Virtual doctors and video appointments: Get ready for the rise of digital healthcare

 
Kate Newhouse
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Personalised healthcare is here (Source: Getty)

Healthcare matters, fundamentally, to everyone across the globe.

Understandably, it is generally a risk-averse sector – lives are at stake. It is easy to see why this area is relatively resistant to change and innovation.

This is a challenge I have been countering through the application of digital healthcare.

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Digital healthcare can mean different things to different people, but in its broadest sense it describes the use of information technologies to improve the delivery of medical services. Computer programmes, apps, and mobile devices can all be used to better care for people’s physical and mental health.

Doctors and patients alike can use such technologies to store and share better medical records, have virtual appointments, track and act on health data, make health predictions, and communicate across professional disciplines.

As in many sectors, digital innovation in healthcare is about adapting to new global challenges. Established systems in hospitals, care homes and clinics can struggle to keep pace with growing populations, increased life expectancy, obesity rates, and long term health conditions.

Put simply, more people are living longer, less healthy lives than ever before. Digital technology can help meet the resultant demand increase for more personalised healthcare faster and more efficiently.

Delivery of primary healthcare, for example, is already being radically improved by businesses such as Doctor Care Anywhere, which I helped to build as chief executive. It’s a digital healthcare company that helps thousands of families access personalised clinical care, no matter what time of day or where they are.

It delivers an accessible and patient-centric digital doctor and healthcare management service. For example, we provide virtual GP appointments, enabling our patients to see a doctor of their choice via video securely through our website or apps, without having to travel to a surgery or clinic. It’s a great way to see a doctor for people who are busy with work or childcare responsibilities, who travel abroad, are less mobile, or whose local surgery is busy or hard to access.

Not only does this save resources, but it gives patients the opportunity to talk through their issue at a time and place that suits them.

Over the last four years, we have been able to take Doctor Care Anywhere from a concept to an operational global business, serving employees and their families of over 120 corporate clients, through relationships with AXA PPP Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Legal & General, and Aetna International.

Being part of this level of transformative change is awe-inspiring. Doctor Care Anywhere now delivers a clinical services to over 100,000 people in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago – and this number is set to increase tenfold over the next couple of years.

This offers an exemplary model of the ways in which digital innovation has already positively impacted thousands of people’s daily lives, and how it can continue to do so. Embracing this kind of disruptive innovation can enable people to live healthier and happier lives, for longer.

Kate Newhouse won the Innovator Award at the 2017 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards, launched to shine a light on individuals whose achievements will inspire the next generation of talent in the UK technology industry. The 2018 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards winners will be announced on 8 February 2018, following the everywoman in Tech Forum at London Hilton on Park Lane – a one-day event attended by the brightest business leaders in tech and some of the finest motivators and professionals in career development.

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