Technology has made it possible for breakthroughs in research and medicine to happen at a very fast rate. We have had more innovations in information gathering, research, treatments and communication between patients and healthcare providers in the past decades than ever before.
We came up with ten ways technology boosts healthcare services. Take a look.
1. Innovative machines and breakthroughs in treatment
Perhaps the most obvious way technology has impacted healthcare services is the invention of new machines, medicines and treatments that have saved lives, improved chances of recovery for patients and helped level up the service healthcare professionals provide.
2. Medical information has become easily accessible via the Internet
Recent studies have shown that more people are turning to the Internet to research their medical issues. The 2004 survey of the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that among 8 million senior users who use the Internet, 66% searched for healthcare information online.
While it is never a good idea to not consult with a doctor, patients feel more empowered with being able to read about their medical issues before going to one. It mainly helps them decide on what to do next base on the symptoms they are feeling.
3. Medical information in databases can predict medical trends
This innovation, otherwise known as big data, has the big potential to help healthcare providers respond to outbreaks quickly as well as take preventative measures. A great example is how Kaiser Permanents is using big data to help care for infants. It is predicted that as more and more people use the Internet to search for their own medical problems, the healthcare system through the help of Internet companies will have even more information to apply to scientific studies and research. Big data can be used to “see the future.”
4. Broader and improved avenues for communication
Communication has vastly improved for everyone because of technology. From the healthcare standpoint, hospitals are now viewed openly with growing trust as they are now using the advantages of technology to help them establish connection and stay connected with their patients.
Healthcare facilities use social media to establish contact with patients, answer questions about practices, launch public awareness campaigns, and perform community outreach. Some sophisticated sites even offer instant chats with nurses and doctors about medical issues and reminders for people to get regularly needed tests and vaccines.
There are online forums such as HealthTap, where 40,000 physicians gather online to serve people’s needs, as well as educational forums like TuDiabetes, where individuals gather to learn from each other better ways to live with diabetes, are using technology to bring people together.
5. It has helped improve and broaden trust with patients and their doctors.
With information technology, patient care has been made safer and more reliable. Everyone involved in patient care from nurses to laboratory personnel and their doctors have access to their patient’s medical history at a glance because of handheld tablets. Patients who can connect with their doctors more easily, for instance, won’t need to make expensive and perhaps unnecessary trips to the ER or specialists
Doctors now have access to a huge amount of medical information without having to read through volumes of medical books through technology. Everything is literally available at the touch of one’s fingers.
Furthermore, technology gave way to the rise of telemedicine. Doctors can now use e-mail, texts, videos, and conference facilities to consult their colleagues from all over the world. This has proven to be very useful for doctors and patients in rural and under-developed areas. Without moving patients, doctors can consult experts from all over the world to diagnose, treat, and research conditions without needing access to a sophisticated hospital. Telemedicine was used effectively after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and will no doubt be refined for future use.
7. Virtual healthcare
Telemedicine is a welcomed practice among medical professionals. Virtual healthcare, while met with apprehension, is gaining ground and is expected to transform healthcare delivery in the years to come.
8. Mobile technology has made healthcare maintenance easier.
Mobile technology is popular and not new to healthcare either. While it isn’t as popularly used in hospitals as it is commercially, experts see three ways the growing mobile health market may benefit patients and providers. Increased medication compliance, improved post-treatment understanding and access to one’s health information can be achieved with the use of apps available in smartphones.
9. Technology has helped personalized healthcare be possible.
From a patient with no medical background and is required to have maintenance medicines or treatments, healthcare can be very complex. Making decisions isn’t easy when you aren’t sure where to go and what services you really need. But with technology, complicated procedures – mainly maintenance treatment and medicine on the part of an individual patient – are easily understood, carried out and monitored.
10. Patients get better at taking care of themselves.
The ultimate benefit technology has made to healthcare is seen with the patients. There is an increasing patient engagement and the healthcare system couldn’t be more thrilled that patients are now getting better at taking care of themselves.
Technology has helped ordinary people to stay healthy. A growing number of mobile apps and gadgets aim to help people stay active, sleep well and eat healthy from pedometers like Fibit, sleep monitors like Lark and hundreds of calorie counters, food-monitoring and menu-tracking apps. By using technology to empower people, they’ll have a better understanding of their health, which will enable them to make better choices. Chronic diseases account for more than half of the healthcare services provided – many of which are easily preventable with better lifestyle choice.
Technology has given the healthcare industry an upgrade
It is clear that technology has given the industry an upgrade, from electronic medical records to telemedicine and mobile app technology – all of which help patients live healthier lives.
Let us continue to move at the right direction. As we continue to embrace the use of technology to deliver common and personalized healthcare, we must bear in mind the constant need for open and consistent communication between healthcare providers and patients. In this way, we will truly transform the industry to have a focused culture of helping people become healthy – and stay that way.
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