The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the healthcare industry towards greater digitalization to meet the demand for care and research to fight the spread of disease. Today, many advances in healthcare technology have helped us battle COVID and will better prepare us for future pandemics. Though much of this technology was already being developed pre-COVID, the pandemic spurred rapid development and application to assist with the needs of the public. Here are some key healthcare technologies that we will continue to fortify to help against the next global pandemic.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more popular across various industries worldwide. This machine learning technology has many different applications that can streamline administrative processes and help to provide improved quality of care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and scientists used artificial intelligence to predict the spread of the disease. This predictive tool allows government officials to make quick public safety and health decisions. Further, artificial intelligence can temperature check an entire crowd of people and pinpoint those with high temps. Now, AI also provides facial recognition capabilities to recognize someone even with their mask on. Artificial intelligence will help us prepare for the next pandemic by allowing us to predict the spread and impact of the disease quickly.
Improved Vaccine Manufacturing
When the pandemic hit, it spurred a rapid and widespread push for vaccine research and development worldwide. The rapid development of several COVID vaccines within a year of the pandemic is a testament to the technological capabilities of modern laboratories and research facilities. With current vaccine techniques such as recombinant proteins, nanoparticle vaccines, and rational vaccine design, vaccine manufacturing has become more efficient and effective. Companies like Avantor offer a “global distribution network and wide range of services to help you develop more efficient recombinant protein manufacturing processes.” Groups like Avantor allow laboratories and researchers to get high-quality medical equipment to manufacture and distribute vaccines. Modern vaccine development and manufacturing is a rapid and reliable process that will continue to improve as technological and distributional infrastructure is continued to be developed to prepare us for future pandemics.
Artificial intelligence is improving the quality of care, but the push toward digitalization has also improved the way healthcare professionals utilize patient data through cloud-based software and management tools. These digital tools help with information sharing between clinics to improve the quality of care for individuals who need regular checkups and multiple specialists for chronic conditions. Software that allows doctors to reference patient histories and other doctor’s notes instantly and data banks of information gathered through new wearable technologies are transforming the approach to diagnosis and care. Physicians who can access this information can create better care plans and support their patients more effectively. Further, these cloud-based technologies also help doctors offer virtual healthcare options for patients who could benefit from staying home instead of coming into the office for an appointment. These improvements in digital access to healthcare and greater access to patient data and histories for physicians will continue to improve and streamline healthcare worldwide. They will help us fortify our healthcare systems in the event of another pandemic.
The healthcare world is constantly evolving and improving. We are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but these new advances in medical tech will allow us to better prepare for and overcome the next global pandemic.