The coronavirus and technology have both impacted every sphere of life. The past two years have brought into stark relief the need for digitisation across industries, and this is especially true for the frontline workers fighting the pandemic in healthcare facilities and hospitals every day.
There will always remain the critical need for in-person care. But over the past year, the need for remote healthcare, or telemedicine has increased as healthy people needing procedures, repeat scripts or counselling, have stayed away from medical centres.
While healthcare is a sector of society that has typically lagged when it comes to digitisation, we are starting to see that change for the better. Unlike the education sector, the rise of telemedicine does not increase the digital divide between those who have internet access and those who do not, because there will always be a need for physical hospitals and in-person care.
That said, a proliferation of digital tools can assist with decreasing the cost of healthcare, a particularly important aspect when it comes to public hospitals. By allowing for digital stock-taking, ambulance e-hailing and digitising paper-based processes within the administrative side of hospitals, human resources can be better focussed on handling more critical clinical tasks, thus saving time and cutting costs.
Another critical feature of digitisation within hospitals is that it allows for faster data collation, faster data analysis and thus faster decision making. We’ve seen this over the past year when it comes to stocktaking of PPE and vaccine supplies in hospitals and medical centres.
While it’s still early days for digital medicine/healthcare, a further benefit is the increase in job creation for positions and support teams that will be required to run, train people on and manage this innovative technology.
We know that within the South African healthcare sector this sort of change has already commenced . In 2019, Boxfusion launched the Mpilo Healthcare App to help citizens locate their nearest clinics, log reports about issues they experience at clinics, call ambulances and find health professionals’ contact details in their surrounding areas. In 2020 when COVID hit however, this app was quickly pivoted into a platform that the Gauteng Health Department could use to allow citizens to report Coronavirus cases and get information, and for healthcare professionals to log cases and manage stock of critical COVID-fighting supplies.
That was just the beginning; there is a lot more progress to be made within healthcare, and we’re excited to be part of this journey.
To find out more about the Boxfusion healthcare offering, email firstname.lastname@example.org