The healthcare sector has improved by leaps and bounds since the introduction of various technologies. From making virtual consultations possible, to harnessing the use of artificial intelligence, current advancements are aimed at revolutionizing the way healthcare services are delivered.
These technologies are becoming widely accessible to facilities and individuals, benefitting both medical practitioners and patients who deserve nothing but the best care available. Here are a few examples of how technology has improved the healthcare sector:
Easy Access to Medical Information
There are around 7 billion mobile users around the world. Mobile devices are tapped on a daily basis for education and entertainment purposes. The availability of these devices, coupled with easy access to the internet, has made medical information readily available for users who may not be able to seek medical help for minor health-related questions.
The rise of social media and other platforms have likewise made healthcare practitioners and facilities more accessible to the public. Besides their websites, hospitals update their online accounts for announcements, medical breakthroughs and other useful information.
Although not meant to replace clinical services, these technologies have enabled users to check their symptoms for potential problems and connect with healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis. Additionally, would-be patients seeking a specialist for the first time will have access to clinics and professionals whom they think can provide them with the best medical care.
Virtual consultations have become more prevalent these days as the world aims to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone are the days when a patient has to wait for hours to secure a physician’s appointment. With telemedicine, patients can simply visit the hospital or specialist’s website for information. Patients can also book an appointment, or quickly schedule a virtual consultation.
A virtual care platform may come in many forms—the most common being applications that need to be installed in your devices, a website where you can log in, or chat bots run by artificial-intelligence machines that can process and analyze information.
Armed with an electronic device and an internet connection, a patient who, for one reason or another, cannot physically go to the healthcare facility, can access medical service with the greatest of ease.
Improved Healthcare Access and Service Delivery
Aside from virtual consultations, telemedicine and telehealth are two key concepts that are slowly breaking down the age-old problems in the accessibility and delivery of health care services.
Telemedicine uses digital information to provide healthcare-related services and education. It allows patients to access a wide range of services, including those needing urgent COVID-19 care. It also facilitates the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses, prenatal care, and medication, as well as homecare management. Various online tools such as videoconferencing, imaging, media streaming, are important in making telemedicine a success.
Wearable and Portable Devices for Better Health Monitoring
Laboratory procedures often take a huge chunk of waiting time in the hospital. These days, a patient can purchase internet-based wearable devices to gather and transmit health information to his or her physician who makes health recommendations or monitoring based on the data gathered.
Here are a few examples of wearable and advanced medical devices that are revolutionizing common healthcare services:
Glucose monitoring: A handy and portable glucometer is highly convenient as more and more individuals are diagnosed with diabetes. Some of these wearables are capable of monitoring blood glucose levels 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They need to be changed every few months, though. Still, having them offers a world of convenience for patients who can now continue to perform their daily activities without the need to stop periodically to have their fingers pricked.
Heart and blood pressure rates: A smart watch offers a plethora of benefits. Apart from measuring your vital signs, you can also access a map for when you’re trying to locate a new store, or have access to your mp3 player without having to hold the device. With these wearables connected to the internet, a doctor can monitor a patient’s vital signs regularly, and in real-time. These devices not only produce accurate results but can also signal your doctor when there’s something wrong. This is especially beneficial for patients whose mental state needs to be checked every now and then for potential problems.
Internal and digestible sensors for endoscopy: Anyone who’s ever had endoscopy knows how terrifying and messy it can be. With the latest technology called capsule endoscopy, a patient no longer has to endure having a long tube with attached camera inserted through the throat or rectum. With capsule endoscopy, a patient only has to swallow a capsule-sized wireless camera that’s capable of sending images of his or her digestive tract.
Monitoring hand hygiene: Wrist Wearable Inertial Sensors have been invented to remind the wearer to properly and regularly wash his or her hands. This is extremely important not only in the healthcare and food industries, but in avoiding the spread of communicable diseases.
These devices have made virtual and real-time patient monitoring possible, saving costs and time to both doctors and patients.
Reduced Waiting and Healing Times
Technology has made specific laboratory procedures and other forms of medical testing easier. Additionally, some medical procedures are currently more accurate and less invasive, with results coming in a few minutes to an hour or so.
Instead of waiting for long periods just to determine whether there’s something wrong with your body or if you’re suffering from a less serious illness, you can now cut through all the worries and have the answers almost immediately.
In the same manner, state-of-the-art medical equipment are paving the way for more precise surgical operations, minimizing scar size and healing times. Better equipment also means better delivery of medical care.
Improving Healthcare Workers’ Capacities
Besides receiving better health-related information from patients real-time, healthcare professionals are also benefitting from technology with the use of various medical apps for doctors. A more accurate means of diagnosis can be handed out with the correct information and easy access to numerous medical references, networking with other physicians, and telehealth.
Trainings on new medical procedures and other updates are likewise delivered online, which helps improve the knowledge and treatment capabilities of healthcare workers.
Faster Development of Essential Drugs
Pharmaceutical companies are benefitting from technological advances, too. With advanced pieces of manufacturing equipment and speedy research and development strategies, such as genomic sequencing, it no longer takes years to develop one useful drug. Even the testing stage has become faster with the available technologies.
Take the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, which only took less than a year to develop. Up for distribution worldwide, pharmaceutical companies continue to utilize advances to speed up production, modernize cold chain systems, and monitor distribution schemes, among other applications.
The healthcare sector continues to improve the delivery and access to essential healthcare services with the use of various technologies. If it continues to develop at its current rate, things will continue to get better for all the stakeholders, over time.