Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a dramatic scaling up in the use of remote healthcare solutions. In a time when hospitals are overloaded and face-to-face appointments carry risk of exposure to the coronavirus, remote solutions have been a lifeline for hospitals, physicians and patients worldwide. The trend is likely to continue as practitioners and patients become familiar with the benefits of remote healthcare: increased convenience and accessibility, and an improved ability to track patient progress and encourage compliance with treatment.
These remote healthcare solutions are mostly software-based technologies which have been benefitting from the rapid growth in cloud-based connectivity. Developing this software is tricky, because it needs to adhere to strict regulatory standards in order to be approved by the FDA, CE, and other regulatory bodies for use in medical contexts. Privacy and cybersecurity are particular concerns, because patients need to know that their data is safe and confidential.
Because of the level of expertise required, many healthcare software companies use specialist providers to implement solutions that meet regulatory standards and to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of change in the industry. An example is Matrix Medika, which has established a track record of working with both leading industry players and cutting-edge startups to create solutions that help push forward the state of the art in remote healthcare today. Working with providers like Medika makes it possible for healthcare software development companies to compete in the remote solutions arena without a heavy up-front investment in in-house expertise.
The new technological capabilities available to this generation of remote healthcare solutions has led to a boom in medical innovation and creative approaches to healthcare. A startup named Nonagon, for example, has developed a revolutionary telemedicine solution that integrates a novel hardware diagnostic device with user-friendly smartphone apps and a personalized cloud-based infrastructure. Patients are able to conduct 9 physical exams at home and consult with their doctors at any time, while doctors can easily track patients’ ongoing results, receive real-time data, and provide immediate treatment. Another startup, Vectorious, has developed a direct heart pressure monitor that gives physicians the ability to monitor changes in heart pressure even before patients notice any symptoms. The result is that life-threatening deterioration can be caught early, and medical treatment can be adjusted on the fly without requiring hospitalization. Painwatch is another young startup aiming to transform pain management today. Like Nonagon, Painwatch worked with Matrix Medika to develop an app that allows patients’ care providers to track their pain levels in real time and takes advantage of an extensive database to design customized pain treatment plans. This is vital because pain affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and because of the major public health problem posed by opioid addiction as a result of failed pain management. Together, these startups paint a picture of what today’s cloud-based technologies make possible.
These solutions also highlight the reasons that remote care is not a passing trend. For patients, remote care means accessibility, affordability, and personalization, while allowing them to experience treatment in the comfort of their own homes rather than in a clinical environment. For physicians and other care providers, remote care is a way of obtaining new data and insights, increasing patients’ adherence to treatment, and catching and treating conditions in a timely way. And for healthcare systems as a whole, remote solutions are a way of streamlining costs and reducing the load on hospitals, clinics, and caregivers. The heavy toll of the pandemic may have come with a silver lining: effective, accessible and transformative remote healthcare solutions.