Why telemedicine could be a game-changer if certain barriers are overcome, how the environment where you grew up could affect your long-term health and a new warning on world poverty. Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities.

Telemedicine: A game-changer for the healthcare industry

Telemedicine could be a game-changer for the health industry, but some countries need to make greater efforts to harness digital innovations, according to the World Economic Forum. Scaling up the use of virtual healthcare systems will require a coordinated approach between governments, tech firms and healthcare providers to overcome barriers, it says. These barriers include questions around funding, data privacy regulations, integrating artificial intelligence into hospitals and clinical practices, and encouraging patients to use the services.

Read more: Post-COVID-19, innovation in healthcare is here to stay

How your neighbourhood affects your health

The neighbourhood you grow up in may influence your health for many years to come – particularly for children living in deprived communities, Science Daily reports. An 18-year study of 2,000 children in England and Wales found that those raised in lower income, more run-down and socially disconnected areas had differences in genetic activity related to lung cancer even when the adolescents did not smoke, for example. The findings could help explain how long-term health disparities among communities emerge, the researchers say.

Read more: New York is a hot zone, but not because of city living

COVID-19 could increase world poverty

The number of people in extreme poverty could rise to over one billion globally as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with up to 400 million more people living under the $1.90 a day poverty line, warns the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research. It believes that poverty is likely to increase dramatically in middle-income developing countries, with South and East Asia potentially the hardest hit. Lost income could reach $500m per day for the world’s poorest people.

Read more: Six big ideas: What Joseph Stiglitz wants investors to know about the pandemic

Preserve nature to avoid pandemics

Preserving the world’s natural habitats could help prevent future pandemics, as outbreaks of diseases like coronavirus could be linked to the way the human race is destroying nature, The Guardian reports. It cited leaders from the United Nations, World Health Organization and World Wildlife Fund who are calling for a ‘green recovery’ from the crisis, including reforms to farming methods and unsustainable diets.

Read more: Climate change, biodiversity and epidemics: Lessons for the next global crisis