Health and technology: a synergy that accelerated with the pandemic and is projected into the future

The pandemic was a before and after also in terms of technology and health, and it changed the way patients relate to doctors, especially with the rise of telemedicine. “We have been climbing in an orderly and progressive manner since 2015 with remote assistance. Thanks to that, when the pandemic began, we were prepared to care for our patients,” explained Mariano Allende Iriarte, OSDE Emergency Medical Deputy Manager.

The executive specifies that, as of today, The company has carried out 933,000 virtual consultations, with a projection of exceeding one million by the end of the year. “More than 97% have a very high satisfaction rate,” added Allende Iriarte during the second chapter of Wellness and Health, organized by LA NACION, where, together with other specialists in the sector, he gave his opinion and vision regarding the Argentine potential and region in the world of health.

As defined by Leandro Zuza, associate director of the Integrated Solutions Business Unit at Becton Dickinson Cono Sur, a company dedicated to innovating in the world of diagnostics, The pandemic left two important changes: a new way of working and a great acceleration in terms of technology. “We had to develop in a very short time a test that generally takes years of research, through our technology,” explained the executive, referring to the PCR tests that the firm put into operation in just 45 days in the health system.

Mariano Allende Iriarte, OSDE Emergency Medical Deputy Manager
Mariano Allende Iriarte, OSDE Emergency Medical Deputy ManagerChiara Malavolta

In turn, Pablo Santos, leader of the Philips South Region Healthcare Informatics Business, explained that In technology and medical informatics, Argentina has always been a pioneer in what is Latin America. “The pandemic uncovered many of the situations that institutions suffered to reach their patients due to a lack of digital maturity, so based on that, it made the market much more permeable”, illustrated a bioengineer by profession, in dialogue with Ignacio Federico, LA NACION journalist and moderator of the panel.

Santos explained that the main objective of the company is focused on health technology and medical informatics. They started operations in 2019 with electronic medical record software, so the pandemic finds them one step ahead. “We were able to help a lot to accompany the institutions in the response they had to give to their patients,” he adds.

Pablo Santos, Philips South Region Health IT Business Leader
Pablo Santos, Philips South Region Health IT Business LeaderChiara Malavolta

How is the day after the pandemic? “Definitely telemedicine is here to stay. Today we are at 65% virtual visits and 35% face-to-face. This does not replace the doctor who has to come to your house for more serious emergencies, but our challenge is to continue here. For people who do not find the virtual system friendly, we also understood that more communication channels had to be opened: telephone, WhatsApp and even a mobile platform”, explained Allende Iriarte, from Osde.

Technology innovation plays a key role in health. “An early diagnosis implies a 70% probability of survival at five years, and a late diagnosis, 58%. The impact is very strong, we are talking about lives in the middle”, says Zuza, who indicates that they have technology to make early diagnoses, which can distinguish between sick or healthy cells, in a matter of hours.

What technological challenges remain in telemedicine and to what other segments is the technology expanding? “The challenges are always people and technology, so what we have to do as health institutions is to see how we build that bridge between those two points. In particular, in telemedicine we are working to expand access to health, especially in Latin America, where 30% of the population does not have access to quality medical care. In that sense, we try democratize access to health. In addition, today we are also working on being able to speed up diagnoses with technology that allows it to be done regardless of where the patient or the professional indicated to attend to that case is, ”said Santos.

Leandro Zuza, associate director of the Integrated Solutions Business Unit of Becton Dickinson Cono Sur
Leandro Zuza, associate director of the Integrated Solutions Business Unit of Becton Dickinson Cono SurChiara Malavolta

The electronic prescription It was another of the great advances of recent years. “It was a radical change: paper is not used, access is 7×24 and we have consensus with all pharmacy lines to make the process easier for members. It is clearly a benefit from where you look at it, from an environmental, social and economic point of view”, reveals Allende Iriarte, who reaffirms the company’s commitment to progress on this point.

Regarding health trends, the Becton Dickinson executive explained the importance of timely diagnosis: “It has to do with certainty, that is, with speed, but without losing precision. Also a very strong trend in the world is to take the diagnosis to the patient, and not the patient to the laboratory. Decentralization in access in terms of benefits is very strong in the health system, but for this we also need connectivity”.

The future of health in terms of technology triggers new behaviors. “Something that is here to stay is consumerization of health: patients want to consume their data and what it does is help you to be more engaged with your treatment and understand it better. In short, it has a positive impact, which is to engage the patient”, closed Santos.

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