CLEVELAND — The coronavirus has been part of nearly every part of our lives for the last 10 months, changing how we think about health, healthcare, and medicine.
As the COVID vaccine becomes available to Ohioans 80 years or older, OhioX is starting its “Future of Tour” with healthcare. The larger series focuses on “the future of industries and sectors across Ohio,” according to the organization’s website. “We’ll talk with leading technologists and innovators to see how they’re building Ohio’s future.”
At a bus stop in Lakewood, Patricia Holden is skeptical about interacting with the healthcare industry right now
“I’m scared to go see a doctor, especially in the hospital,” said Holden. “I’m cautious of everybody.”
And yet, experts say staying away from Doctors is what puts people like Holden at risk for developing medical conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID and getting sick.
“The traditional models of care delivery were upended,” said University Hospitals Ventures President David Sylvan.
That’s why he says the coronavirus has changed how we’ll interact with our doctors and hospital systems in the future, even if we don’t know exactly how quite yet.
The future of healthcare, says Axuall Founder Charlie Lougheed, needs to take Holden’s fears into account.
“Consumers want convenience, they want speed, and one of the things that we found out, that everybody found in the space, was Telehealth,” said Lougheed.
Axuall is a medical start up that helps medical staff get into new positions faster, which is important when hospitals are handling surging caseloads during a pandemic.
He says COVID taught the industry that some of the red tape that existed before might not be necessary in the future.
“I think we have to meet the patient where they’re at,” said University Hospitals Ventures President David Sylvan. “I think the old model of expecting and accepting that patients are going to walk through our front door is a model that is doomed to fail.
UH Ventures gets new technology and inventions into the hands of caregivers, and Sylvan says COVID is making them do it better.
“The pandemic has really forced hospital systems to double down on critical issues, like affordability, access, and price transparency,” said Sylvan.
Those improvements could mean new technology that helps drive prices down. Sensors that patients wear or have in their homes might one day allow doctors to monitor health, give better preventative care, and keep patients healthier in the first place. That kind of work might reduce the negative impacts of disease.
It could also be important given the mental toll the pandemic has taken on the general public and healthcare workers.
Sylvan says before the pandemic, healthcare systems expected a few hundred telehealth visits where they expect tens of thousands of the same visits now. Many of those, according to Sylvan, are expected to be mental healthcare visits, especially by frontline workers.
“I think the biggest thing that we’ll see is a multi-channel approach to healthcare,” said Lougheed. “You can get it digitally, or you can get it in your home, or your can get it at your business.”
No matter what going to the doctor looks like, Holden says what’s important to her is how she feels talking to one.
“Listen to the patients, give great advice, and just be there for us when we need them,” said Holden.
“Consumers want convenience, they want speed, and one of the things that we found out, that everybody found in the space was Telehealth,” said Axuall Founder and CEO Charlie Lougheed.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.