The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered several changes in how healthcare systems are run globally. The focus has shifted from relying exclusively on brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities to digital avenues that could help deliver care virtually. Telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and out-patient care are some of the avenues that have been explored.
Over the last two years, there has been a growing realisation that the digitalisation of healthcare is an undeniable reality that must be embraced and utilised. Digitalisation increases operational efficiency, provides better access to care and offers patient convenience. However, digitalisation requires careful planning and implementation of functional changes that must consider factors like interoperability, culture, and technology. Moreover, equity and universal access to digital care need to be considered. A dystopic world where only the well-off have access to the latest technologies and precision medicine is a possibility. European health systems need to do better to minimise this risk, including using the digital to promote health promotion and disease prevention.
Healthcare will be different. New kids on the block will emerge. We need to adapt and evolve into a new digital reality or become obsolete. In this issue, our contributors discuss successful digitalisation pathways in healthcare and explore best practices for successful implementation, highlight strategies to ensure this transition can occur smoothly, and discuss the challenges and barriers that must be addressed.
We hope you will enjoy this issue. As always, your feedback is welcome.