Connected health tools can play a vital role in the COVID-19 crisis
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the healthcare industry faced a number of challenges: physician shortages, clinicians overwhelmed by changes and population health needs.
The center of care has also shifted, noted Mike Braham, CEO of the connected health platform Trapollo, during a recent sponsored HIMSS20 Digital session.
"There was a big focus on 'aging in place,'" said Braham during the session, Leveraging Connected Health Solutions for COVID-19 and Beyond. "How do we help seniors stay in their homes?" while helping them manage any chronic issues as they age.
"Connected health is really part of moving us forward as the industry starts to change and more," Braham explained.
The novel coronavirus pandemic, which has necessitated sweeping changes in the provision of healthcare, has clarified new uses for existing connected health infrastructure, Braham pointed out.
"Going into COVID-19, we're learning so many lessons for the first time, but on the other side we're able to relate that information, and some of those new things, to existing practices," he said.
Braham explained that in the context of COVID-19, connected health tools can: support 24/7 access to a client's care team, give patients the care they need while avoiding travel to a clinic or a hospital, support diagnosis and predictive modeling, allow for online appointment scheduling and two-way video calls, and provide mental health support via surveys, among many other things.
"You're really looking at the total patient: their physical state, their behavioral state … so that we can be very timely," said Braham.
Beyond patient care, Braham also argued that employers can use connected health tools to ensure the health of their employees – particularly employment as workplaces begin to shift back to in-person business.
"As we return to work, we're also going to have to figure out how we can leave some folks working from home," he said.
In a post-COVID-19 world, Braham predicted that connected health will continue to be important to monitor patient health, to address the nationwide disparity of care – and to brace for another pandemic.
"As a country, as a healthcare-oriented nation, what do we do to best prepare for that next crisis?" Braham said.
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Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.