Since time has known, business has always been a part of man’s life. As technology became a part of the business system, business activities too developed from simple barters to advanced and complex activities. Though years back IT was considered of little use with people who worked there known to be adding little value, it has now become an important structure for every business.
The growth of almost all types of business now depends on tech-savvy methods adopted to be ahead of trends and sometimes even set one. No business can now survive without the adoption of technological advancement be it farming for creating indoor farming areas or education for online classes.
An important aspect of our life is our health. Technology advancement has been the best provider for improved healthcare than any other sector. Right from reducing abuse at the hospital to the development of vaccines for healthy growth or new methods of treatment, technology continues to upgrade the health care sector in leaps and bounds. Millions of lives are saved and many have access to a better quality of life thanks to technological advancements.
Technological impact on healthcare industry
Memorable quotes have acknowledged and reminded people of the importance of good health. As humans, we too have constantly looked out for better methods and medicine to keep us healthy and disease-free. Ancient tales have been full of alchemists and potion makers that support the importance of good health for every generation.
Medicines changed year after year and new and improved methods of treating diseases were introduced. From Ayurveda to Modern medicine, the one aspect that played an important role in healthcare has been innovative and improved technology. Technological advances made health care grow holistically, be it in botany, animal care, or behavioral science.
With all types of businesses jumping on the bandwagon of improved technology, healthcare too had not been left behind. Technological advancements have improved the quality of life for not only patients who can now get quick treatment for their medical problem but also has improvised the practices of all healthcare professionals.
The future of healthcare technology that is now being developed is AI or Artificial Intelligence. The impact of this could redefine Healthcare and its field. Proper integration could absolutely eliminate human error made by experts. Human error comes under the top five leading causes of death in many countries. AI can help medical experts make the right predictions especially in cases where the condition of the patient is serious and errors or wrong decisions could cost lives.
4 Improvements brought by technology
Online record system for patients and experts
We all know the increased frustrations of paperwork. Keeping all medical records together for a long time can be hectic too. Technology has played a vital role in keeping digital health records for a long time. From diagnostics results to medical claim for insurance is now easy for all. Doctor prescriptions too can be held in the digital record to spot any errors made and their decisions can be made more accurately with a clear understanding based on the patient’s medical history and allergies. Let’s not forget the woes of doctor’s handwritten prescriptions which are very hard to read. This too can be read easily and shared with pharmacists and patients.
Here’s how an online record system can benefit both healthcare professionals and patients:
- Mobile-based apps. These are more used privately by patients who want to keep a track of their health records. It also makes it easier for patients to share their health vitals with the doctor. Patients can monitor their nutrition or glucose level at any given time of the day or at any location. This in turn helps health experts provide faster and better treatments. Health apps are now a vital part of our lives available on our phones for a better lifestyle.
- EMR systems. As the population grows so does the data increase. Medical knowledge has increased over the years. Better healthcare results in longer and healthier life. Experts or doctors cannot possibly keep track of all things about a patient neither can they use one remedy for all. A good source of information base which is easy to access makes it easier for specialists. These are also used by healthcare providers like medical centers and hospitals. They provide an integrated system to manage all hospital information like patient reports, inventory, payroll, blood bank, and much more., thereby reducing labor costs.
- Clinical documentation. This is an information portal for professionals os the health care field. They can share tips and share reviews on different topics. It enhances professional growth as experts get to know improved ways of treatments from one another.
Healthcare gadgets for continuous monitoring
Healthcare devices like trackers, wearables, and sensor-based gadgets have been very empowering for both patients as well as the professionals taking care of them. A clear report on how health is progressing is available for both sides to take control. These devices now can help you manage your weight, stress level, blood pressure, and much more! It provides the ability to take control of your own health and monitor it regularly is empowering. Even emergency situations can be avoided with the aid of these gadgets.
Here are some of the improved technology-based gadgets in the healthcare industry and their benefits:
- Smartwatches. Though they have been around since the early ’90s, it is only now gaining popularity. Smartwatches now can do all sorts of operations like counting the number of steps you have walked to keep track of your fitness level, checking your heart rate, and more. Samsung even introduced a competition wherein you can compete as to how many steps you have taken against other users, making fitness more fun. These smartwatches can even trigger your doctor in case you are going through and emergency as it sends a notification of your vitals along with your location.
