From attempting to explain your situation to the best of your abilities, to the physician conducting a preliminary checkup and recommending diagnostic tests that will take days to return; healthcare technology sure has come a long way.
We now have our medical records stored in online portals for any new physician to view at a glance; making prognosis quicker - and not just a matter of expertise but backed by irrefutable evidence. Diagnosis, treatment, and patient-care have also become much more accurate, speedy, personalized and detailed owing to revolutionary developments in healthcare technology, as well as treatments.
These advancements have also dramatically altered the patient-physician relationship by making patients more informed, empowered and engaged in the overall process. This has become possible due to the advent of umpteen self-care technologies and ubiquitous availability of online medical resources that enable people to manage their own health conditions and partake in deciding the best courses of treatment in collaboration with their physicians.
So, how big of an impact has technology had on the healthcare industry? Here we take an in-depth look at how technology is transforming healthcare across the world:
1. Streamlining and Modifying Processes
Wireless technology and health informatics allow healthcare providers to streamline their processes by identifying duplicate procedures and optimizing the allocation of resources. This, in turn, leads to significant reduction in costs whilst improving the overall quality of patient care.
For instance, nowadays hospitals use radio frequency identification (RIFD) tags for an array of critical functions such as monitoring the rotation and condition of crucial equipment and remotely managing the temperature requirements of specific areas. These tags are also being used to ensure staff's compliance with health and safety standards and improving their workflow.
Moreover, previously hospitals faced security issues such as infant abductions and presence of unauthorized individuals within the premises. These concerns have been overcome with the help of innovative surveillance equipment and RFID chips that can be used to locate infants and patients and display a complete list of doctors who have visited a patient.
One of the most recent advancements in the field of healthcare is the use of robots to monitor patient condition via routine checkups. The use of these robots allows nurses and doctors to be available for more critical and urgent cases.
2. Improving Patient Experience
Health information management systems have improved patient care by enabling the integration of patient information from multiple sources and making it accessible to all service providers within the care continuum. Facilitated by cloud technology; these detailed patient records have made healthcare much more precise, personalized and individual-specific as opposed to disease-specific.
Also, easy accessibility of this information across an array of devices and channels has significantly reduced patient waiting times in hospital settings and has enabled remote patient care whereby doctors can effectively monitor patient condition and give consultation while at a different location.
Documentation of patient information also allows practitioners to use big-data analysis in order to tailor their services in a way that they are readily accepted by their patients. These patient records provide all clinicians with an accurate medical history of patients thus eliminating communication barriers and paving the way for holistic and accurate treatment with minimum delays.
This is due to the fact that they provide a clear understanding of the patient's response to surgical, rehabilitative or medical treatments carried out in the past. Also, they make it possible for practitioners to identify and overcome gaps in the ongoing treatment by analyzing the patient's progress over time.
These detailed records also save patients from the hassle of manually maintaining their records and repeating their case history for all physicians. Moreover, the use of online portals has made patients more engaged and informed by giving them access to their medical records, health goals, and test results.
3. Population-Wide Health Management
Real-time access to thorough patient information has enabled public health providers to identify correlations between treatments and their outcomes for specific populations. These correlations and trends then allow them to devise efficient and cost-effective industry best practices that offer maximum value for patients.
Moreover, population-wide information also allows healthcare providers to predict pandemics and outbreaks and consequently devise prevention measures well in advance.
4. Enhancing the Scope Of Healthcare
Technology driven transformation of the healthcare industry has broadened the scope of healthcare by making it more proactive and instantaneous. Healthcare facilities are now utilizing social media channels for disease management whereby doctors and nurses apprise people about disease prevention and cure, self-help tools such as Microsoft Health Vault and PillPack among others as well as techniques and ways of maintaining a healthy body and mind.
These social media channels also allow practitioners to chat with their followers in real-time so that patient queries and concerns can be addressed as quickly as possible.
4. Facilitating Lifesaving Clinician Communication
Physicians often need to consult other domain specialists about diagnosis and treatment of specific cases. this critical communication has been facilitated to unprecedented amounts owing to technology.
Physicians are now able to connect instantly via specifically designed video calling devices such as Mediphealth hat offer immaculate resolution so that distant consultants can evaluate a patient thoroughly and give pertinent recommendations.
5. Propagating Self-care
Governments the world over are struggling to utilize the limited amount of resources available to them in order to provide efficient healthcare services for an increasing population. Therefore, to expand the overall reach of healthcare services we now see healthcare providers introducing self-care applications and devices that enable people to monitor and improve their health conditions.
These apps and devices range from general fitness tools such as Fitbit which tracks sleep and physical activity to specialized apps such as google health that can be used to reliably detect early signs of cognitive ailments.
These self-help tools have revolutionized healthcare by altering the society's mindset as people are now able to focus more on prevention rather than cure. Also, self-help technologies have cut down Medicare costs for patients and have enabled caretakers to better look after their loved ones.
6. Improved Diagnosis and Treatment
Advanced equipment and software not only allow for quicker and more accurate diagnosis of ailments but have also enabled physicians to conduct detailed patient analysis without having to use invasive techniques.
This significantly reduces healthcare costs for patients and saves healthcare providers precious time which can be utilized to cater to other patients. Moreover, technological advancements have unveiled cures for ailments which previously claimed countless lives, have led to the identification of safer courses of treatment and have significantly reduced patient recovery times.
An example of such technology is the DaVinci robot that allows surgeons to perform procedures including cardiac bypasses, prostatectomies, and hysterectomies with minimal incision leading to quick patient recovery. Owing to technology, the healthcare industry is evolving at a rapid pace and it is safe to say that the most revolutionary developments are yet to surface.
About the Author
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with SupHub Team. Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1