Guest Column | November 30, 2020

Redefining Healthcare – How COVID-19 Brought Digital Medicine To The Forefront

By Justin Williams, Noteworth

COVID 19 Coronavirus Mask Wearer

With the second wave of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the U.S. and abroad, it is hard to imagine a post-COVID life at this time. The pandemic has already instilled some valuable lessons for America’s healthcare community which are starting to re-shape how medical services will be provided going forward. These changes place greater emphasis on outcomes vs. processes with less focus on symptom treatment and more holistic patient care.

Part of the rise in comprehensive patient care comes from the focus on both Virtual Healthcare and Telemedicine. Some in the healthcare industry define Virtual Care as a broad term that encompasses all the ways that healthcare providers remotely interact with their patients. Telemedicine, as they see it, is a subset of Virtual Care, referring specifically to remote diagnosis and the treatment of various medical conditions, including medical advice, or referring patients to a specialist.

Digital health products focused on virtual care or telemedicine have become integral to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of health and disease, especially in our current climate. Clinicians are using digital health products to gain insights on patient outcomes, conduct telehealth visits, and treat aspects of diseases otherwise unaddressed by traditional medications.

Another paradigm that is emerging out of these industry trends is Digital Medicine. Fundamentally, digital medicine is the segment of evidence-based digital health tools that measure and/or intervenes in the service of healthcare. Digital medicine supports the practice of medicine broadly to include treatment, recovery, disease prevention, and health promotion for individual patients and across large populations.

While healthcare can encompass everything from tracking exercise regimes to reminders to take vitamins and medication, digital medicine is more tightly focused on the care for ambulatory patients. Specifically, how to automate the patient care journey while involving the patient interactively along the path.

Digital medicine is automating more of the healthcare journey than just data stored in Electronic Healthcare Records databases. The primary benefits brought about by Digital Medicine to specific target audiences include administrators, clinicians, and patients. For clinicians specifically, the benefit of utilizing a digital medicine platform is having your patients at your fingertips. This is done by extending impact beyond the clinic and collaborating with patients anywhere they are. This allows doctors to learn about their patients in real-time and drive interventions that matter.

For patients, the benefit is having access to your doctor anytime, anywhere. Digital medicine is giving patients the ability to collaborate with their healthcare providers. Patients want to feel a sense of empowerment when it comes to their healthcare journeys. By having access to a digital medicine platform, it gives the patient the ability to be actively involved in their own care. Digital medicine is giving patients the tools they need to amplify their effort, drive their participation, and find what they need in a timelier manner.

The key differentiator here is that digital medicine is giving patients the ability to actively be involved in their own care. For doctors, being able to look at real-time data and tell the care team which patients need attention is setting an entirely new bar for healthcare delivery. Given the new normal that COVID-19 has created, it is time for doctors to look into implementing a digital medicine platform. The capability to have confirmation of superior clinical outcomes, reduce cost of care, and improve patient safety and satisfaction is vital in the world today.

About The Author

Justin Williams is the CEO of Noteworth, a first-of-its-kind Digital Healthcare platform for modernizing Digital Medicine delivery operations.