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Jakarta Post

Technology and the changing nature of patient care

  • Inforial

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta, Indonesia   /   Tue, September 29, 2020   /   06:00 am
Technology and the changing nature of patient care . (./.)

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a future where technology plays an even bigger role in our daily lives. Interestingly, the incorporation of these technologies into how hospitals view their patients may reintroduce old, trusted practices into modern patient care.

Accessibility to quality healthcare remains a major issue in Indonesia. For many, the logistics associated with reaching hospitals and clinics are a daily struggle. Aside from those needing care for their own medical needs, many Indonesians are primary caregivers for family members who may be elderly, disabled, or suffer from chronic illnesses. Often, these persons must take entire days off from work for hospital visits.

Simultaneously, doctors are faced with the reality that many persons are unable to receive initial treatment, or fail to show up for follow-up treatment, due to time, energy, and financial constraints. This means many people remain untreated or receive insufficient care. The latest lockdown in Jakarta due to the COVID-19 pandemic is having another dire impact on healthcare provision. Hospital groups have to contend with public opinion that it is unsafe to visit hospitals out of fear of contracting the coronavirus. In doing so, many people aren’t receiving the treatment they need. Thankfully, the answer to the issues faced by both medical service providers and recipients may be found in history and technology.

In the 1930s, house calls by doctors or nurses represented 40 percent of all patient care. By the 1980s, it was only 0.6 percent. The reasons for this drastic drop are plentiful, but center on beliefs that medical treatment must occur in the confines of a fixed establishment where medical resources are at the caretaker’s disposal. However, research at the University of California has shown that a more holistic care model, where home care is incorporated and even plays a pivotal role in patient treatment, may lead to lower rates of readmission and higher quality of life for the patient.

Increasingly, prominent voices in medical circles believe in the value of innovative telemedicine and home care models. Dr. Roy Panusunan, an internationally acclaimed Indonesian physician, says that “telemedicine and app-based healthcare holds great promise for the future of patient support.” He adds that “Our patients will ultimately reap the benefits of the various stakeholders [including hospitals and health-tech firms] recognizing the value of collaboration to create a tech-integrated health care system.”

A holistic approach to patient care, appreciating the necessity of looking after patients in their homes, is almost as old as medicine itself. In Ancient Greece, Asclepius and Hippocrates focused medical practice on the need for harmony between the individual, his social and natural environment. After all, most patients leave hospitals and spend most of their time at home.

The solutions to the challenges faced by people struggling with access to healthcare may well come from health-tech companies like aido health. Through its partnerships with leading healthcare providers in Indonesia, such as Siloam Hospitals, Bethsaida Hospitals and NK Health, aido health unites excellent medical services into a single, easy-to-use app. The app gives users access to video teleconsultations and homecare services with leading Indonesian doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.

Even President Joko Widodo has expressed his support for the health-tech industry, stating in a recent cabinet meeting that “medical consultations through telemedicine should be enhanced so that contact between doctors and patients can be limited.”

Optimistic about the government's support and noting the importance of incorporating health-tech solutions into the services of health facilities, Jyoti Nagrani, aido health’s VP of Operations and Partnerships says “aido health acts as a digital bridge to encourage holistic medical care. We connect leading hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners with the homes of patients and their families.”

The Gerontological Society of America has found that telemedicine and homecare in various forms can improve the care of the elderly, disabled and chronically ill. Specifically, as it pertains to better diabetic management, better care of dementia patients, better wound care and blood pressure control. Meanwhile, the Kaiser Permanente research institute has found that video-based consultations between doctors and patients were overwhelmingly well-received by patients, as it led to cost-saving, reduced stress and greater comfort.

By choosing the telemedicine and homecare services of aido health, patients don’t have to worry about the stresses of visiting hospitals. The video teleconsultations offered by doctors on the app can provide services to patients within the comfort of their homes and simplify doctor-patient communication. Furthermore, homecare services from physiotherapists and nurses mean vulnerable people need not be exposed to the fears they may have over visits outside of their homes.

While doctors are open to the benefits it has for the patients and their families, they’re also seeing a marked difference in the quality of their interactions with patients. The aido health app strengthens the communications and information channels between medical staff and patients, for the betterment of the care relationship. Medical professionals can interact far more effectively through the app with their patients. So too, through home visits, nurses and therapists have a better understanding of the day-to-day reality of their patients. They’re able to see and make recommendations to patients and their families on how to set up their homes for optimal care.

Through aido health, homecare is brought back into the homes of patients. This return to a holistic, integrated care model with clear communication channels may prove to be beneficial for everyone involved.

If you’re interested in finding out more about health-tech solutions for patient care or partnering with aido health, visit www.aido.id or reach out via e-mail at [email protected].