The year 2020 saw an unprecedented acceleration of digital health, marked with record-breaking funding ($4.6 billion in Q3 2020) and mega-mergers.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments everywhere to rethink the role of digital technology in healthcare.
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For example, to keep people away from hospitals, the US and Australian governments have both approved reimbursement for telemedicine consultations, allowing patients to speak to doctors via video-link.
“The flywheel of remote care is beginning to turn,” says Pravene Nath, Global Head for Digital Health Strategy in Personalized Healthcare at Roche. “It’s like a call to action that allows us to launch more disruptive models of care. It won’t work for us only to build digital tools and expect that they will be adopted into existing clinical practices. We need to redesign the ecosystem.”
The pandemic’s impact on the company’s acceleration depended on how it applied this technology, reports MobiHealthNews.
“When we look across our portfolio, we have companies that were immediately applicable and felt the wind at their back because of the pandemic,” said Katya Hancock, the investor network director at StartUp Health, said during an Accelerate Health panel. “So those were really companies that hit the ground running and who are doing really well.”
Among the Asian countries, the Philippines put a huge emphasis on corporate health. The country built primary care clinics within large corporations to facilitate employees’ visits to the clinics. This was done to help them detect and effectively manage chronic diseases at an early stage which would in turn help to greatly reduce medical insurance costs that will be borne by employers eventually.
Malaysia was able to quickly put together a COVID-19 digital response. The country focused on areas such as, community engaging, risk and communication, operational efficiency, research and clinical trials and more.
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Across the globe, the pandemic has been a lightning bolt for digital transformation in healthcare, bringing scientists, healthcare professionals, and IT experts together to turn necessity into invention.