COVID-19 Pandemic: Now is the Time to Embrace Healthcare Innovation

COVID-19 Pandemic: Now is the Time to Embrace Healthcare Innovation Blog

Healthcare Providers Should be Prepared Beyond COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we live and work, bringing unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, as well as opportunities. Within the healthcare sector, we have seen a shift in the way hospitals, healthcare providers, doctors and patients – the whole ecosystem – has adapted to these changed circumstances. 

Though we are facing an unknown healthcare future, there is huge promise. In the last few months the speed of change in the healthcare sector has been extraordinary. From vaccine and drug development, to regulatory change and the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence, telemedicine and alternative treatment approaches, new healthcare inventions and innovations are flourishing.

In this blog, I want to share with you some of the shared goals and considerations hospitals and healthcare providers are seeking when adopting new innovations and how our flagship product, ProSense®, was able to deliver on this promise.

The World has Changed – Are We Ready?

We are entering a new healthcare world during and beyond COVID-19. Hospitals and clinics need to ensure they are ready to meet this new challenge. Whether we wanted this change or not – COVID-19 has ensured that care has been transformed into something more virtual, more remote and more instant.

Patients and doctors are now engaging with healthcare brands instantly on the internet and social media, as they find new ways to interact and receive care. Rather than waiting for care to come to them they are searching out solutions – they are knowledgeable players in the care process. They share their thoughts and respond immediately between cities and across the globe! Just look at our IceCure Facebook page – we share clinical outcomes and progress, and patients seeking cancer therapies then share this at lightning speed among their friends and loved ones!  

The world is now a small place, and this has never been clearer than during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has pushed the healthcare sector to respond to growing trends in healthcare consumerism and force its adoption of remote care faster.

It is now critical that healthcare systems embrace innovation to address this changing landscape and thrive! 

For us at IceCure, it has been a journey of discovery to see these changes on the front line, as leading hospitals and clinics adopt new innovations to better fight COVID-19 while also enabling quality of care for patients. 

So how does your hospital or institution get prepared for this changing future? How do you ensure you adopt an innovative technology that works now and also post COVID-19? How can you know what is the right innovative technology?  

3 Shared Goals All Healthcare Innovations Should Meet for the World Today and Beyond COVID-19

At IceCure, we have been privileged to work with key opinion leaders and leading hospitals and medical institutions throughout the world who have adopted new approaches, strategies and innovative technologies, including ProSense®, to better meet the new COVID-19 restrictions.  

ProSense® is a minimally-invasive liquid-nitrogen-based cryoablation system, that destroys tumors by freezing. It has received US FDA 510k and CE Mark approvals and is considered safe, effective and innovative.

ProSense® is one of many outstanding healthcare solutions available today. The biggest challenge for hospitals and healthcare providers is knowing which to choose. This comes down to some simple, shared goals that all innovations must achieve, especially during and post COVID-19.

1.     Help healthcare institutions reduce strain on medical resources and lower hospital visits

Even before COVID-19, easing strains on medical resources was a major priority for all hospitals and healthcare providers. This is now more important than ever.

Minimally-invasive procedures with short procedure times and minimal hospitalization are a quick win to alleviate pressures on man power as well as enable faster turnaround of patients and shorten hospital stay. ProSense® is especially effective here, with cryoablation procedures for breast tumors being able to be performed in less than an hour in clinic offices rather than hospitals, alongside an excellent safety and adverse effect profile.  

Moreover, for the treatment of localized kidney, lung and other cancer indications performed by interventional radiologists, our procedures usually take place in the CT-room within the radiology department. As a result, this helps free up operating rooms (the latter may be needed for intensive care units (ICU) beds during COVID-19) required for traditional surgical tumor removal.

Furthermore, with no requirement for general anesthesia and minimal hospitalization, cryoablation may help reduce COVID-19 infection risks to both patients and medical teams on the frontline as minimum medical staff resources are needed and patients have shortened hospital visits. This is especially important for cancer patients with weakened immune systems, who are most at risk.

