5 Ways Technology Has Changed Healthcare as We Know It
Technology has not only made our lives more convenient, but it’s also revolutionized the world, and it’s had a major effect on medicine and healthcare. No field has been impacted by technological advancements quite like healthcare, and the past few years have paved the way for further technological implications that are yet to come.
Let’s take a look at the technology that is already being implemented around the world and the benefits that it has brought.
Digitalization of Records
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have optimized the way medical records are stored and accessed. And they’ve also influenced the cost of healthcare, with research suggesting that the introduction of EHRs has reduced the cost by roughly 3%.
Digitalization of health records makes them more easily accessible to doctors and nurses, and there are fewer risks of losing valuable information. This is especially helpful to patients who are changing their preferred physicians, or who need advice from specialists.
Electronic Health Records make your medical history more straightforward, thus making new diagnoses quicker. If a patient is unconscious, doctors and medical professionals can gain insight into any allergies or medicine intolerances, making treatment easier and more efficient.
EHRs can lead to the improvement of public health by garnering invaluable data for clinical researchers. Clinical research leads to the development of new treatments by advancing medical knowledge, thus ensuring the best care for the public.
With EHRs, medical professionals can identify viral and bacterial outbreaks, and so take preventative measures quickly and control the spread of the disease.
Technology has made it easier for patients to reach their doctors. It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural area or are visiting a country on the other side of the world, in case of medical emergency, you can easily contact and connect with your doctor.
It has made it possible for medical professionals around the world to communicate and collaborate much more easily. It’s a cost-effective and efficient way to provide better service to those in need.
Communication and collaboration between medical professionals are what leads to new medical findings, and new treatments for common and uncommon diseases. In this situation, sharing really is caring.
Besides getting in touch with other professionals, your doctor can also more easily get information about certain diseases and offer you more possible treatments.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring can be done in one of two ways: you can have a two-way video consultation, or your current health status can be transmitted to your doctor.
Video consultations allow doctors to access the visible symptoms and determine if an appointment should be made. It cuts costs and is time-effective, allowing doctors to be more productive and have consultations with more patients.
This type of remote monitoring is convenient for bedridden patients or those who rely on home care.
Real-time symptom monitoring can be life-saving, and this is where technology comes in handy. Remote monitoring devices can be especially useful to those with pacemakers or patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. Remote centers can analyze your real-time data, and notify you if something’s wrong.
There are many wearable devices that can improve your overall health and condition. Smartphone apps, smartwatches, and other devices are not just popular, they can be extremely useful.
They can monitor your vitals, remind you if need to take your medicine, and can lead to the overall improvement of your lifestyle. Patients can use these devices and the data they give to modify their behavior and choices.
3D printing is mostly associated with the construction industry or manufacturing, but it’s had a major effect on medicine and healthcare.
The most common use of 3D printing technology in the field of medicine is creating prosthetic limbs. Prosthetics have been used for many years now, but 3D printing makes them easier to create and can be more comfortable for the patients since they would be custom-made. This technology can also be used for creating synthetic skin for patients and burn victims.
3D printing can be applied in the operating room as well. Medical professionals can use it to create custom-made tools and equipment, fixtures and implants.
Surgeons can more easily prepare for surgery, by 3D printing a replica of the patient’s organs and practicing beforehand.
In an unprecedented case, surgeons from Belfast used 3D printing technology in preparation for a kidney transplant. The kidney donor had a potentially cancerous cyst that had to be removed before the transplant, and thanks to 3D printing, the whole surgery was successful.
AR / VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality are game changers in medicine. From surgery, education, to help the patients understand what’s going on, they can find application anywhere.
Educational purposes are immediately clear. Medical students can practice and learn through AR and VR, without putting the patients at risk. They can understand how different procedures should go, and how the medicine affects the body.
AccuVein is an AR device already being used in many hospitals. It helps medical professionals locate the veins they otherwise couldn’t just by looking or touching. The device displays a map of the vasculature on the surface of the skin and makes the veins more easily accessible.
Surgery is made easier as well, AR helps by projecting a 3D representation of the patient’s anatomy, making surgeons more accurate and efficient.
AR and VR technology can find uses in the communication with the patients. They can help the patients visualize how a certain surgery will go, or how different medicines affect their bodies.
Technology and medicine go hand in hand today, and without the advancement of technology, there would be no advancements in the medical fields either. Healthcare has already seen the benefits of new technology, and more awaits us in the years to come.