We’ve Entered a New Era of Streaming Health Care. Now What?

Date: Nov 10, 2021
Category: News

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

It’s a rare soul who truly enjoys going to the doctor. Many people feel vulnerable when seated on a chilly exam table in that paper robe, and fear of the unknown or denial can keep people from seeking vital care. This problem has grown in importance as research has shown that preventive care and early detection of disease improve outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the equation. It forced a transition to virtual health care delivery and exposed many patients, providers, and health care delivery organizations to the efficiencies and qualities of telemedicine for the first time. The pandemic also pushed venture capital investments in digital health to an all-time high; in 2021, investments had reached $14.7 billion by the end of the second quarter, surpassing the figure for all of 2020.

The change to telemedicine has the potential to transform our entire model of health care, and potentially to vastly improve the health and wellbeing of millions of people. First, consider the traditional model: It’s really a “sick care” system that waits for patients to become ill before intervening. This reactive model of care often fails to adequately engage patients in the management of their own health.

Streaming health care can enable…

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