Doctor Luigi Cavanna is reflected in a mirror as he tends to COVID-19 patient Maria Teresa Orsi at her home, in Monticelli D'Ongina. (Image: AP)
The COVID-19 pandemic has made healthcare and pharma companies, doctors and patients to embrace digital like never before. The biggest beneficiary is, of course, telemedicine, as it helped prevent doctors and patients from getting exposed to COVID-19, but still kept the healthcare delivery going.
Telemedicine platforms have seen a huge jump in numbers as people began accessing healthcare online.
Moneycontrol reported about how 100 competing private service providers private health practitioners have come together to launch free telemedicine app called Swasth in June,
There is also an explosion of online self-assessment apps to check for symptoms of COVID-19.
The government, after years of delay, released the much-awaited Telemedicine Practice Guidelines in March. The guidelines have helped in standardising care and inspiring confidence among doctors and healthcare providers, who are not inclined to use technology to reach out to patients.
The government is August launched the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).
The aim of NDHM will be to issue a health ID and digital personal health records for each citizen will make healthcare more affordable and efficient by nurturing a supporting ecosystem to seamlessly connect data, people, institutions, systems, and applications.
The pharmaceutical companies have to invest on digital in a big way to reach doctors to promote their brands, as going to clinics and hospitals has become risky due to COVID-19 infections.
The use of internet of technologies, machine learning and robotics, virtual reality and blockchain technologies are no more exotic technologies, but have now started to become mainstream in healthcare.
In terms of investments too, Reliance Industries acquisition of majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds, Amazon striking deals with Netmeds, 1mg, PharmEasy and Medlife to sell medicines online in Bangalore, and reports about Tata Group planning to enter e-pharmacy has made the digital space most sought after.
The 2020 has set the platform for digital in healthcare, from 2021 it could become mainstream.