Social media and telehealth broaden their horizons during times of crisis

Social media and telehealth broaden their horizons during times of crisis

The war in Ukraine is fought on many fronts, including on TikTok. In this Horizons, we discuss the unprecedented role of social media in current warfare. In addition, we look at the boost telehealth received during the pandemic, arguing that we have only scratched the surface of the telehealth possibilities.

Information warfare in times of TikTok

User-generated content already contributed to the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war, but the role of social media in the war in Ukraine is unprecedented. Media-savvy President Zelensky and his entourage clearly know how to use social media to draw attention and international support. Although the social media strategy of Ukraine is partly orchestrated, the most important contributors in this information war seem to be ordinary citizens and soldiers. Compared to traditional mass propaganda or the embedded journalism of the Iraq Wars, Ukraine’s decentralized information war has no single director. It consists of an overwhelming stream of eyewitness videos, brought to us in the typical intimate and ‘authentic’ formats of TikTok and Instagram. The images show a remarkable, sometimes uneasy, combination of Ukrainian bravery, suffering and humor, invoking a huge wave of solidarity among the West. As such, the first ‘TikTok war’ is making clear that countries need a new toolkit to win the hearts and minds of people in the media landscape of the 21st century.

Broaden Your Horizons

  • McKinsey estimates that about 60% of journey-miles in China will be autonomous by 2040. Chinese car companies, however, remain at risk because of their reliance on U.S. chips needed for autonomous vehicles.
  • A report from Wired details what happened before and after the first fatal accident with a self-driving (Uber) car and how this affected not only the operator of the car, but also the entire autonomous driving industry.
  • Graphcore, a British chipmaker, is rolling out a new supercomputer which they claim is as powerful as the human brain. It will cost ‘only’ $120 million, much less than today’s supercomputers that typically cost $1 billion.

Telehealth has proven its worth during the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, telehealth usage increased sharply (see graph) and ever more people expect to continue to use it in the future. The pandemic boost, however, only scratches the surface of the possibilities. Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg, for instance, envisions a scenario where a patient sees their doctor in the flesh first, with follow-up appointments (e.g. to discuss medication) virtually. Such video visits are just the tip of the iceberg. Increasingly, claims Schoenberg, specialty care too will be made available to people virtually in their homes. Blending in-person and virtual care along with remote monitoring will allow a person’s level of care to be escalated based on their need and in real time. This integration of smart health solutions into our homes will be essential to make the healthcare system futureproof. Considering our ageing societies, combined with the strong increase of chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes), the adoption of telehealth will help to keep healthcare costs manageable in the future and to alleviate part of the pressure on healthcare institutions.


Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, sign up here.

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