Saolta and World Health Organisation explore the future of digital healthcare

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The Saolta Hospital Group and the World Health Organisation recently partnered to dicuss how digital technologies will impact the future of healthcare.

A public lecture on Digital Health with Prof Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway and Mr Bernardo Mariano Jr, WHO Chief Information Officer is now available to view at: https://youtu.be/h9JvfPDRt98

Prof O’Keefe, who chaired the discussion, said that as connected technology becomes more ubiquitous, more services will be able to be conducted remotely.

“Equipment such as wifi-enabled blood pressure monitors, weighing scales, glucometers and thermometers will transform how chronic disease is managed, whereby a clinician will be able to access this data and have rich virtual consultations with patients about how to improve their health.”

This has already been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as restrictions have forced hospitals to change the way they operate, including with virtual outpatient appointments.

These virtual clinics have continued alongside face to face appointments, even after in person medical services resumed this year.

“Our strategy is to continue to be leaders in this new paradigm of healthcare delivery that will improve patient care,” Prof O’Keefe said.

In its strategy for the use of digital technologies in national healthcare systems the WHO is pursuing goals of: global collaboration; implementation; strengthening governance; and patient centred care.

Mr Bernardo Mariano, the Director of Digital Health for World Health Organisation, believes that healthcare in this decade will become like banking.

He said, “Most interactions will be done online, digital to digital, but occasionally you will have to go into the premises physically.”