6. Improving access and convenience of health services for all
Although smart connected technology can support groups with special medical needs, the ultimate aim should be to support the health and well-being of all.
Technology that tracks health and lifestyle data, such as weight, blood pressure, or oral hygiene, can be further embedded into the home environment, for example via a smart mirror in the bathroom or mobile interfaces that display insights to support healthy living. Professional support will be at people’s fingertips, with telehealth services embedded into digital health applications that they can access from the comfort of their home.
In oral healthcare, for example, tele-dentistry allows people to consult dentists remotely by sharing images of their teeth via their smartphone – which opens the door to remote screening, diagnosis, consultation, treatment planning, and monitoring of disease progression. This holds particular promise for people who live in rural or isolated locations, where the nearest dentist may be many miles away.
COVID-19 has drastically accelerated adoption of tele-dentistry in the U.S., with many dental professionals switching to remote consultations to stay in touch with patients. Significantly, dental care providers can now submit claims and be reimbursed for patient consultations by telephone or livestreaming video. It may very well prove to be a tipping point for tele-dentistry – and it’s not hard to see how the pandemic could provide a boon to other forms of remote health consultation as well.