How does the digital health industry support the management of the corona crisis?

The digital health industry has quickly adapted their offerings to support the population and patient management during the Corona crisis. In return, the digital health industry can expect to benefit from higher acceptance from patients, HCPs, hospitals and government institutions. New R2G whitepaper classifies digital health solutions along six major intervention areas.

The COVID – 19 pandemic has been covering more and more countries around the world and putting in danger the health of millions of people. Healthcare stakeholders, public authorities and business sector have been putting a lot of effort to slow down the spread of the virus down. In like manner, the digital health industry is rushing to expand their service offerings to provide support in the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

The outbreak started in the end of 2019 in China and gradually circulated into Asian countries. Later, this would provoke Asian digital service providers to come up first with reactive methods and approaches. Those for now could be used as examples and best practices for other countries worldwide, especially the ones which are undergoing the critical point of pandemic situation.

Digital health is already playing vital role in the management of Corona crisis as stated in a new report published by R2G Digital Health in Corona Times.

Digital health providers will have to evaluate how they can expand their current service offering or even create new offers to support the different phases of the pandemic management. Those who manage to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing situation will be able to best support the pandemic management and in return benefit the most by increased user, payer and regulator acceptance.

There are six major areas of digital health tools for population and patient care already supporting the management of Corona crisis:

  1. Education and prevention: Reducing the number of infections, panic prevention
  2. Triage and testing: Efficiently managing testing capacities
  3. Tracking and tracing: Enforcing quarantine and slowing down the disease spreading
  4. Quarantine management: Supporting and monitoring patients during their isolation
  5. In-hospital management: Reducing the number of direct HCP contacts, diminishing HCPs’ and caregivers’ workload, improving hygiene
  6. Post care management: Patient monitoring and research support

Some of the segments certainly will have significant impact in the management of Corona pandemic situation all around the world. Thereby these segments are likely to get a major boost in usage, applications and market expansion:

  • Telehealth, chat bots (triage) and self-testing services, as well as tracking & tracing solutions are the first in line to be promoted by government institutions;
  • Service expansion opportunities arise in more complex use cases, such as quarantine management for remote patient monitoring systems, digital therapeutics services, and digital coaching services;
  • Digital mental health services are today in the second line of attention, but could be used in almost all phases of the pandemic management;
  • Digital behavior change tools are not prominent but could support public education and social distancing (e.g. mapping tools of infection clusters with distance alerts);
  • Data analytics providers will support the analysis of millions of data points from COVID – 19 patients to speed up the development of an effective vaccine.

It is a big question whether the new service offerings and extended features will remain after the pandemic. Some of them certainly show great demand, like telehealth and fast and quick self-testing tools, yet to which extent those will be used after is unknown. This might significantly depend on the duration of the pandemic.

Government institutions, hospitals, and healthcare incumbents are recommended to quickly learn from best practice implementations. They should select or develop digital solutions for their citizens, patients, employees or customers that :

  • Effectively and reliably allow information sharing so that the population receives timely education about the COVID – 19 risks and would take precaution measures
  • Improve triage processes to efficiently manage testing capacities. Many countries are simply unable to keep up with testing as more and more people carry and disseminate the virus further
  • Provide remote health services to reduce the number of direct contacts between patients and HCPs, nurses and care givers
  • Manage hundred thousand/millions of quarantined people in their isolation with remote monitoring, coaching or mental help support
  • Allow tracking and tracing back of risk groups
  • Make use of data and contacts to allow faster vaccine development
  • Reduce and manage workload and infection risks for doctors and caregivers by using remote monitoring systems, robots and mental health solutions

R2G is currently screening and evaluating best practice digital health solutions globally, supporting the Corona crisis management. If you want to learn more, download Research2Guidance’s latest whitepaper on Digital Health in Corona Times. This white paper provides the first categorization of digital health solutions along the patient journey. It also captures current digital health’s contribution and provides first guidelines to key stakeholders on actions to be taken.

Please download the free whitepaper here.

We hope that this whitepaper and all R2G’s new initiatives contribute to the overall fight against this pandemic.