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Cardiac care advancements in the era of COVID-19

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Dr David Albert, founder and chief medical officer, AliveCor explains how new technologies like telecardiology has played a pivotal role in cardiac care in the COVID-19 era

Over the last few decades, the Indian medical industry has made major advancements due to the influx and ongoing use of new technologies – technologies that impact every area of our daily lives. Imagining our lives without computers, smartphones and connected devices is near impossible today. And with the propagation of smart-enabled devices, telemedicine has emerged as a leading industry. Telemedicine is bridging enormous geographical barriers in India, which have historically been a major obstacle in the delivery of convenient, accessible healthcare. Further, the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has enabled clinicians sitting in urban hospitals to provide quality care to patients residing in the remotest part of the country, all in real time.

Today, as we battle a global pandemic, leveraging various remote patient monitoring technologies to reduce patient contact has never been more important. In fact, individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases, are at even higher risk of COVID-19 infections and its complications. Doctors and patients together have turned to digital health solutions to serve these populations, with the goal of deploying medical-grade technology that is as easy to use as it is reliable.

The pandemic has also emphasised how healthcare isn’t as accessible remotely as it should be. With ongoing social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many patients find it hard to get even the routine healthcare they need for fear of increasing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Under such circumstances, telecardiology has played a pivotal role. The paradigm shift is being driven by leading companies, including AliveCor, who are introducing medical-grade, easy-to-use, technology that makes it seamless for patients to manage their heart health at home, and for their physicians to monitor them. The use of these digital health technologies in partnership with physician oversight, has enabled patients to receive remote, real-time diagnosis and treatment for a vast array of heart conditions.

In India, where cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of mortality, the population is sure to benefit from the introduction of at-home ECG devices, and especially so during such challenging times. While COVID-19 will one day be in the rear-view mirror, I believe the demand for telehealth services is here to stay. We’re seeing patients and physicians rely on digital health more than ever. The health crisis has served as a catalyst for the adoption of technological advancements that will continue to drive improvements in healthcare well beyond the pandemic, and spark even more innovation in remote care.

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