Technology advances in healthcare have had one of the largest, most influential effects on our lives.
In the last four decades, technology has moved from supporting administration in healthcare to being widely used in clinical settings, improving the way healthcare is delivered.
Technological innovations in the medical industry have allowed us to offer better, more successful treatments and to work on disease control and health education.
The reach of healthcare has never been so long, and would not be possible without the leaps and bounds in modern technology.
Electronic health records
Electronic health records are the digital version of paper-based patient records. It is now possible to store, manage, and share this data with different healthcare providers to offer better and more standardized healthcare.
Electronic health records improve the quality of care patients receive in many clinical settings. Data contained in these records can be used to understand a patient’s health history, or to understand what happened before an emergency, or how a patient is doing after discharge. Doctors can view, track, and update patient records, pharmacy records, test results, X-rays, and even vital signs in a virtual chart that is accessible even on handheld devices.
Using a digitized system takes less time for medical billers and coders, reduces the likelihood of errors and increases the amount of data that can be stored. EHRs are also easier to access, more accurate, and can be used on many different devices, meaning medical professionals are more informed. It also ensures a more patient-centered approach to medical treatment, as people are more connected to their own health information.
EHRs also provide invaluable data to clinical researchers. Being able to access a much more detailed, varied, and large database of health information technology helps to advance medical knowledge and speeds up the development of treatments for common and rarer health problems.
Wearable devices and apps
The new generation of wearable technology and smartphones have provided an almost endless variety of healthcare benefits.
Wearable technologies are beneficial in situations where patients can’t physically visit doctors or nurses; for example when they are sick, incapacitated, or need to stay at home for any other reason. Devices paired with smartphone apps can send medical data securely to clinical staff. Using telehealth or telemedicine technology is becoming a more standard way of providing healthcare.
Applications integrate with medical devices that are responsible for tracking and reporting critical patient information. For example, monitors that track vital signs such as a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temperature. The data is then conveyed through a network and can be accessed by clinicians and other health care providers remotely.
Tracking patient health behaviors through apps over long periods of time can help them to stay healthy for a longer period of time. This allows physicians to find out why some patients are not following health advice and improve their own care. In this way, it is easier to personalize patients’ treatment plans and remind them about important events in their lives.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
The use of AI in healthcare is not new. It has been helping doctors make better decisions for decades by providing more accurate diagnoses. Now, the use of AI technology in healthcare is becoming more sophisticated, where it can track patients remotely and provide treatments based on current medical conditions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a tool that is helping medical professionals to make decisions about healthcare, recognizing symptoms, and providing input on different treatments. This can save time, improve diagnosis rates, and access to treatment. The more AI is used in this field, the more accurate these predictions will become which will lead to better outcomes for patients.
Many medical errors happen because of human error, and these errors can have a high cost to the patient. Some of the ways AI can help reduce medical errors is by analyzing electronic health records, interpreting lab results, and providing predictive insights. This is significant considering there were over 36 million hospitalizations in the United States in 2019.
Improved patient and public health
The ultimate aim of improving healthcare is to find ways for populations to be healthy and to ensure those who need access to treatment can get it as quickly as possible.
Health professionals are now more connected than ever before, being able to use patient care technology, share data with other medical staff, and utilize the latest cutting-edge technology for diagnosis and treatment.
AI and virtual reality technology are allowing surgeries to happen with far less intervention and much better recovery rates. DNA sequencing is enhancing knowledge for medical researchers to find better drug treatments, offering better quality of life to patients and better outcomes. Pharmaceutical companies are able to respond faster to virus outbreaks or diseases previously untreatable with the knowledge gained from a vast array of data. Patient safety is increased, by preventing wrong dosages or administering incorrect procedures.