First and foremost, let us understand the meaning of “telehealth.” The word ‘tele’ means “distance” and ‘health’ means “to heal”. Another synonym of telemedicine by Time Magazine as “healing by wire”. Telemedicine also refers to the practice of medicine at a distance whereby information technology is used to ensure the delivery of medical care services. By using mobile phones, laptops, and computers, healthcare providers and doctors can communicate with their patients virtually and write prescriptions or follow-ups. But, at the same time, with the rise of innovative technologies and the use of AI in healthcare — healthcare businesses have taken a different shape, from traditional styles to telehealth.
Practically, there is room for improvement in terms of wider access to the internet, more accessible cybersecurity technology, electronic health records, smart phones and connected devices, remote monitoring tools and so on and so forth. However, the use of social media like Instagram and TikTok by healthcare workers for spreading public awareness about health-related issues has also been seen on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic. And, of course, in Nepal, although the use of AI in healthcare products is still in a preliminary phase, its wide utility and rapid development are already seen in western countries.
The technologies in health don’t only make life more comfortable, but they were also developed to solve an existing problem first hand. Having said that, when you look at telehealth, it was developed many years ago. However, it drastically took place in the COVID-19 pandemic while realizing the necessity of telehealth services. Quite interestingly, before the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, usage of telemedicine in the United States was about 8 percent only. Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, a stark increase of 683 percent has been observed in usage of telemedicine.
As far as we can see, over the past decade, telehealth, a border term to define all medical services and health education digitally, has grown steadily as an industry. According to IBISWord, the industry’s revenue has grown 34.7 percent from 2014 to 2019. And, the market size in 2019 was around 14 billion dollars, but it’s projected to grow to more than 175 billion dollars by 2026. In the context of Nepal, according to Statista, its revenue is projected to reach 93.71 million dollars. Usually, in Nepal, people often say that the medical field is a field of goodwill and should not be seen as a money-generating field only. This sort of narrow mindset must be developed at a time when we’re practicing telehealth services at large.
Indeed, we’re much interested in telehealth practices and their new concepts of healthcare businesses, which are happening all over the world. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the most fascinating subject matter in the world. Most tellingly, our bookish knowledge as well as practical knowledge is equally important because they make us identify problems, no matter what they may be. From virtual life to normal life, everything is changing so fast as we speak. Unsurprisingly, the role of management has also been changing day by day. That being said, what about artificial intelligence’s future for tomorrow?
Have you ever heard about Sofia (robot)? Sofia is the first artificial robot who has become a Saudi Arabian citizen for the first time in the history of robots. Thus, AI has become more relevant in management than ever before. At writing, with the help of AI-powered software, one can interpret the facts and figures more quickly. However, AI does not feel the same emotion as human beings do. After all, humans (managers) use their knowledge of organizational history and culture. Similarly, they are more likely to show empathy and ethical inclination, too.
On top of this, managers should always think of AI as a kind of friend that will recognize that there’s no need to race against a machine. Research shows that 78 percent of the surveyed managers believe that they will trust the advice of intelligent systems in making business decisions in the future. By simply asking the investment-related questions in plain English language like, “What sectors perform the best three months before and after a certain price hike in the market?” and get answers within minutes.
Therefore, it clearly reveals that such technologies could support individuals and teams of managers in assessing decision consequences and exploring new dimensions. Not only will AI augment managers’ work, but also will enable managers to interact with intelligent machines in collegial ways. So, in terms of social networking, coaching and collaborating, AI has played a significant role when it comes to reaching out in a world where many of the administrative and analytical tasks needed to be performed in a smarter way. AI will bring new criteria for success capabilities, experimentation, networking, information sharing, learning and decision-making effectiveness.
In Nepal, however, telehealth still has a long way to go when it comes to healing, caring, and saving lives. Most importantly, in lower-income countries like Nepal, telehealth effectively reduces transport costs and health consultation expenses. Likewise, additional benefits of telehealth are that they do not require multi-infrastructure set-up, low-cost operations, all specialist availability on a single platform and it saves time and energy. Meanwhile, in remote areas, telehealth is just like a gift, and the distance factor is completely wiped out so that patients can receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic.