The new healthcare technologies taking on COVID-19
For healthcare providers, one of the keys to success during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the swift adoption of new digital health tools and technologies.
New healthcare technologies have played a major role in managing patients’ health since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. From big data and remote monitoring to online healthcare options, here are some of the technological advances that have helped medical professionals maintain quality of care during this uniquely challenging year.
Many healthcare providers have used predictive analytics to monitor patients’ risk of contracting COVID-19. Others have used environmental data to forecast outbreaks—the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for instance, created a model that tracks temperature and humidity, since case numbers tend to increase in warmer weather. Being prepared for potential outbreaks has ensured that medical facilities do not get overwhelmed during peaks in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Digital contact tracing
Digital technologies have also helped control the spread of COVID-19. Apple and Google, for instance, developed a Bluetooth contact tracing app that tracks cases and notifies users if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive. New York City has instituted its own contact tracing program, while the Mayo Clinic created a tool that monitors their staff members’ risk of exposure. With all of these technologies, the key has been maintaining users’ privacy while mitigating risk.
When more and more people were asked to stay home during the early stages of the pandemic, many healthcare organizations drastically increased telehealth services. By mobilizing quickly, hospitals and clinics were able to offer primary and secondary care, as well as COVID-19 screening and prescription services, online or via phone. Some providers even developed AI chat bots that help patients find the right starting point directly on their clinic or hospital homepage.
Digital front door
The “digital front door” is where every patient’s online journey with a healthcare provider begins—usually in the form of their first online interaction with a medical provider. During the pandemic, this has become even more important. Many organizations have streamlined their online presence to make their patients’ journeys simpler. Some have added patient portals, health-related content or online appointment schedulers. At Coffey, we have helped clients implement our customizable calendar module, which allows patients to schedule COVID-19 vaccines online.
To minimize in-person contact and manage hospital capacity, some health providers have worked with tech industry partners to develop tools that monitor patients’ health remotely. Stanford Medicine in California collaborated with Scripps Research and Fitbit to track COVID-19 symptoms using data from wearable devices. Other hospitals have developed their own remote monitoring systems to track patients after they are discharged.
In the early stages of COVID-19, front-line healthcare providers faced shortages in personal protective equipment and other necessities. Some hospitals turned to 3-D printing to create extra masks and face shields. This new technology has remained invaluable over the past year, with replacement parts for ventilators, breathing tubes and nasal swabs being just a few of the items that have been 3-D printed to address communities’ healthcare needs.
Whether you are a current Coffey client or not, our team can help you take on the communications challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. If you’d like to find out more about our print and digital content services or custom digital tools, such as our vaccine scheduling calendar, call 888.805.9101 or email us—we’re here to help.