Technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and is expected to become more advanced and widespread in the coming years.
This is good news considering by 2030 it is estimated that 171 million Americans will be living with at least one chronic health condition. Now, with new research predicting a physician shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, it would seem we are in trouble.
Luckily, technology will help bridge the gap. Keep reading to discover the importance of technology in healthcare and why it matters.
More Accessible Treatment
One of the most significant advantages of technology in healthcare is the increased ability to access treatment.
Telehealth helps patients connect to health care services through wireless communications, typically a video conference. This gives patients a way of connecting with real doctors that can help diagnose and prescribe necessary medications.
This has become especially helpful during the Coronavirus pandemic, as people need healthcare services and don’t want to take the risk of going to the doctors or hospitals.
Telehealth also frees up room in hospitals and emergency rooms because people can get treated from the comfort of their homes.
Technology is also improving patients care, making it safer and more dependable than ever.
Through the use of Electronic Medical Records or EMR, doctors and physicians can instantly upload patient’s data and keep track of the patient’s data in one easy to use place. This way, if the patient has to visit a specialist or another doctor for any reason, they can upload their findings.
While visiting other specialists, doctors can reference the patient’s medical history to ensure they don’t have allergies or history that they should know about.
With more data available to reference, the easier it will be in identifying diseases. This accessible data is also used to identify trends that may lead to certain diseases.
Through the use of technology, organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have easier access to information that pertains to the disease.
A great example is with the current pandemic with coronavirus or COVID-19. These organizations and other leaders are pooling their resources to get accurate results on real-time data about the virus. This allows us to see how many cases are being reported each day and in what areas are being affected the most.
With this data, it gives us the ability to determine where we may need more resources and allows us to identify trends to track the virus.
In other countries such as South Korea, they have utilized technology to track citizens’ phones to alert them if they may have been in the vicinity of someone with coronavirus. The government is even sending regional text messages warning people that they have potentially come in contact with someone who has the virus.
Other countries have used similar technology like Iran, who sent a message to citizens urging them to download an app before checking into the hospital.
Technology’s role in healthcare goes far beyond just improving processes, it also makes them safer.
When medicine is first available to the public, it goes through rigorous testing to ensure the safety of it, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t interact with certain people.
With the use of technology, it allows doctors and nurses to check databases filled with interactions and allergies before prescribing you medicine. These databases allow for a level of security to patients that wouldn’t be able to be achieved through the doctor’s memory or reference books alone.
These processes are becoming automated, so even before the medication is prescribed, you will know if you will have an interaction with it or not.
This practice also allows for prescription recalls to be tracked and notify the consumer that their medication was recalled, so they don’t take the tainted medicine.
Advances in technology have allowed for more innovative equipment that is used in a variety of applications.
This equipment has allowed procedures such as minimally invasive surgery to happen by using an endoscope that consists of a little camera to be able to see the operation happen.
Other technological advancements have allowed for less invasive scanning equipment and better monitoring, so patients have less recovery time after a procedure.
3D printing has been a major advancement in the healthcare field. 3D printing gives healthcare professionals the ability to create prosthetics, such as:
- Artificial bones
- Support braces
- And even certain organs
It is estimated that about 2 million people in the United States live with a lost limb. Prosthetics are making life easier and more enjoyable for these people, transforming their lifestyles to become more independent.
Another significant technological development that has revolutionized the healthcare industry is robot-assisted surgery. Robot-assisted surgeries have a significant advantage over traditional surgeries because, with robots, the surgeries offer:
- Less risk of infection
- Less pain
- Less blood loss
- Quicker recovery
- And minimal scarring
These types of surgeries consist of the surgeon directing the robotic equipment, typically by making little incisions and inserting a powerful high definition camera with the ability to see the field magnified. The surgeon then sits at a control station to direct the robotic equipment throughout the surgery.
These types of surgeries give the surgeon an increased range of motion and also provide them with the nimbleness to perform operations that are considered high-risk.
Through the use of robotic surgery, it also takes away the risk of human error. Some studies have found that up to 50 percent of adverse events that happened during surgery were due to human error.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Technology in Healthcare
Technology is revolutionizing the world around us, but especially in the healthcare industry. It has made processes safer and more efficient, improving the lives of millions around the world. The importance of technology in healthcare cannot be stressed enough. It will continue to develop and become more prevalent.
Technology will continue to play a significant role in the coming years as more people are diagnosed with health conditions, and fewer physicians are available to treat them.
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