New Norm in Healthcare after COVID-19

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a “new normal” which is defined as the adaptation of people’s behavior and daily routines. How have the changes in people’s routines affected the healthcare industry? Dr. Thavirap Tantiwongse, CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PReMA) offers his expertise on the matter.

Dr.Thavirap Tantiwongse, CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PReMA)

Collaboration on Pharmaceutical Innovations

The global spread of COVID-19 has initiated worldwide collaboration efforts between government bodies, private sectors, and healthcare organizations on many fronts. Companies like GSK, has shared Adjuvant Technology with Sanofi to co-create a vaccine. Meanwhile, there’s an ongoing joint solidarity trial in Pharmaceutical Research area across 8 countries whose mission is to test the effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments.

Telemedicine – New Way of Medical Care

Social distancing has led to the promotion of telemedicine where patients can receive medical advice from online doctors. Besides the obvious advantage of reducing the potential spread of COVID-19, patients can also save time on a trip to the hospital or a long wait in a queue to see their doctors.

Telemedicine is one aspect of our “new normal” where there is opportunity for growth. However, the challenge is to create a pleasant experience to attract consistent demand until it becomes a habit.”

– Dr.Thavirap Tantiwongse, CEO of PReMA

Dr. Thavirap commented that most telemedicine being carried out at present is more like a remote medical advice service. Doctors do not have a chance to closely examine their patients’ conditions and instead rely on verbal descriptions or assessments.

The current state of telemedicine can be improved by finding ways for doctors to effectively perform auscultation (listening to the sound of the respiratory system or heart) on the patient, examine their throats, or observe their muscle reflexes. This would help patients feel like they’re receiving thorough care like a normal doctor visit.

We can integrate Augmented Reality (AR) Technology into the experience or develop a wearable device, like a smart watch, to collect and send patient’s data. Information such as a patient’s heart rate would be stored in a shared database where doctors could access and incorporate the information into their diagnosis and treatment. The key is to make people feel as though telemedicine gives them the same experience and results as going to see a doctor in a hospital, without all the inconvenience.

Telemedicine is particularly well suited for patients with chronic diseases, which require regular monitoring and follow-up appointments. Thorough remote medical care will redefine the whole experience of visiting a doctor, making it more convenient and more efficient.