Virtual Health

Reimagining care delivery

Prasanthi Sadhu

Prasanthi Sadhu

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Prasanthi Sadhu Editor, Asian Hospitals and Healthcare Management

In a landscape transformed by the pandemic, patients’ willingness to use telehealth solutions has grown exponentially and virtual care is becoming the new norm. Digital technologies have proved to be effective tools for patients to receive medical care from the comfort of their homes or any remote location. They have also empowered health centres and physicians to provide timely and efficient care to patients unable to visit them in person.

A Deloitte survey conducted in collaboration with American Telemedicine Association (ATA) found that by 2040, 50 per cent of executives surveyed thought at least a quarter of all outpatient care, preventive care, long-term care, and well-being services would move to virtual delivery.

Virtual health has enhanced patient-physician interactions in several ways, including remote patient monitoring and providing timely medical intervention. Patients use video conferencing, phone calls, or secure messaging to communicate with their physicians, eliminating the need to schedule in-person appointments or travel long distances to receive medical care. Physicians can use remote monitoring devices to track patients' vital signs and send alerts based on changes that require immediate attention. Virtual health has also allowed physicians to collaborate with other healthcare professionals and share patient information in real-time, thereby facilitating a more coordinated and effective care.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect virtual health to become even more sophisticated, enabling patients and physicians to connect and interact in even more innovative ways.

Virtual health can bridge the gap in healthcare access, particularly for those who live in rural or remote areas, or those who have difficulty traveling to a healthcare facility due to physical or financial barriers. However, virtual health can also exacerbate existing disparities in healthcare access if it is not implemented in an equitable manner. Care providers should analyse the potential gaps and take steps like providing training and resources to help patients and healthcare providers navigate virtual health platforms, ensuring their accessibility to everyone, and designing virtual health interventions that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for diverse populations. By doing so, we can ensure that virtual health benefits everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.

In this issue, Stanley Li, Founder and CEO, DXY, and Mahira El Sayed, Professor of Dermatology, Ain Shams University, write about how virtual health is impacting in-person interactions. The authors provide their take on telemedicine, how it has transformed consultation experience and the impact of effective virtual patient engagement on better health outcomes. The issue also features insightful articles on AI in healthcare, IoMT, Neonatal care, Colorectal cancer, telehealth.

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