There are numerous ways in which the evolution of technology has impacted our lives, from courtrooms to classrooms, and the healthcare industry is no different. Doctors and nurses practicing a century ago would undoubtedly be amazed at the newfound capabilities that exist today. From the development of dialysis machines and infusion pumps to the creation of MRI scanners, heart valves and antibiotics, technology is constantly driving us forward and has streamlined the way treatment is delivered. Technology extends and automates tasks that previous had to be done by people, which can free up medical providers to focus their efforts and time elsewhere, while also potentially cutting down the overall cost of medical are.
Some of the prominent ways in which technology is helping the healthcare industry are highlighted below:
Electronic health records
Over the past few years, technological advancement has drastically improved the way healthcare professionals deliver medical treatment in some notable ways. The introduction of electronic health records (EHRs) has been one of the most prominent changes. Using paper filing systems for maintaining patient records is now antiquated because it had made it difficult for clinicians practicing in various facilities to collaborate with each other. The use of EHRs can assist healthcare facilities in streamlining their patient record systems, which can give medical professionals a fuller and more holistic picture of the health history of patients. In this way, they are able to make more nuanced decisions relating to their treatment.
Another way that technology is helping the healthcare industry is by increasing patient engagement via the use of wearable technology and devices. These devices can come in handy for providing insight into a patient’s health and allows medical professionals to develop hyper-targeted and personalized wellness and health plans. These healthcare plans can address a patient’s conditions, lifestyle and goals. Rather than providing a one-size-fits-all approach, understanding the individual patient is important for healthcare providers because it enables them to provide solutions that are specific to the patient’s lifestyle in small and manageable steps.
Having targeted steps can be beneficial for people across a range of healthcare needs; whether you are positioned between sick and healthy and want to prevent chronic conditions, you are healthy and wish to remain that way or you are dealing with chronic conditions.
Also including virtual healthcare, telehealth makes use of technology for improving the efficiency of communications between healthcare providers, patients and clinics. Electronic communication methods have been introduced thanks to technology and they allow clinics, patients and clinicians to exchange information easy. They can also come in handy for monitoring and tracking adherence to the plan of care. According to experts at Soberlink, the use of digital communication has modernized the entire healthcare experience by enabling patients to access healthcare services remotely. This could be a patient getting in touch with a clinician in a different area or several healthcare providers collaborating with each other from a distance.
Technology such as telemedicine is transforming the healthcare industry because it bridges the gap between healthcare providers and their patients. You don’t need to sit in a waiting room for hours over the weekend because telehealth solutions improve convenience and accessibility. However, telemedicine can have other benefits as well, such as reduction in costs and even preventative care.
These days, technology now goes hand-in-hand with medicine, which includes pre-operative planning to the actual surgeries and then monitoring outcomes. Plastic and reconstructive surgeons can now use 3D reconstructions in trauma patients for figuring out where to make the most accurate incisions. These images can be used for planning surgeries even before a single incision is made. Moreover, infrared technology is also being used for monitoring blood flow and this can also come in handy.
Artificial technology and augmented reality
When it comes to medical treatment, the combination of these two evolving technologies will open up a lot of possibilities. These technological capabilities have the power to equip medical professionals with some advanced features, such as heat-sensing abilities and X-ray vision. Instead of replacing human beings with machines, these technologies can enhance the way humans and machines work together.
There are already tools that make use of augmented reality and artificial intelligence like AccuVein, which is a handheld device used for scanning a patient’s body to make their veins visible. This tool can be quite helpful in improving accuracy when it comes to IV insertions and blood draws, which reduces the number of times nurses or doctors have to stick a patient.
There is no doubt that our healthcare system has come a long way forward due to the benefits provided by technology, but it is also clear that this is only the beginning of what is in store for technology in healthcare. From cutting costs and streamlining patient care to developing groundbreaking medical technologies, there is an array of possibilities awaiting in the medical world.