Monday, 22 June 2020 13:29

Telehealth services to ‘flourish’ after COVID 19 has passed

MedicalDirector's Jamie Richter. MedicalDirector's Jamie Richter.

Telehealth services will continue to boom and flourish well after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, according to software engineer for medical software solutions company MedicalDirector, Jamie Richter.

Richter, a CQUniversity alumnus who played a part in the rollout of COVID-19 medical initiatives such as telehealth and electronic prescribing during the pandemic, says he believes telehealth will “undoubtably flourish in the coming years”.

“While nothing will ever truly replace the need for face-to-face, figures have suggested that anywhere up to 50% of general practice consults were conducted via telehealth or telephone during the pandemic,” Richter said.

“While nobody expects those lofty numbers to remain the norm, we do expect to see the rise of the telehealth-only medical practice!

“I’d like to believe that the health industry has always harboured an appetite for telehealth, but for various reasons it never gained traction – privacy/security concerns, Australia’s patchy broadband availability, a lack of patient awareness, and undoubtedly a touch of politics thrown in there somewhere.

“Putting aside the chaos of COVID-19, one of the huge positives has been the undeniable proof that telehealth can be a viable alternative to face-to-face consults under the right circumstances.”

Richter, who studied a Bachelor of Information Technology with CQUniversity, was involved in the evaluation and technical discussions surrounding MedicalDirector’s Clinical telehealth solutions.

“It was a very humbling experience to be at the digital frontline of the health software fight against COVID-19,” explained Richter.

Richter said “thanks to a cloud-based system known as Helix, and a team of talented individuals”, his organisation was able to release a telehealth solution and have it working in practices only a couple of weeks after initial conception.

According to Richter the medical industry will make huge leaps in technology “thanks to the pressure put on the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“Industry behemoths like Apple, IBM and Google are already doing some amazing, innovative work in the health space. And those are only the publicly announced projects,” Richter said.

“Skip forward a decade and it would not surprise me if a person could walk into their GP with a serious complaint, have a real-time full body scan assessed by Google artificial intelligence and then have that diagnosis cast to a specialist on the other side of the planet. It’s not entirely fanciful.

“With that said, true industry disruption often comes from start-ups and indie developers. I have to admit that I was amazed by some of the incredibly clever ‘iso projects’ that indie developers were sharing during the early days of the pandemic.

“Getting a person’s pulse via a webcam – now that’s cool. I can’t remember the number of times I thought to myself: ‘why didn’t I think of that?’.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).





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