The COVID-19 pandemic brought much-needed change to healthcare delivery practically overnight, as the increased risks from hospital visits saw many healthcare professionals move care from clinics to the comfort of patients’ homes. But truth be told, COVID-19 was just a spark that accelerated a movement that was already well underway. Policymakers across the world had already been pressing ahead in legislation to allow doctors to prescribe digital health treatments and administer solutions at home. The reasons driving the movement are bigger, more systemic, and longer-lasting than the current pandemic: put simply, poor access, a lack of flexibility, and a dependence on brick-and-mortar facilities have made the costs and processes of traditional healthcare delivery unsustainable.
Recent events have shone a light on the issues facing healthcare, and we now have an opportunity to significantly increase the pace of change. Areas like banking, retail, and grocery have proven their ability to adapt quickly to the rapid changes in daily life brought on by COVID-19, no doubt facilitated by sustained past investment in internet technologies and connectivity. The healthcare industry could benefit from a similar approach: further investment in connectivity could take the pressure off hospitals and hospital-based care, allowing clinicians to meet the needs of many more patients in any similar scenario in the future.