There is no doubt that healthcare is one of the main industries which has been significantly impacted by advancements and developments in technology, science and IT. From advanced medical research made possible by technology to the opportunity for patients to speak to doctors online, it’s clear to see that technology has brought about a huge amount of positive changes to healthcare, making accessing treatments and information much easier for both patients and professionals alike. Let’s have a look at just some of the ways in which technology is making healthcare more accessible today.
eHealth and Online Clinics
We’ve all been in a position where we have a condition that we’re too embarrassed to show a doctor in person, even though we all know that doctors have probably seen it –or worse – before. However, thanks to the internet, there are now a range of online clinics and services where you can get advice from a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional online. Although it’s not usually possible to be fully diagnosed over the internet, speaking to a medical professional online can help you to determine which steps to take next when it comes to getting treatment.
Keeping Doctors Connected
Thanks to advanced communication methods brought about by the internet and technology, it’s now easier than ever for doctors and other healthcare professionals to communicate with each other instantly to gain advice and opinions. This process, known as telemedicine or telehealth, allows doctors and medical professionals to contact colleagues and other experts all over the world, meaning that patients have better access to treatment and diagnoses. Telehealth allows doctors to treat patients where they are rather than move them to a more sophisticated hospital, and is an extremely useful and effective practice during natural disasters or in developing countries.
Thanks to developments in technology, it’s now possible for patients to order medication and pay their medical bills from the comfort of their own homes. This is an excellent example of how technology has made access to healthcare much more convenient and accessible for people such as shift workers and the elderly who may find it difficult to get to a doctor’s surgery or pharmacy to pick up a prescription or pay their medical bills during normal business hours.
Security for Patient Data
The vast majority of medical practices and hospitals now use technology to store patient data, which is a vast improvement on the physical storage solutions of the past. Storing sensitive patient data physically meant that there was a higher risk of records being stolen or damaged, along with the costs for storage facilities. Thanks to technology, it’s now possible to store all patient data electronically using cloud solutions or EMR systems, making it much more difficult for data to be accessed by unauthorized persons or damaged.
Technology has brought about a revolution in the way certain patients can be treated. For example, mental health patients who are being treated with counselling or talking therapies now have the option to attend sessions in person or through online services such as Skype or instant messaging. This is a major benefit for many patients, who prefer to access treatment from the comfort of their own home. Mental health patients in particular may not be comfortable going out to an appointment which is why online counselling and such is beneficial, as it ensures that they continue to get the treatment they need.
Thanks to technology, it’s a lot easier for us to track different aspects of our health, such as sleeping patterns or exercise. Wearable devices are becoming more and more popular, with certain devices tailored for healthcare and others such as the Apple Watch allowing healthcare apps. Wearable devices can track different vital signs and symptoms, such as heart rate or tracking calorie consumption. There are also a range of devices and applications which are available for certain health conditions such as fibromyalgia or asthma, giving patients the opportunity to be in control. Devices can also send information back to healthcare professionals in real-time, a feature which is especially useful when caring for the elderly or disabled.
Better Home Care
Caring for patients at home has never been easier thanks to technology, and hospital beds are being filled for shorter amount of times with more patients being released to go home earlier than they previously would. Technology allows visiting healthcare professionals to immediately access patient data, as well as connect patients to professionals from home.
Has technology had an impact on your health? Let us know in the comments.
Content supplied by Calvin Page.