Brazil: For more than a year, the world has been suffering the serious consequences of the pandemic, which, at least here, still shows no signs that it will cool down anytime soon. The health and economic crisis has hit hospital capacity and public finances, which are suffering to cope with the growing number of cases of infection and hospitalizations.
The situation of unprecedented chaos experienced in health today reflects, to some extent, the need for constant vigilance and permanent improvement of techniques, procedures and tools that allow medicine to operate to its fullest. In this sense, there is no doubt that technology and connectivity can play a fundamental role.
First, digital technologies are vital tools to help people deal with requests to stay at home and social distance requirements during the pandemic. They are essential to support health systems, not only through telemedicine and Covid-19 tracking applications, but also through Big Data and artificial intelligence analysis for mobility patterns, epidemiological models and contact tracking.
For example, Conexis, an entity that represents Telecom operators, makes the Heat Map available to States and Municipalities, which helps public entities to monitor movement and agglomerations in times of lockdown.
The advantages are diverse and also reach the Treasury, which certainly receive relief due to the savings generated in several of these modalities. The arrival of 5G in the country even has the potential to leverage all of these applications. It is possible to estimate savings of many millions of reais in the cost of the Unified Health System (SUS), since remote assistance and the possibility of making complex surgeries at a distance allow the reduction of several expenses that exist today.
The subject has been moving, for obvious reasons, with more speed recently. The World Bank’s Global Digital Development Practice has identified more than 300 government and private sector initiatives worldwide, in which the response to coronavirus encompasses actions in digital infrastructure and digital services not only for health, but also for other key sectors.
According to Deloitte, one of the main effects resulting from Covid-19 is precisely the leap that telemedicine has made in medical consultations based on video. The pandemic not only demanded the elimination of regulatory barriers to these visits, but it also helped consumers, especially those over 65, to better understand new technologies and leverage video call applications.
Deloitte estimates that the percentage of teleconsultations will increase to 5% globally in 2021
This means reaching more than 400 million medical consultations by video, which is five times the level of 2019, representing US $ 25 billion in value in the health market.
Such numbers represent that telemedicine has advanced in five months, which was expected to evolve in five years. To give you an idea, 46% of Americans now use remote tools, up from 11% last year. In addition, the practice contributes to equalizing access to doctors, breaking down barriers and balancing inequalities.
With so many evident benefits and in view of the urgency that the matter requires, it remains for the Country to prioritize public policies that favor the development of technology in the health sector and that allow the population to enjoy the best solutions available. Today and always.