Technology has innovated every sector on the market, and its contributions toward the Healthcare sector can’t be underestimated. We’ve listed the most important technological advancements and why they’ve had such an impact:
1. Health Records:
The endless stacks of paper and filing cabinets became a thing of the past when digital recording systems were born. Nowadays, almost everything we interact with is supported by computer software, and the Healthcare industry is no exception.
The ability to store vast amounts of information for each patient and the power to access it instantly has not only made the lives of healthcare professionals much easier but has improved the quality of care provided to patients. Studies from The University of Michigan (https://umich.edu) showed a financial saving of 3% per patient due to the change from paper records to digital records, generating an astounding saving for busy hospitals.
2. Wearable Technology:
Tech companies such as Fitbit and Apple have taken centre stage as the rise in wearable tech continues to grow. Features that allow wearers to track their vitals is a substantial step forward in how everyone can keep track of their health without impacting their schedules. Apple Watch’s latest models also have a built-in ECG feature, allowing users to give themselves a full ECG test anywhere using only their watch. Additionally, all data and test results can be sent to your phone in PDF format for sharing with your doctor.
There are some wearable technology options that come complete with safety features. These come in handy for those of ill health, the elderly or even those just wanting to improve their overall wellbeing. Some of the best features include high heart rate warnings, encouragements to improve your activity time and even Apple Watch’s fall detection feature. The benefits of wearable technology have put the responsibility of health back into the hands of the patient, in a convenient and entertaining way.
Telemedicine or telehealth is a 2-way video consultation with a doctor, working in a very similar way to a face-to-face appointment. It allows the patient to explain their symptoms, receive a diagnosis, obtain prescriptions, and if necessary, be referred to a specialist. Its emergence is slowly becoming a more beneficial option for many patients with hectic lifestyles and for those who struggle to make time for doctors’ appointments.
Advantages of telemedicine include shorter wait times, the ability to have a consultation on the go and can be a cost-effective option for both patients and doctors.
4. Drug Development:
Currently, the development process for new drugs is too lengthy and costly. Often finding itself reliant on charities and investment, drug developers have struggled to make progress in several areas. However, new technology is on the horizon that could change the landscape of drug development in the future. Revolutionary concepts such as silico trials that use computer-based simulations to develop and evaluate new drugs much more quickly should improve the drug industry. The testing stages of the medicines can also be expedited with the latest technology and could lead to less human and animal testing.
Just as the drug development process, the prosthetics industry has historically struggled with the cost and quality of the production of prosthetics. Although, with 3D printing progressing well, patient-specific and cost-effective production of prosthetic limbs is already a reality for many regions and hospitals worldwide. The continuing research and practice of 3D printing prosthetic limbs will open a wealth of options for those in need.
Technology around robotics is often met with scepticism, worry and often a little fear, but in the Healthcare sector robotics are making significant headway across many areas of the industry. Research surrounding exoskeletons, the rehabilitation of spine injury patients and surgeries that require complete control, has shown that the requirement for this technology is growing daily and is anticipated to become a viable solution to many challenges throughout healthcare.
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