There will no doubt be a tremendous number of articles regarding the impact of COVD-19 on our world, our country, our community, on our technology. Those of us in the healthcare world can certainly attest to a whole new series of demands that have suddenly been placed on our infrastructure and new types of demands to provide access and services to personal health information so providers in remote or isolated situations can access their application sets.While the demands for greater access and more options for access grows, so has the external threats. Some organizations were prepared better than others to meet this challenge. When the dust settles, what should we expect will be in the future of healthcare and, more so, healthcare information technology?
The discussion for the past several years was getting more mobile-oriented, but the focus was more on delivering results and services to a consumer model. Although many organizations did a tremendous job of creating a consumer Telehealth model, the reality of providing services normally inside the hospital setting in remote conditions has fallen behind. With what is known now, the challenges can be in three broad areas: At-home Services, Access, and Security.
At-home services have multiple variables. The concept of work from home has new challenges for healthcare workers. Simple access to email and some files, now brings requests for video conference, virtual patient monitoring from remote locations, and clinical quality imaging delivery to the clinician in a remote setting. Basic things must be in place to provide such services such as virtual desktops designed to provide the services, the security behind its operation which will be discussed later, and most importantly, the endpoint equipment as this will create the most stress on the end-users to obtain and the organization to deliver. Carts, cameras, open conference sessions in the patient’s room with peripherals to monitor the heart, blood pressure, and check the throat, eyes, and ears, so the clinician does not have to be in the room to see the live results is all part of the Tele-health remote monitoring package. This would need to be situated in the patient room and on a device that could be remotely activated, which now generally means a laptop versus a tablet.
The available supply of equipment becomes another critical issue that is a challenge when a disastrous situation starts.