Thus digital and AI will improve the lives of GPs and their patients

Thus digital and AI will improve the lives of GPs and their patients

The pandemic has put a strain on the health system and never before has digital support make a difference. From communication assistance to remote exams, here's how

No period like this past year has emphasized the importance of primary medical care facilities and general practitioners within the Italian health system and beyond. The so-called primary care is the first and fundamental control for the diagnosis and prevention of millions of people in every country; During the coronavirus pandemic, the industry was heavily overloaded by an increase in patient needs, but the scenario - however critical - has set the stage for a beneficial side effect.

As analysts say of CBInsights, the advent of Covid-19 has in fact accelerated the development and adoption of medical assistance solutions based on digital and artificial intelligence, which already promise a small revolution: lighten the workload that currently weighs on the shoulders of all primary care operators - from general care doctors to free choice pediatricians - while improving the quality and outcome of care offered to patients.

(Photo: Andresr / Getty Images) Communication assistance. Startups are appearing on the horizon that facilitate patient care in a coherent and continuous path, with the aid of digital means or by integrating a pre-existing offer of primary care with specialized services. There are solutions agreed with employers to offer employees live or remote medical visits available 24 hours a day but also psychological counseling, rehabilitation, coaching and much more; Some startups are moving directly with GPs to provide specialists who can be reached in a few clicks, ready to help them meet patients' needs.

Routine exams. Links to the Internet are making it easier for you to have regular check-ups more frequently, more thoroughly and not necessarily by going to the doctor's office. In the United States, thousands of totems have spread locally, within shopping centers, gyms and other points of interest, through which you can measure your vital parameters and share them with your doctor or pharmacist; others use similar tools to scan their bodies, then collect patients' clinical data and offer them personalized care plans and remote visits; devices such as the digital stethoscope effortlessly detect dangerous conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Lifestyle Improvement. Among the apps and digital platforms that can lighten the tasks of general practitioners, those aimed at guiding patients towards a more correct lifestyle abound. From wearable devices that help patients quit smoking to behavioral science apps for treating chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

Evaluation of symptoms. There is no shortage of active subjects in one of the most delicate roles in the activity of general practitioners, namely interacting with patients who complain of acute symptoms and possibly refer them to specialists and care facilities more appropriate for diagnosis and treatment. In this case, artificial intelligence-based chatbots are used to communicate with patients and understand with them if their conditions require the attention of a doctor, and in some cases put them in direct contact with a specialist in the flesh.

Visits on request. In the aspect of remote visits, there are now numerous startups already active all over the world. Some solutions focus precisely on virtual consultations with doctors via teleconference, while others offer the possibility of making live appointments; still others have teams of doctors to send to patients' homes.

Exams. Some companies offer patients a quick and easy way to collect the materials needed for laboratory tests without having to physically go to the doctor to get a prescription for tests. It occurred with the collection for the diagnosis of Covid-19 and other infections, with kits delivered at home to be sent to the analysis centers that publish the results online in respect of privacy.

Remote monitoring. In this area, digital technologies are destined to offer a significant contribution to the work of doctors. Continuous detection tools such as wearables allow and will allow to keep chronic conditions and post-operative parameters under control, but also to detect diseases with sporadic manifestations.

Compliance with prescriptions. Prescribed medications and therapies are of little use if not taken and followed to the letter. We need platforms that allow you to control and encourage or remember the taking of drugs by patients; Or apps that work as an electronic leaflet and monitor the progress of the continuation of therapy.

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