Healthcare has come a long way the past few decades, even more so since the industry joined forces with technology in a way that has revolutionized the sector and catapulted it into the future. Now, hospitals and the departments within them have become more tech-savvy, efficient, and productive when it comes to patient services.
But what exactly has changed? And what departments were influenced by the technology our brightest minds had to offer? Since the first steps were taken when new legislation converted patient files to electronic files instead of traditional paper files, the trend has snowballed and inspired experts worldwide to push the boundaries and deliver even better service to patients through technology. Here are just some examples of how technology has and is still shaping the future of healthcare:
Wearable medical devices have enabled health institutions to gather real-time data from their patients to make accurate predictions and track their progress. These wearable medical devices have also allowed the public to observe their health anytime and every day instead of going for a physical check-up. These wearables focus more on a preventative healthcare perspective, making it possible for doctors to track high-risk patients for potential incidents or patterns.
This changes the game entirely, seeing as the unpredictability of patients’ health has decreased tremendously since the inception of this technology. Examples of these wearables include popular consumer tech brands such as Fitbit and the Apple watch – both of which can track your heart rate, exercise and consist of many more helpful tools.
- Electronic Health Records (Blockchain)
It might sound strange at first, seeing as Blockchain is only associated with cryptocurrency trading, right? Wrong. Blockchain is simply a platform where service providers and doctors can perform transactions safely and securely.
This is revolutionizing the healthcare sector, as conversing with patients and doctors has never been easier. What makes Blockchain so revolutionary is that almost anything can be done on it, such as payments between providers and customers, information exchange between doctors, and sharing critical patient files for faster and more efficient services. The best part about Blockchain is that it is transparent – meaning no one entity can regulate or change anything on a whim.
Blockchain is also crucial to health care systems for many other reasons. Doctors and nurses worldwide struggle to manually log details about patients like their diagnoses, health records, treatment plans, etc. This leads to an inadequately structured system with fragmented and sometimes incorrect information, leading to misdiagnosis and even death.
These electronic records also contain sensitive information about the patients, such as their home addresses and credit card details. Hackers then get a hold of and sell on the black market. These administrative and security issues are eradicated with Blockchain because it is a decentralized system that is monitored and much harder to hack. The bottom line is with Blockchain, patient information is safer, and their files are much more accurate, seeing as they are registered when on blockchain and monitored. This serves as a fast, efficient, and transparent method of providing quality health care.
- AI-Enabled Medical Devices
Everyone has heard about the potential Artificial Intelligence has regarding what it can offer to the world. Now, the concept has progressed into a multi-billion-dollar market that is rapidly expanding. AI-enabled medical devices can assist with many processes in the healthcare industry and ultimately save millions of dollars in timelines and research. These devices come in various forms – from chatbots assisting in administrative duties to healthcare assistants attending checking and restocking inventory.
It is said that AI can even help with the drug development process, shortening the discovery and researching timeline by as much as four years and saving billions of dollars while doing so. Many critical patients don’t have four years to wait around for the relevant drug to be discovered, tested, certified, and mass-produced, so the AI assistance will also save thousands of lives by accelerating the entire process.
Researchers also found that cancer patients who, in the past, received conventional treatments and had a very high failure rate can now receive tailormade treatment plans based on their genetics, diet, and lifestyle – maximizing their chance at recovery astronomically. AI-fueled computer programs also analyze an exponential number of pathology images of different cancers to give very accurate diagnoses and advise on the best possible anti-cancer drug combinations.
- Big Data
Big data refers to collecting information from various social media and online platforms to make accurate predictions and pinpoint trends for future reference. As a result, big data can have multiple benefits, such as analyzing previous admission rates and predicting patterns. This will enable hospitals to allocate the right number of staff accordingly and, as a result, decrease waiting times in emergency rooms and increase staff efficiency.
Hospitals will also detect recurring patients who frequently visit the hospital for the same reasons, devising a preventative plan to reduce regular patients. According to MedPage Today, these patients can make up for almost 28% of hospital visits. Lessening these numbers will enable doctors and nurses to attend to the other 72% of patients more quickly and swiftly. Therefore, by organizing the hospital’s data by hiring an expert to compile all the relevant information and analytics into an organized system, doctors and nurses will better understand the market and recognize the areas that need immediate attention in their hospital.
These are just some of the ways technology has drastically changed the way the healthcare system operates, and in doing so, changed the way patients receive services from their doctors. This technology is of paramount importance to ensure that doctors and nurses have all the resources available to do their job to the best of their abilities. All of the above are crucial to the future of healthcare, and with experts still forging the path forward and finding new and innovative ways to incorporate technology into healthcare, the future starts to look more and more promising than ever before.
Wellbeing Software wrote this article. We are specialists in electronic health records.