Health Tech World spoke to the CEO of Visionable about the impact COVID-19 has had on digital technology in healthcare and its future beyond the pandemic.
Visionable is a collaboration platform designed for healthcare teams’ advanced clinical needs.
The technology combines next-generation video conferencing with clinical imaging capabilities. Clinicians can monitor and consult with patients virtually, with all of the required records, scans, and pathology images at their fingertips.
At the start of the pandemic, the company saw a 1,600% increase in the hours its platform was used between February and March. The firm also onboarded more than 16,000 NHS staff in just four weeks.
CEO Alan Lowe said: “COVID saw the acceleration of patient-facing applications. There have been a lot of organisations dabbling in the virtual clinic space and the virtual visitor space, and around March time that really took off.
“We saw a huge increase in the need for virtual clinics, which is primarily outpatient clinics and hospitals, and virtual visits from the wards to a family member’s home. So, those were the two dramatic spikes we saw during COVID-19.
“We are looking at not just replacing face-to-face with video, but how can you redesign the whole model to make it better for patients? Not just obvious things like it is convenient from your home, but could you see your GP and have your outpatient appointment on the same day, rather than having to wait two weeks.
“Every digital interaction is a slightly limited version of a physical interaction, but as technologies are getting better and better, that gap is closing.
“I think what you’ll see more is that your appointments are going to become patient choice. I think you’ll see a slight movement back towards a certain criteria of people wanting to see doctors and GPS still, but I think you will end up with a virtual-plus policy in healthcare.”
Visionable carried out two rounds of research that each surveyed approximately 1,500 people – one in February 2020 and a second carried out in May.
73% of people questioned in May agreed they did not always need to see a doctor in person to receive appropriate care, up from 62% in February.
Three quarters of patients in May said they were happy to use video to engage with their GP, compared with 62% in February.
Additionally, the number of people questioned who had experienced some form of remote consultation rose from 51% to 63%.
Despite this, Lowe spoke about the challenges technological innovation may face within the sector.
“I think some people are going to have to be brave with their technology. But I think the biggest challenge to innovation and the NHS is the transformation, skills and capabilities. We know that people are flat out right now dealing with COVID-19 in the NHS, but people are always flat out.
“So, you almost need a transformation team or a transformation supplement to implement not just a technology, but the process involved.”