Technology for health

Covid-19 has brought many changes into our everyday lives, not least the need to adapt to a digital, online world. It has been a sudden and steep learning curve for most of us.

Looking back over the past 18 months, what has changed and what are we using differently now to navigate health professional services in a time of unpredictible lockdowns?

Telehealth consultations

Telehealth is term used to describe health care delivery with the aid of technology, which includes telephone, video, web-based portals, emails or text messaging. Concerns about the spread of Covid-19 has increased the demand for telehealth visits over a short period of time.

The government recognised the need for people to continue seeing their health professionals during lockdown and business closures. Temporary Medicare items were introduced to help services such as doctors, allied health, mental health and nurse practitioners, deliver telehealth or videoconferencing to patients. While many people prefer face to face visits, this option provided a great alternative.

Electronic prescriptions

Prescribers can print an electronic prescription in the form of a token and fax/email to your pharmacy with your consent. The pharmacist will then scan the token or fax/email and dispense the electronic prescription.

Any prescription written before December 31st 2021 with existing repeats will continue to be honoured after this date. The script must remain with the pharmacist until it runs out or expires.

Apps for diabetes

Diabetes Apps are available on both iPhone and Android phones to assist in your diabetes management. Apps can be used in different ways, such as a log book for blood glucose readings, carbohydrate, food, medication and weight.

Diabetes apps vary from being completely free up to around $10.

Other technology

Besides all the latest diabetes technology such as insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring systems, flash monitoring, smart watches and smart phones, other technologies have also been used more widely of late.

New trends have helped build a more resilient society in times of change, and are likely to stay.

Online shopping

I know personally online shopping has increased in our household! It was inevitable that people would need to purchase groceries, medicines, and supplies online to physically stay away from shops and stores during lockdown. Shopping online helps to promote safety while enabling you to see better options and potentially save money.

Remote work

Many people have been asked by employers to work from home. Remote work includes technology such as virtual private networks, virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools and facial recognition technologies.

Connecting remotely has also allowed families and friends to catch up in the virtual world via Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, Google Hangout and Skype. If this is something you haven’t tried before, give it a go to feel more connected to the outside world.

Digital and contactless payments

Contactless payments can be in the form of cards or e-wallets and can be used rather than handling cash. Digital payments will allow you to make online purchases and payments of goods, services and any bills that come in. This is not something new but in recent times has been an effective way to stop the handling of cash and potential spread of Covid-19.

QR codes

These codes are everywhere, from websites, shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants to check-in points at venues. QR stands for quick response and they have quickly become a regular part of life for most of us.

While governments may be winding up their use of QR codes as part of their COVID-19 response, the codes seem to have taken hold in other parts of our lives. Your GP can now send a routine prescription to your phone for the chemist to process. They are also becomming common in cafes and restaurants for you to download amenu and ordere from.

 

Whether you love technology or loath it, it’s here to stay because it plays an important role in our society. Remember, help is avaialble so you can start using technology to your advantage. Organisations, such as National Seniors Australia, can help you get online with devices and Apps, or just teach you the basics of technology and how you can use it in your life. Call 1300 76 50 50 for more information.

Keywords: COVID-19technology

Join our community of over 33,000 people living with diabetes