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With everyone now working from home, there’s rampant speculation that we could be looking at the end of the office as we know it. Will companies go back to their old ways once the pandemic passes? Or will the new public health reality force them to conduct their business over the internet?

Right now, nobody is entirely sure how things will pan out. It looks like there will be reduced demand for offices for some time to come. But interestingly, we now see the same thing in the realm of healthcare too.



Imagine this scenario. You have a bad back, and you decide to book an appointment with your doctor. When you show up to the clinic, he or she asks you to bend over and perform a few moves. From that, they determine the likely cause of your pain and prescribe treatment. That’s the way things have always been done. 

Going through that process, however, probably isn’t such a good idea in the new COVID-19 world. It seems silly going to the doctor’s office and risking infection if your physical presence isn’t absolutely required. When you have a bad back, the doctor doesn’t always need to touch you to discover the problem. Usually, a few well-placed questions will provide all the information they need to come to a diagnosis. 

Telemedicine, therefore, is going to become a lot more compelling for the vast majority of patients. Why bother travelling to a physical location when there is no need? All you do is fire up your video chat app and start a conversation, as you would in a regular consultation. It’s that easy. 

Taking healthcare online doesn’t end there either. We could be looking at a world in which people no longer need to go to a chemist to pick up their prescriptions. As Pharmacy Online proves, you can offer medications over the web, just as easily as books. These innovations could create an entirely hands-off approach to medicine - something that would bring down the costs and protect vulnerable patients. The ramifications of the current move online, therefore, could be profound. Rising healthcare costs may have met their match. We will have to wait and see.

 


The technology to move healthcare online has been around for quite some time now but remains underutilised. For many doctors, it still seems like something that will happen “sometime in the future.” It is not a consideration for patients right now, even though the technology is mature. 

Remote diagnostics are improving all the time too. It is not unimaginable for doctors to ship patients machines that they can use to quickly assess their health or send off samples in the post. Again, that would cut the risk of infection and make healthcare something you could do remotely. 



Perhaps it is not ideal from an aesthetic perspective. Most people would prefer to have somebody there with them when they’re ill. But it could become a necessity. And falling prices are a potential upside that the world can’t afford to ignore. 

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