Healthcare has a healthy future, and it’s largely thanks to technological advancements.
Better treatments, equipment and even data management are transforming the healthcare industry, reducing deaths and hospital stays. On top of benefitting patients, it’s also making life easier for healthcare professionals.
Here are 10 ways technology in healthcare is changing lives for the better…
1. Remote Monitoring
Doctors can keep an eye on patients while they’re in the hospital, but what if the patient is no longer there?
Remote Patient Monitoring is a way for professionals on the healthcare team to check in on the vital signs of a patient outside of their immediate care.
The technology can detect a drop in health and alert the team, which can then provide the right treatment to avoid a hospital visit.
Meanwhile, a medical GPS can let people know where the patient is, and can even detect when a patient has fallen.
2. Electronic Record Keeping
Gone are the days when it’s necessary to go into a room to search for a patient file. Electronic methods of patient records allow healthcare professionals to quickly access and share records, and there’s no chance of misplacing a file.
Some records may be hard to read or decipher depending on who wrote it, and electronic files improve accuracy and readability.
Meanwhile, health agencies can save money by switching over to electronic record keeping. A study shows a 3 percent savings which translates into $5.14 less per patient per month.
3. Virtual Reality
This is a digital immersive experience that puts the user in another world thanks to digital technology. Thanks to the interactive experience, virtual reality in healthcare is now being used as a way to train healthcare workers without any risk.
VR is also being used in the treatment of some mental health disorders, including PTSD. Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), which places patients in situations they have trouble facing in real life.
4. 3D Printing
This technology allows people to “print” a three-dimensional shape based on a number of parameters. While it can be used for artistic purposes, it also has an application in the medical industry.
Thanks to this technology prototypes are easier and quicker to create, and it can even be used to create prosthetic limbs. 3D printers can actually layer living cells together to recreate tissue in a lab setting.
Meanwhile, this new form of printing can create sterile medical instruments and 3D models of a patient’s organ for surgeons to practice on first for complicated procedures.
5. Robotic Surgeons
Robots have taken over many aspects of the workforce, and it seems the healthcare industry is not immune to this. However, using robot-assisted surgery can be a big advantage for both the surgeon and the patient.
Don’t worry, the robot’s not making the decisions on its own. The surgeon can guide the device fitted with a camera for a number of delicate procedures that would be very difficult to do otherwise.
6. More Precise Targeting
Nanomedicine, which is the practice of looking at atoms and molecules on a nanoscale to help prevent disease, is getting big in the healthcare world.
This allows doctors and researchers to look at molecules that are much thinner than a piece of paper. There’s hope that this technology will better help doctors diagnose and treat cancer as it is being developed to deliver treatments to specific cells.
7. Artificial Intelligence
The rise of artificial intelligence means computers could be used to better predict diseases, and even deliver treatments that haven’t been considered before for a specific illness.
It can also be used to review patient scans and quickly find any abnormalities that a healthcare can follow up on. That might even help diagnose problems early that otherwise may have a chance to develop.
Basically, AI in medicine can create complex algorithms for treatment of ADHD, warning about seizures, and even offer medical advice depending on your symptoms and medical history.
AI may also provide to be beneficial in the development of new drugs. Currently, testing drugs to be approved can be a lengthy and expensive process. However, there’s such a thing as in silico trials that use a computer simulation to develop a treatment or device.
8. Instant Diagnosis
While not in existence yet, technology can be used to create a device that can instantly analyze tissue or swab samples and tell you what’s going on. This idea is not far from the high-tech tricorder that was used to diagnose patients in the popular show Star Trek.
There have already been some early prototypes that have earned attention. One of them uses a tablet and sensors to tell the user vital signs and even body chemistry. Another can test urine and blood.
9. Tiny Heart Devices
Believe it or not, the first pacemaker was used on a patient about 60 years ago. But the modern version has improved significantly over the first implanted unit, which actually failed the patient.
The good news is that the patient actually went on to live for another 40 years with a successful pacemaker. Now, thousands of them are installed every year with minimally invasive surgery, and they’re now only about the size of a large vitamin, much smaller than the original prototype that had a large battery.
Technology is now also allowing these cardiac devices to be programmable, storing key information and improving performance.
10. Electronic Patient Engagement
These online resources provide a portal for a patient to share information with their healthcare worker, and even give input into their treatment approach.
Meanwhile, the platforms also provide information for patients to educate themselves about their condition. There’s already some evidence that patients pay closer attention to their heart health when they can access information online.
Look Forward To Technology in Healthcare
There’s no doubt that technology in healthcare is improving lives of patients and making things easier for healthcare workers. While some of this technology already exists, some are in the development stage and has big potential.
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