Helping the Healthcare Industry During COVID-19

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Read about impacts and opportunities in other industries

As many countries and states begin to lift lockdown orders due to COVID-19, businesses are trying to understand how this disruption will affect the way they conduct business in the long run. This blog series examines the effects of COVID-19 on some of the most impacted industries and explores how distributed Agile development can help advance the digital transformation journey amidst the chaos. In the last installment of this series, we look at the finance industry and how COVID-19 has led to some fundamental changes in its operations landscape. In this blog, we’ll examine the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and discover some examples of digital transformation in the healthcare.

The growing adoption of digital transformation in the healthcare industry has increased steadily alongside gradual advancements in technology. The sector is seeing digital capabilities rise to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver patient services in a time of incredibly high demand, manage an increasingly burdened workforce, and stay ahead of rapidly changing information and data.

Healthcare professionals and the industry at large are still enduring challenging circumstances. The healthcare industry faces some of the highest rates of burnout in any industry, for obvious reasons; long hours, meticulous procedures, a high-stress environment and a multitude of other factors. In fact, the issue of burnout was a major problem in the healthcare industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in full force earlier this year. However, with the increased use of digital solutions during this crisis, healthcare professionals may be getting a glimpse into a more hands-off future aided by technology.

The perfect storm of slow digital adoption along with an unprecedented historical crisis has forced the healthcare industry to accelerate its digital transformation faster than many had predicted. As an example of digital transformation in the healthcare, large number of primary care and specialist physicians have moved to virtual check-ups and visits since the beginning of March. In fact, telehealth has exploded by nearly 90 percent, with the majority of appointments going virtual along with the development of apps that provide physicians with remote monitoring capabilities of patients as they manage symptoms and treatment of the virus.

There have been a number of companies that have jumped at the remote monitoring demand that the pandemic has incited. For instance, Current Health has created an AI-enabled wearable device that monitors vital signs with “ICU-level accuracy” and offers insights into a patient’s real-time health, alerting staff if they show signs of deterioration. Another example of digital transformation in the healthcare – a company looking to capitalize on the surge of telemedicine in recent months is TytoCare, a company that makes medical devices meant to aid in self-examination and diagnosis for telehealth providers. Finally, TelaDoc, a company that uses telephone and videoconferencing software as well as mobile apps to provide on-demand remote medical care, has seen a 20 percent increase in its stock price since the pandemic started to make waves back in February.

Some healthcare IT vendors are updating their software to better identify patterns and potential signs of trouble. The goal of such digital transformation in the healthcare is to ensure that doctors and other frontline medical staff are asking patients about recent travel and relevant symptoms, which allows these IT tools to relay information out to patients and providers quickly and efficiently. Doctors and facilities are now able to keep virtual records of a patient’s medical history, enhancing the collaboration and communication needed to properly diagnose or treat a patient wherever or whenever they fall ill. Florida-based health information exchange, HIE Networks, has retooled its systems to make it easier for providers to access patient health data, regardless of where that patient had previously accessed care. This is all in an effort to break down silos and create “care teams” for a patient because when doctors, nurses, advanced practice providers, caseworkers, and others are involved in patient care, outcomes inevitably improve.

As the pandemic continues to take its toll across the globe, there will be scores of heroic stories that emerge about frontline staff going above and beyond the call of duty in this fight. There will also likely be stories involving the successful deployment of digital transformation for the healthcare and a fundamental shift in the way healthcare professionals interact with and utilize technology moving forward. These stories can be a powerful catalyst in driving change across the industry and will encourage people to further design and deploy new innovations in every aspect of healthcare.

Distributed Agile Development for the Healthcare Industry

As the healthcare industry battles through these unprecedented times, it is clear that digital transformation has and will continue to play a major role in the future. In an industry that has often been behind in terms of digitization, the facilities and practitioners that have embraced transformation during this pandemic will find themselves atop a healthcare system poised for a complete digital overhaul.

How can the healthcare industry ramp up its digital transformation efforts during this time? With many technologists around the globe working from home and distanced from their teams, distributed Agile development must come to the forefront tactically. With innovators collaborating virtually during this time, taking an Agile approach to development is more critical than ever. Through this approach, software development is uninterrupted and can be conducted in a fluid, fast and iterative way. Check out tips on how to keep productivity on high with distributed technology teams.

For those who are unable to achieve distributed Agile software development on their own, there are organizations that offer it as a service and are ready to aid these impacted industries. Exadel is one of them. With Agile software development and engineering teams throughout North America and Eastern Europe, Exadel is continuing to deliver digital transformation projects for the healthcare industry. We’ve been working as a distributed Agile software development company for decades and have the resources and healthcare expertise to take on even the toughest projects. The Exadel team is especially passionate about helping organizations during these times when, for many, there is no choice but to embrace digital transformation.

If you are looking to kick your digital transformation into high gear, contact us today to get started.

Author: Jonathan Fries