Alcimed Position paper – DIGITAL HEALTH IN TIMES OF PANDEMICS
The COVID-19 crisis will leave scars in multiple ways: the way society organizes itself, the way we work, the way we will re-stimulate our economies and above all the way we deliver care.
This coronavirus demonstrated that global preparedness was not sufficient to efficiently contain viral spreading, thus leading to massive societal measures that went far beyond medicine.
Should a new pandemic occur (and it probably will), we should not neglect any strategy to increase our ability to predict and respond to it. It is also a formidable opportunity to rethink care delivery strategy, independently of the potential threat of new pathogens.
In these reflexions for tomorrow, digital health must play a role. While it has been considered as hype (sometimes rightfully) for more than a decade, it has demonstrated its potential to support public health since January 2020. It helped to accelerate the implementation of a new and agile care organization. It helped during lockdown to maintain a minimum degree of care for patients, suspected patients and fragile populations. It helped to compensate for shortage of essential medical supplies. It helped to better know our adversary, tracing it, tracking it.
This crisis forced policy makers, healthcare professionals, patients and industrials alike to adopt digital tools in an emergency context. It is not reasonable to think that digital will solve everything in the future. But it is equally unreasonable to put it aside, now we know it can deliver some of its promises already today.
Let’s use this health crisis we are meddling with to prepare the braver, newer world of healthcare.