The healthcare industry is rapidly changing as the reliance on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure continues to grow. Patients now demand increased connectivity, efficiency improvements, and secure patient data, while supporting the clinical workforce in delivering patient-centered care.
Our healthcare systems are stretched, clinicians are experiencing moral injury and burnout, our populations are aging, and chronic disease continues to plague our society. Our current healthcare delivery models are not sustainable long term.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen the worldwide adoption of digital health solutions to deliver care in convenient and agile ways.
While telehealth has been around for a long time, it has now become a critical tool in care delivery, and patients and providers alike have become accustomed to its use. Patients and clinicians are now experiencing the many benefits of remote care and remote monitoring. Digitally enabled care not only helps to address access and equity issues, but it also provides more on-demand care for patients. In turn, this helps reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and it helps increase healthcare workforce effectiveness.
Digitally enabled care has now expanded the use of virtual health services into mental health, triage, virtual ward rounds, and virtual hospitals. It has increased the ability to deliver acute, chronic, primary, and specialty care, without providers having to step foot inside a hospital or healthcare facility.
Clinicians conducting non-urgent consultations over digital health platforms have benefited from the transition. Clinics have seen a reduction in unnecessary visits to emergency departments, patient clinics, and outpatient waiting rooms. This has eased the administrative burden of clinicians as they can freely transition between patients and clinical operations, and maximize their time spent with patients.
Patients, too, experience great benefits from telehealth, including more flexibility scheduling appointments and follow-ups, shorter wait times, seamless communication with clinicians, and the ability to receive care securely, no matter where they live.
Virtual health platforms, like Cisco Webex, have also given time back to researchers, physicians, and clinicians. They now have access to an improved collaboration platform and can participate in internal meetings, share information, and collaborate with peers and colleagues within the hospital or across the country.
As virtual health continues to evolve and transition to an established mode for long-term patient centric healthcare delivery, planning and consultation will be key to ensuring success and adoption. As we continue to see the delivery of digitally enabled care expand to include wearables, mobile apps, and other new diagnostic and treatment technologies, those healthcare systems with a strong IT foundation will be better positioned to build out and deliver advanced capabilities.
Digitally enabled care can divert the pressure from acute care settings to primary healthcare or community care settings, especially for mild or moderate diagnoses. This will, in turn, assist in addressing the unsustainable burden of disease and ensure the resilience of our health systems.
Cisco understands how critical technology can be in bridging gaps, breaking down barriers, and connecting the unconnected. This is an exciting time. We can provide advances in technology which, combined with your clinical excellence, can help you provide secure and more convenient patient care. By working with healthcare organizations around the world, Cisco is helping providers do extraordinary things during extraordinary times.