Innovation Inc: The telemedicine push and how the digital era will impact businesses and consumers

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Boston Scientific's chief digital health officer says telemedicine could change 80% of all physician visits to virtual.The Washington Post / Contributor

The digital era is officially here. And companies that haven't begun investing in their own tech overhauls are already behind.

It's not a groundbreaking thought: Almost any expert you talked to over the past few months would have likely shared the same conclusion. But it still bears repeating, because the digital push will have major ramifications for consumers and businesses alike. Advertisement

It can be easy to miss as the world is overcome by a virus that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and a historic civil rights movement that is forcing society to grapple with decades of systemic racism. But the transformation is already happening before our eyes.

For example, many of the physical interactions we had been so accustomed to are now rapidly being replaced by technology that, until this point, had struggled to reach mass adoption.

Take Boston Scientific, a 41-year-old medical device manufacturer. Like other healthcare companies, it had to pivot nearly overnight to address the surge of interest in telemedicine.
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Prior to the outbreak, many patients, doctors, and insurers still viewed telemedicine with skeptical eyes. Now, Boston Scientific's chief digital health officer thinks it could replace up to 80% of the nearly 884 million in-person physician visits each year.

And the company is quickly changing its focus to prepare for that. An augmented-reality-powered application, for example, can superimpose an expert's hand over a user's real-world view to help them set-up new products or even oversee the insertion of devices like pacemakers and catheters. That's just one example of the many to come as emerging technology like automation, AR, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence provide a path forward for companies and customers alike to adapt to the "new normal." Advertisement

Below are a few other stories from around the newsroom that highlight society's ongoing digital transformation.

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