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Tech in Healthcare – Surprising Ways Technology is Changing Healthcare

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Posted August 27, 2019

We live in the age of ground breaking technological advancements. Each, with incredible flexibility and applications in different industries. Maybe one of the biggest beneficiaries of the latest tech developments is the healthcare industry. Automated patient data monitoring, lab tests and self-care tools and apps, all these make a tremendous difference in the quality of the medical act. Today most people, regardless of their socio-economic background, can access high-quality medical services at a fraction of regular expenses, thanks to these developments.

A medical report. Image credit: Rawpixel via Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain

A medical report. Image credit: Rawpixel via Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain

Digital health records

For centuries, national health records were registered by hand. This made the medical act arduous because medical professionals were usually deprived of a complete and comprehensive overview of the patient’s medical history.

In the US, before 2010, only a little over 15% of the national hospitals were using digital health records. In only three years, the number of hospitals with similar systems implemented in their daily operations has skyrocketed to 80%.

The advantages were obvious to medical professionals. Rapidness, complete databases, more accurate and efficient services for patients. Even in the early age of digitalization, the medical system was split between multiple databases, with different types of information: a database for pharmacy, one for documentation, one for medical orders, and one for patient information.

Thanks to digital health records, medical professionals today have access to a centralized platform that holds all crucial information on each patient ever registered in it.

This makes the entire sector shift its approach to a more data-oriented approach to healthcare. Historically speaking, data-driven medicine is proven to be more efficient and more accurate than other systems previously implemented.

Self-service hospital registration

In the age of digitalization, patients no longer need assistance when they want to register for medical services. Not only does this sort of technology lower the registration time, but it also seems to please more patients, especially Millennial ones. This also reduces hospitals’ staffing needs, allowing them to invest money in more important areas. But what are those tasks that self-service hospital kiosks can help patients with?

Virtually, all tasks starting from check identification to co-pays, to paperwork completion and submission, and even outpatient services.

Although this technology can eliminate medical staff completely, specialists recommend avoiding such decisions. Hospitals should still be able to offer their patients the opportunity to discuss with human employees when they ask.

However, for the young consumer, self-registration tools might make medical services more approachable and patient-friendly.

Automated appointment reminders and two-way communication

Automated reminder tools are a great way to ensure patients show up for all their checkups. Automated reminders are more efficient than traditional ones for a series of reasons, staffing being one of them. What benefits could similar software bring to a doctor’s office?

  • Accurate deliverability – automated appointment reminders work better than traditional methods because the system knows exactly who the reminders should be sent to, and at what intervals. For healthcare institutions all over the world, this perk alone will eliminate the need for staffing on employees to manually tackle this tedious process.
  • Two-way communication – reputable systems also allow two-way communication between patients and medical providers. When using such solutions, clinics can enforce better communication capabilities and faster services. This way, patients also have the capability to communicate with their healthcare providers, ask questions about upcoming appointments and when necessary, reschedule their appointments.
  • HIPPA-compliancy – software specifically developed for the medical field will also allow medical providers to follow specific guidelines when it comes to medical reminders.

Wearables and sensors

By 2020, the wearable and sensor market is expected to grow at impressive rates. According to the MRFR report, the market has grown by 46.6% between 2015 and 2020. The largest distribution of wearable technology is concentrated in Northern America. The Asia-Pacific market also shows promising development trends. However, truth be told, the global fitness and healthcare wearable market is booming.

With the rapid adoption of digital tools and IoT solutions, medical professionals can now enjoy better insights on their patients’ health state.

Sensors and wearables can offer medical staff real-time updates and insights into their patients’ well-being. For instance, when patients with heart disease are connected to these devices, medical professionals can be aware when medical emergencies appear, straight from the patient’s device.

In many cases, the data stored by these devices can offer insights into how a condition has evolved in certain time parameters. Wearables and sensors offer insights at an unprecedented rate, helping medical professionals diagnose conditions more accurately and efficiently, based on the data coming from similar tech.

Real-time analysis services

Thanks to real-time location services, hospitals and clinics all over the world can identify problem areas within their systems and solve them with higher rates of success. Hospitals and clinics have numerous departments where different metrics were difficult to track and analyze. For instance, ER rooms are generally difficult to get a good understanding of. However, similar services can offer valuable retrospective insights and ensure all the necessary tools, supplies and equipment are available at all times.

Such systems allow hospitals to adapt and change their staffing needs by analyzing trends from previous years. Plus, these systems come accompanied by an array of other smart features, like real-time locating features. This way, employees from all departments can know exactly where different equipment is at the time they need and if it is currently used.

Virtual Reality in medicine

Traditionally part of television shows and Hollywood movies, VR has made its presence known in medicine as well. With multiple application and immersive features, VR can change the way physicians work and diagnose different conditions. The main uses of VR in healthcare are available below:

  • Medical training – medical training in high-risk fields like surgery has posed extreme risks for both patients and medical staff for a long time. Regardless, with VR adoption in healthcare, trainees can now operate in simulated, immersive scenarios, without exposing patients to any potential risks.
  • Mental health therapy – thanks to VR, mental health patients can now be treated more effectively. VR technology has been proven to work in treating anxiety disorders by exposing patients to different scenarios and teaching them how to handle these.

All these technological advancements will change the healthcare industry to its core, allowing professionals to offer personalized and accurate therapies and medical solutions to all patients in the system.

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