The evolution of healthcare and technology in the ‘hospital of tomorrow’
By Jesse Ambrosina, Chief Operating Officer, Ivenix: Featured in MedCity News, August 14, 2020
If you just need blood drawn, do you really need to go to a hospital or your local lab? Wouldn’t it be easier on you (and less costly to everyone) if you could just prick your finger at your kitchen table and send in your blood sample?
Gone are the days when the delivery of healthcare was confined to the four walls of a hospital. Mayo Clinic is launching its own “hospital at home” model and has autonomous vehicles delivering Covid-19 tests. Maccabi Healthcare Services in Israel plans to deploy an AI system that can identify people at risk of developing Covid-19 complications. Simply put, the “hospital of tomorrow” will look quite different than the one to which we’re all accustomed.
Until now, the transition has been somewhat gradual — a shift to value-based payment, a renewed focus on patient outcomes rather than volume — but the Covid-19 pandemic has both amplified the gaps in hospital-delivered care and sped up innovation to find better, more efficient, mechanisms to deliver quality care.
The virtually overnight pivot to telemedicine in response to the pandemic has shown us that much of our healthcare can be managed remotely. For many patients, it’s not only more convenient, it’s safer to avoid physically going to a hospital environment for general checkups. Even before Covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate there are 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections annually, which lead to 99,000 deaths. There’s little data currently available about hospital-acquired COVID infections here in the U.S., but one estimate from the U.K. cited as much as 20% of cases were hospital-acquired.
There will always be a need for in-hospital care as we think of it today. No one’s going to receive ED-level or trauma care via video call. But to understand where we’re headed and why, it’s important to first consider the factors driving changes in how healthcare is delivered. How we think about healthcare will need to evolve in order to deliver better care at a much lower cost.
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