2020 was an unusual year in healthcare, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted healthcare systems, providers, insurance payers and patients to remove barriers to and accelerated the adoption of telemedicine that would not have occurred for several more years otherwise. This one change in perspective will have a lasting impact on healthcare products and services going forward in 2021 and beyond. Not only was telemedicine positively impacted this past year, across the country, healthcare systems assessed and recognized the need to outsource services that its internal staff could no longer handle or were not equipped to address the change in demand for more intensive and/or timely services.
CortiCare has secured a niche as a provider of contracted services related to brain monitoring via electroencephalography or EEG. The EEG records the electrical activity of the brain and is used to assess patients with suspected seizure activity, head trauma, brain inflammation, brain tumors, stroke and other disorders.
At CortiCare we experienced significant growth in all our operational divisions. Hospitals expanded the use of external remote EEG monitoring of patients in the ICU and Epilepsy Monitoring Units. They expanded the use of our nationwide network of Neurophysiologists to read EEG records at any time of the day or night.
They contracted with our onsite staffing and testing division to improve in-hospital EEG services to address staffing shortages and increased demand. And physicians, in greater numbers, shifted patient evaluations from the hospital to the home, with our in-home ambulatory EEG services.
We anticipate continued growth in demand for these services and are evolving our company to meet the needs. This includes investment in our IT infrastructure to handle more data, improved diagnostic testing systems - purpose-designed for our services, hiring and training of our technologist teams, adding more physicians to our neurophysiologist network, and developing new methods for connecting patients to diagnostic devices to save time and money while providing improved quality.
One of the challenges in the transition to outsourcing and remote healthcare services is ensuring quality. CortiCare will continue to invest in advanced quality assurance programs for all its services so that our clients are confident that they are not compromising the needs of the patient or the medical staff when working with CortiCare.
In recent years the use of EEG testing and monitoring has increased as digital amplifier and computer technology have advanced making, including the ability to transfer data to the cloud for remote processing and viewing. It should be expected that in 2021 and years to come that EEG diagnostic evaluations will become more common in the Emergency Department, Long-term Acute Care Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities and even Nursing Homes, as the equipment becomes simpler to operate and connections to the patient no longer require a highly trained technologist to apply. Both of these advances have already begun and will continue to evolve. The remaining component is the development of reliable and accurate artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to analyze and interpret the EEG recordings. AI projects to address this need have been ongoing for a decade or more and 2021 may see one or more prove to be effective in specific applications.