In a world post COVID-19, cryoablation will support hospitals to use operating room resources for other urgent procedures, helping reduce waiting times for surgeries and provide even better care.

2. Enable ongoing patient treatment during COVID-19

In order to protect patients, especially those with weakened immune systems most at risk from COVID-19 infection, many hospitals and healthcare providers have recommended where possible patients to stay at home and have often delayed cancer patient treatments.

“…because of COVID-19 cancelling screenings over the last three months, … it’s been projected that almost 40,000 women have a missed diagnosis of breast cancer.” Breast Oncologist Jessica Trevino Jones MD, Memorial Hermann Cancer Center and UT Physicians.

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are warning that delays to cancer surgery and other treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could be linked to thousands of additional deaths in the UK.

With a growing back log and future waves of COVID-19 infection expected, health systems are urgently seeking innovative solutions that provide new approaches to better care for their patients remotely, while also enabling alternative treatments to surgeries.

Dr. Dennis Holmes, renowned breast surgeon and chair of The American Society of Breast Surgeon’s sums the need for the selective use of cryoablation as a definite or stopgap measure in the management of breast cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic or when healthcare resources are limited in his editorial published in Breast Cancer Research Treatment last month.

Our ProSense® cryoablation solution helps deliver on this promise. The procedure can be performed quickly in an in-office clinic setting to treat breast tumors. This has enabled many of our users to continue procedures as usual and we have seen a massive rise in demand.

For the treatment of localized kidney cancer, lung cancer and other cancer indications, many of our users have continued to perform cryoablation treatment for oncology patients, aligned with their institution’s COVID-19 safety measures, while tumor removal surgeries have been stopped, cancelled or postponed.

3. Enable remote, easy and quick implementation, essential during and post COVID-19

Remote access isn’t a new demand, yet COVID-19 caught us all by surprise, with businesses unprepared to effectively shift to a work from home model.

COVID-19 forced us all to innovate and enable remote access for all users, at once and from anywhere, across the globe. Easy and quick, remote implementation became essential for survival. With forced physical distancing, we have seen video conferencing boom as all generations learned to install cameras, work Zoom and speak virtually.

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Consequently, hospitals and healthcare providers have prioritized solutions that work similarly – with quick, easy implementation remotely!

As an easy-to-use standalone monitor and console, with intuitive software and straight-forward training, ProSense® is an easy plug-in solution. The one thing we needed to do – transition our face-to-face installation and clinical training into a fully remote solution, with no physical visit needed. 

And this is exactly what we did in March. The result, we have now successfully delivered several remote training and installations in three new countries!

Supported by real-time video guidance from our clinical and support team, alongside prerecorded video footage and presentations, we provide our distributors, clinicians and medical teams with the information and insight as though we are physically there. 

From opening the ProSense® shipping package all the way to performing a cryoablation demo session and live cases, we oversee every stage of installation and training from afar so our ProSense® users are completely prepared and ready.  

Embrace innovation to transform healthcare

In recent years, we have seen a trend from hospitals and healthcare providers to avoid higher-risk major surgeries where possible and a rise in alternative minimal-invasive solutions. 

The impact of COVID-19 has caused this trend to skyrocket with adoption rising exponentially and set to continue into the foreseeable future, especially for the treatment of cancer patients.  For our ProSense® technology, this has pushed many of its existing benefits to become even more in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, success of minimally-invasive solutions is also determined by ensuring that your solution can also be adapted for quick, remote implementation and deployment. 

COVID-19 has generated both many challenges and many opportunities for hospitals and healthcare providers. The resulting world post COVID-19 will be forever changed.  

Now is the time for healthcare institutions to embrace this innovation opportunity. Solutions that are specifically supported by clinical evidence alongside agility and speed to meet your changing healthcare needs can provide a win-win for all.  

I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see where the healthcare sector will go next! 

Tlalit