It’s time to become an expert for the survival of your business.
Since I co-founded doc.ai, I have spent a lot of time talking with business leaders from the healthcare industry, but with the arrival of the pandemic my conversations have expanded to leaders and CEOs outside of healthcare, from all industries.
The common theme in our conversations is this: since the COVID-19 pandemic started, they’ve had to become healthcare experts for their employees and customers while learning more about virology, testing, and vaccination than their core business needs. I want to acknowledge that making health-related decisions during a vulnerable time, such as a pandemic, can be extremely challenging. This is not unlike a person who is suddenly diagnosed with a serious health condition and needs to learn the healthcare system overnight. My personal story as a caregiver, which led to the creation of doc.ai, is shared here.
Our norms around health are changing
Super star entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are sharing their test results on Twitter and asking the medical community to explain the nuances of false positives and negatives in rapid testing.
Patients have been using social networks for years to ask questions about their health conditions, especially the idiopathic ones. Suddenly, it’s the norm to crowdsource health questions on social media. It’s the norm to use telehealth. It’s the norm to decentralize, scale and accelerate clinical research virtually.
Acceleration in digital health transformation
I am amazed by these profound changes and how the trends we’ve been trying to push for the last 15 years in healthcare are accelerating. There is no way back and this is good news for patients and caregivers like me.
According to a Definitive Healthcare survey, 23% of health executives agree that the trend that will have the most significant impact on the healthcare industry over the next year is telehealth. The point of care delivery market will make a massive move to digital. This will make personalized health and chronic care management more accessible, comfortable and affordable.
The development of multiple vaccines for a pandemic in less than 24 months is incredible compared to the typical 10-15 year development cycle. Regulators have updated their concept of emergency. What used to take years is now only taking months. Every chronic disease is its own pandemic when it’s your disease. The acceleration of research is reaching a new bar.
Doctors and patients alike have previously looked at our health only a few times per year, mostly when we were sick. Now, diagnosis is becoming a longitudinal function and combining with an interconnected 360-degree view of total health.
Every company is now a healthcare company
This means that every CEO, no matter what industry, and every community, no matter what sector, need to think about the healthcare component of their organization.
For example, Airlines passenger volumes have dropped 70% according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and airlines are making unprecedented investments into the safety and wellbeing of their customers and workers. Airline CEOs have had to prioritize safety concerns over selling seats. Overnight they had to figure out how to verify employee health status and manage protected information, such as symptoms, locations, social exposure, testing results, and soon vaccination status. Dealing with health data at scale is never a small task, especially while in survival mode for their core business.
COVID-19 is showing us in plain sight how our healthcare system is inadequate for the modern reality. Every single major healthcare company is taking the route of becoming a data-driven platform that can spin out new digital products and services.
The fluidity of health data is becoming a reality while a tsunami of billion IoT devices fueled by 5G arrives to challenge how we manage identity and privacy.
The technology is ready, the regulators are ready, and the people are ready. All the rest is the mindset and capacity to survive, pivot, and create.