital Review highlighted some of the big healthcare technology advances. Health information technology (IT) has never been more of a hot topic within the industry, and it seems we are only scratching the surface. Advances came in many forms, such as:
- Predictive analysis: Throughout the pandemic, we needed to understand what trends were happening and where. Technologies like predictive analysis will continue to help us stay on top of future diseases and epidemics.
- Digital front door: Our ability to connect with patients and providers was stretched with the shutting down of the economy. As we rolled into the pandemic, many healthcare organizations learned on the fly how to develop new ways to connect with patients. In turn, patients had to learn a whole new way to communicate with a massive healthcare system. This will continue to develop in the coming years. Patient portals and information dissemination will be key in this new field.
- Telehealth and 5G: Telemedicine will allow patients to receive care in in a more timely manner—and without the hassle of traveling to the clinic. Federal dollars will pour into this area of health IT, and each year we will see continual improvements.
- Wearable technology: Smart watches, smart phones, implantable devices, and external monitoring devices are growing at a fast pace. Data collection will pose some challenges on what 'real data' look like, but this growing field will give practitioners and patients new technologies for symptom recording, monitoring, and evaluation.
As PAs and NPs, we must adapt to these cutting-edge technologies to ensure we are keeping pace. It is imperative that we continue to remain active players as these developments become more prominent in medicine.