Which contactless tech will stick around post-pandemic? 4 hospital CIOs weigh in

Hospitals' COVID-19 infection control efforts include a bevvy of contactless technologies to reduce virus transmission. Below are four hospital CIOs' thoughts about which tools will remain in use once the pandemic is declared over and which ones will be phased out.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited lightly for clarity and style.

Bobbie Byrne, MD. CIO at Advocate Aurora Health (Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill.). E-check in prior to face to face visits will stick around. It is so easy to take a picture of your driver’s license and insurance card or complete any clinical information on the app. No more clipboards in the waiting room! Virtual visits for low-acuity urgent care (rashes, urinary tract infections, etc.) will also stick around, as well as acute care telemedicine. Long used for stroke care, it will continue to expand into other areas where specialty physicians are scarce and patients require care now.

All the symptom checker apps will go away. We know that a temperature is not a sensitive indicator of someone who might be sick. Some of the video technologies for patients to connect to loved ones at home will also go away. With lifted visiting restrictions, loved ones will be back to the physical bedside.

Zafar Chaudry, MD. Senior Vice President & CIO at Seattle Children's. Contactless technologies have proven themselves in healthcare, such as Internet of Things-based systems, patient check-ins, payments or data collection processes. These technologies will remain as part of the new normal of hybrid healthcare services post-pandemic. However, there still needs to be more work undertaken on resolving issues such as security, the need for liability regulations for contactless services, international standardization of contactless healthcare services and how we address equity issues for those patients who do not have smartphone devices, access to high-speed internet or mobile data services.

Patrick Anderson. CIO at City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.). Our patients and physicians are adopting a hybrid care model that includes both in-person and telemedicine visits via Hope Virtual. City of Hope will continue to advance our telemedicine technology and operations. Telemedicine can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare disparities resulting from distance to high-quality healthcare institutions and lack of access to specialty doctors.

Sheila Sanders. CIO at Emory Healthcare (Atlanta). I think Zoom meetings, remote work and telemedicine are here to stay. I look forward to phasing out our masks.


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