The coronavirus pandemic has turned numerous industries on their ears, and that's certainly true of health care. With providers scrambling to give the best advice and care to patients – whether they have a normal flu, a broken arm or COVID-19 itself – effective document management platforms and workflows are increasingly important, and many are adopting such technology in a hurry.

One Ohio-based company that makes a combination document-management, workflow and video conferencing platform for care providers reported a surge in sign-ups following the serious start of the outbreak nationwide – adding 10,000 new clients in three weeks, according to Columbus Business First. The same company said it was adding an average of fewer than 500 new users per month in 2019.

What does it mean for providers – and patients?
When care providers are able to integrate comprehensive medical data, accurate and secure file sharing and the ability to meet with patients virtually, a lot of outcomes tend to improve, the report said. Patients get more accurate and effective information directly from trusted doctors or nurses, who now have that patient's full medical history at their fingertips – from anywhere – leading to better care, convenience and even patient satisfaction.

And at a time when telehealth has been forced to become the norm, that combination not only improves individual patients' health, but potentially the broader public health as well, the report said.

No signs of slowing
Pandemic or not, however, the adoption of medically focused and integrated document management platforms is only going to continue to surge ahead in the years to come, according to Brand Essence Research. At the end of 2016, the global market for such was valued at some $295 million, but in the eight-year period from 2018 to 2025, it's likely to grow at an annual rate of more than 10% – hitting $700 million annually by the end of that time.

With all this in mind, it's vital for medical practice decision-makers to make sure their organizations are using these platforms going forward, for the triple purpose of boosting convenience, quality and effectiveness of care.