In the fast-paced world of technological advancements, the healthcare sector is no exception. The use of new technology has led to cutting-edge innovations, such as electronic health records, AI-driven diagnostics, and wearable devices (to name a few).
Technology is, without a doubt, revolutionising patient care and making healthcare more accessible, efficient, and personalized. Today we’ll have a look at some of the most impactful ways that digital medicine or telehealth has helped elevate healthcare standards at a global level.
The use of telemedicine
Telemedicine allows healthcare workers to use digital communication technologies to assist remote patients and provide healthcare services. According to the CDC, 37.0% of adults used telemedicine in 2021, and the number of users continues to increase.
With the help of this technology, doctors can provide virtual consultations and real-time monitoring of vital signs even when the patients are not in the hospital. Plus, it’s easier and faster to transmit medical data such as lab results or diagnostic images, which contributes to saving lives.
Telemedicine helps bridge the gap between doctors and remote patients or patients who have mobility issues. As such, doctors and nurses can cater to a larger number of patients. Also, more patients have access to healthcare.
Moreover, telemedicine proved extremely useful during the pandemic and lockdowns. It also provides healthcare access during times of crisis or disasters when traditional care methods may be disrupted. Overall, this technology fosters more efficient healthcare delivery systems while enhancing patient experiences and outcomes.
EHR/PM software to improve recordkeeping and management
Electronic health records (EHRs) are digital versions of patients’ essential medical information, including demographics, diagnoses, medications, immunisations, laboratory results, and treatment histories.
Put simply, EHRs eliminate paper clutter while giving medical professionals quick access to vital information. Plus, EHRs help reduce errors and make it easy to find the right information when you need it, which can lead to quicker diagnoses and treatments.
Providers can also easily share patient data with other specialists when necessary – improving care coordination. Electronic records reduce medication errors due to illegible handwriting or missing information and alert doctors about potential drug interactions.
Moreover, clinics, doctor offices, and even hospitals can use specialty-specific solutions. For instance, there are advanced nephrology EHR solutions for top nephrologists, which make it easy to keep track of specialty-specific treatments and patients.
Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a pivotal role in improving healthcare – from diagnosing diseases faster to suggesting personalized treatment plans based on pattern recognition.
AI also plays a huge role in enhancing sectors such as drug discovery, personalized medicine, and patient monitoring. Since these systems are a lot more capable of recognizing patterns, it helps reduce human error, especially in areas like image recognition and analysis in radiology or pathology.
AI is also great at identifying potential treatments and predicting their efficacy. Since an AI algorithm can easily analyze vast amounts of medical data in a short time, doctors can take a more personalized approach to healthcare. This means that we can now tailor treatment plans to individuals catering to their genetic makeup or specific needs.
3D printing technology has emerged as a game-changer in the healthcare industry, spanning various sectors with wide-ranging benefits.
Its most notable contributions include creating customised prosthetics and orthotics that provide optimal comfort for patients. Since 3D printing allows for personalized designs, patients are more comfortable wearing these items. It’s also a great way to provide better support and functionality for the wearer.
3D printing is also used in dentistry for creating personalized implants, aligners, and crowns.
But one area that shows incredible promise is 3D bioprinting. Researchers are investigating the potential of 3D bioprinting to create functional human tissues or organs using biological materials (bioinks). If successful, this technology can help reduce organ transplant wait times in the future
Furthermore, due to 3D printing, surgeons now have access to detailed patient-specific anatomical models that facilitate better planning for complex procedures, ultimately enhancing patient care and safety.
Wearable devices have made tracking one’s health much easier. Wearable devices like smartwatches encourage individuals to become more active by tracking steps taken daily, calories burnt during workouts, and hours slept. This kind of tangible feedback motivates people towards healthier lifestyles while preventing the onset of lifestyle-related diseases.
Plus, there are gadgets designed to continuously monitor specific health parameters and send real-time data to the patient’s healthcare provider. For instance, patients with diabetes, hypertension, or cardiac conditions can use wearables to track blood sugar levels, blood pressure, heart rates, and other vital signs. This constant monitoring aids in the early detection of abnormal fluctuations and timely interventions.
Wearable technology also has the potential to improve senior citizens’ quality of life. Devices like fall detection sensors alert caregivers in case an elderly person stumbles or falls; meanwhile, GPS tracking systems ensure the safety of dementia patients who might get lost easily.
The intertwining of technology and healthcare opens up an entire realm of possibilities to enhance patient care and well-being.
And, with continuous innovations emerging, the future of healthcare holds immense promise. But it’s up to us, patients and healthcare workers, to embrace the digital revolution in medicine.
Ellen Diamond , a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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