The world after COVID-19: Paradigm shifts in health and healthcare

The COVID-19 infection is now altering our mindset and our way of living. Health and health insurance will also see drastic changes and it is no longer as normal. There will be some paradigm shifts in the health and education sectors. We must consider how our lives will be impacted by such changes.

Public health needs to be given its proper position. Looking at the results in the fight against the pandemic, some countries with good public health systems have performed well. South Korea’s explanation for performing so well has been attributed to its large number of exams, but what is overlooked is that its strong public health program, consisting of a robust surveillance system, universal health coverage and citizens’ financial security, played a major role.

For example, even in India Kerala has been the first state to practically flatten the curve with its strong public health system.

Consequently, we would anticipate a emphasis on approaches to public health that involve effective disease monitoring systems, modellers of disease prediction, extension of social insurance and eventually a network of public health practitioners on the lines of civil servants, with high priority being given to prevention and wellness.

There will be huge shifts in the health-care sector. In India, technology-enabled creative approaches are currently underused, primarily due to the reluctance in changing the status quo and challenging existing practices.

Telemedicine is one such underused field of medicine and in the current lockout situation, its advantages and benefits are brought to much-deserved attention. Teleconsultations are likely to increase and telehealth would reduce the burden on the hospitals. Telehealth excitement is at its peak with the Indian government launching the long awaited Guidelines for Telemedicine Practice on March 25, 2020.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are here to live. Physicians and nurses who have long-term treatment for chronic conditions can use smart electronic decision support systems supported by ML and AI. Easy diagnostic care equipment and wearable apps can provide patients with more personalized feedback in self-care, and provide create a true relationship with their health care providers.

Changes will also carry on from Continuing medical education. Though it may not fully replace medical conferences, webinars and interactive educational platforms are becoming mainstream and frequent.

Although universal health coverage may provide a framework for affordable health care, it can require creative approaches such as self-help programs, community volunteers and safe community initiatives.

Further insurance coverage for prevention is virtually non-existent, and regulations will need to be tweaked to allow insurance coverage for preventive and promotional practices and telehealth use. Read More