- Gadgets for improved health. Hobbies based on technology gadgets is on the rise. Be it drones or a Gro-pro camera, they all aim at making people go out in the open, walk, explore and get the daily bit of exercise while having fun. To get more beautiful videos, individuals are inspired to take up more sports hobbies like rock climbing or swimming which has good health benefits. Even online games like Pokemon Go, wherein you have to explore and walk around different places to find your Pokemon can be a fun yet healthy activity.
- Smartphones. Phones today are not just a product for communication but the new and advanced features now make them a part of daily life. New apps and also in-built apps can help track your medical condition, food intake and even provide ways to have a more sound sleep. Video calling has improved the whole face of doctor-patient interactions as it doesn’t limit them to a physical location.
Marketing and communication
Technology has brought about a leap in the healthcare industry. Health care providers can now directly reach their patients suffering from specific ailments and offer their services. This creates a win-win situation for both patients who get the exact type of help they need and the healthcare business in generating the right ROI or return on investment.
It is now essential for healthcare providers to meet potential patients online. As the age of the internet progresses, the system of how customers find health services now have progressed too. Patients now have access to immense online information before they make a decision is choosing their providers. Digital marketing done right can make a huge impact on the overall performance of the business. Effective targeting can cost less in acquiring new patients than the traditional method.
Also by creating online presences, the healthcare industry can help patients who either in remote areas or in other parts of the world to know about the advanced methods of treatment provided and choose one that is cost-effective to them too.
Here are technology-based models that promote digital marketing:
- Mobile marketing. More than 50% of consumers are using their mobile to look up and research for information. Marketing campaigns and websites which are mobile-friendly are a key element to drive leads for the health care industry. For patients, it enhances their search options as they will be able to find exactly the type of special treatments they are looking for.
- Email marketing. Everyone nowadays has an email. With the age of the internet and technological support, information about a new medicine or professional services can reach thousands at a go with one click.
- Video marketing. Reviews on treatments, testimonials, and information on new techniques can now be available to the masses through video marketing. Students can even attend several lectures from different experts from their homes. This kind of marketing also impacts the health care industry and more and more people prefer to watch videos than reading.
Cost-effective access to healthcare
In a traditional setting, understanding the patient’s symptoms was time-consuming. It involved visits to the doctor to get a precise analysis. The continuous visits to a specialist for consultation were expensive as well as hard for patients who live remotely. Technologically advanced wearable gadgets can now give a clear report on the patient’s health and improvement. Doctors too can get alerts if the conditions worsen. This brings down costs effectively both financially and for people who are not within the geographical boundaries of the health care provider.
Another advancement that adds a feather to the cap of the health industry with technological advancement is access to treatments. Online pharmacies can now help patients compare costs or even find a medication that is not available around them from the comfort of their home with just one click. 3-D printing of bio-tissues and artificial limbs can eliminate high costs and also save time spent waiting for a donor.
Here are some technology-based models which make healthcare more cost-effective:
- Telehealth service. Phone and laptops today with the help of internet access can provide healthcare services. Though not for chronic cases, minor ones can easily be taken care of online saving the cost of meeting experts.
- Smart gadgets. Smart gadgets like fitness bands, insulin pumps, etc can now even help patients who need chronic care. Patients who had to be hospitalized for a long time as there were no other ways to supervise them can now be watched over from their homes. These bands allow doctors to watch and improve recommendations as they can monitor the patient’s condition in real-time. This saves the cost of hospitalisation.
- Health awareness platforms. Prevention has always been better than cure. It is also better cost-wise. Health awareness platforms that promote and caution people about diseases like AIDS, drug abuse, and others can prevent many people from being entangled in bad health in the future. This saves more money than to spend on medical treatment.
The future of technology hold for healthcare industry
Experts have debated on the boon or bane technology brings to our table especially in the healthcare sector. The benefits however have outrun the disadvantages. New and improved methods that are technology-based can now even help people who don’t have physical but mental disorders like depression, anxiety, or abuse of substance use. Therapeutic treatment available for access online now can be used effectively to treat such patients.
Future in healthcare education gets an advantage as now medical students can get access to thousands of topics from experts in their field to study and enhance their practices. Even during the time of the pandemic, technology made it possible for many students across the globe to have continuous access to learning. It also allows diverse students to come together to research and address issues.
Technology brings in a tremendous time to transform the future of health care services. Right from the methods of providing care to the patients to helping them become more aware of their improvement process. The health care industry with the technological advances method is going to make the future impactful and cost-effective for all.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.