COVID-19 Changes Everything — Even for Digital Companies

July 08, 2020

Dr. Tim Ringrose, CEO of Cognitant

Those of us working on digital health solutions, accustomed to scepticism and the glacial pace of change in healthcare, have suddenly found ourselves in the limelight. Like a shy kid who suddenly finds themselves the most popular at a party, digital health companies are in demand.

Previous “hard to reach” decision-makers are now available to talk, new ways of working are warmly embraced and procurement barriers are knocked through. A digital-first health service is now not only achievable, it’s actually rapidly falling into place. Over 26 million of the UK population can now use eConsult (via the NHS app) to request a GP appointment and submit information about their health issue, GP practices are now conducting over 90% of consultations without a face to face visit and the services of video consultation providers have been rapidly procured.

The digital transformation of hospital services is not yet as advanced, but the signs are that it will be just as significant. Outpatient services are using video platforms, such as Attend Anywhere, to consult remotely with patients, staff are using Microsoft teams for training and remote monitoring services are being rapidly evaluated. The new maxim for health is “If something can be done for the patient at home, it should”.

COVID-19 is also changing things for companies that provide services to healthcare. We also need to adapt to accommodate restrictions and evolve to address the new world of remote-based care. For example, before COVID-19, we, at Cognitant Group were putting VR headsets into GP practices, clinics, and hospitals to provide patients with immersive experiences about their health.

We found that this was a particularly powerful way to explain complex health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. But COVID-19 has put a stop to that and we are now delivering the same content to smartphones and tablets, via our healthinote app, so that patients can view the content at home on their own device. We can even provide VR experiences to patients sending them a Google cardboard headset to use with their phone. These services are being used across healthcare to support patients at home and to replace face-to-face consultations with remote services.

Empowering patients with clear, easy to follow information, increases their confidence and ability to self-manage their health and reduces the number of visits to the hospital. Empowering patients with clear, easy to follow information, increases their confidence and ability to self-manage their health and reduces the number of visits to the hospital.

Empowering patients with clear, easy to follow information, increases their confidence and ability to self-manage their health and reduces the number of visits to the hospital.

We are working across the NHS to support patients with kidney disease, diabetes, asthma and heart failure, and other long term conditions. Empowering patients with clear, easy to follow information, increases their confidence and ability to self-manage their health and reduces the number of visits to the hospital. We’re also working with industry to provide patients with information about their treatment. This can be used across the board but is particularly useful for complex therapies such as biologics and immunotherapy.

As the realisation that COVID-19 is not going away quickly sinks in, we are all faced with a radically changed world. 2020 is the year that everything changed.


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