IDC Canada Releases Study on How Critical Networks Provide Critical Care During the COVID-19 Crisis

International Data Corporation (IDC) Canada today released a groundbreaking report on communications and healthcare titled, Critical Networks Provide Critical Care: Role of Communication Networks to Treat and Prevent COVID-19 (IDC# CA45063420).

This study examines the growing appreciation of the critical importance of communication networks and wireless healthcare-based applications to more safely treat patients and to adopt novel public health measures to efficiently contain the global COVID-19 pandemic. The urgent imperative to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus has accelerated the use of communications for virtual care and deployment of new wireless applications in medicine and health which is already resulting in sweeping changes to the organization and provision of healthcare.

We examine developments and implications of these technologies to fight COVID-19 in several areas including:

  • Telemedicine, which has gained a huge uptake for “forward triage,” or patient screening, and is becoming so widespread that it will permanently transform healthcare organization.
  • Home and virtual care mobile health apps as adjuncts to remote patient monitoring tools that enable expanded self-management and promise to decrease the use of more costly and scarce healthcare resources.
  • Public health with deployment of new digital contact-tracing tools to contain and prevent further transmission of the coronavirus enabled by mobile apps and wireless data collection to support public health workers.
  • Disease surveillance, which is improved by the new emerging field of digital epidemiology that combines computer science, artificial intelligence, and telecom data with medicine, biology, social science, and statistics to better understand and predict the course of the coronavirus pandemic and other infectious diseases.

The report also offers guidance and advice for communications service providers, governments, and professional medical bodies on this front.

“The urgent imperative to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus has had an unanticipated immediate consequence on the delivery of healthcare in most countries that will have both permanent and beneficial impacts,” says study author Lawrence Surtees, vice president of Communications Research and principal analyst at IDC Canada.

“The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has done more in only two months to promote acceptance of digital virtual care technologies by both large medical institutions and individual practitioners than decades of proselytizing by proponents,” Mr. Surtees said. “Despite the role of communication network and digital technologies such as the use of innovative mobile apps and wireless data in public health to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19, there is an urgent need for improved cooperation between governments, the ICT sector, and researchers for more effective global surveillance of humans infected with COVID-19.”

This research report was published into the Canadian Communications Market Drivers and Strategies program and the IDC Health Insights: Canadian eHealth research service.

For more information about this report, the Canadian Communications Market Drivers and Strategies research service, or to arrange a one on one interview with the report author, please contact Cristina Santander at