Over the past few years, significant progress has been made in how technology is improving healthcare. From new ways to diagnose and treat disease to more efficient means of delivering care, technology plays an increasingly important role in our health systems.
In fact, over the next decade, we will see dramatic increases in both the amount of information available to patients and the efficiency with which that data is processed and acted upon,” said David Blumenthal, MHA, FACR, FACE, FCCP, vice president of quality and safety at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
He added that while such innovations are not a replacement for good medical practice, they can help “optimize delivery of high-quality care and reduce unnecessary costs.”
That’s why it’s so crucial for employers to understand the importance of IT in the workplace and how they as business owners can use tech tools to improve patient outcomes and save money.
New technology is improving the accuracy of diagnostic tests
One such area that has seen some progress is in diagnosing disease via blood work or as they are more commonly known as laboratory investigations. Technological advances have made it possible to perform these tests at a much faster rate, with higher precision, and less need for professional oversight.
These advanced testing methods reduce waiting times for results and can even be done at home! This removes one of the major barriers to seeking early diagnosis, which is having access to reliable testing facilities and equipment.
By using new technology, we can now do things like analyse protein fragments called biomarkers in urine or saliva to determine if someone has cancer or not. More accurate, efficient, and convenient testing means better healthcare and possibly even earlier detection when diseases are found.
New technology is improving the speed and accuracy of some surgeries
Recent developments in medical technology have allowed for more efficient, effective, and safer ways to perform various surgical procedures. Some examples are described here.
For example, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) was once reserved only for simple outpatient procedures such as gallbladder removal or hernia repair. Today, however, it has become the standard approach to many major surgeries due to its lower risk of infection and reduced pain compared to traditional open methods.
In fact, according to the American Association for Surgery of Trauma, nearly half of all general laparotomies — which are extensive abdominal openings typically required after trauma cases like car accidents or gunshot wounds — were done using MIS techniques in 2015.
Another example is robotics, an advanced computer system designed to aid surgeons in performing complex tasks. By creating your own robotic “hand” that can be remotely controlled, doctors can now perform intricate surgeries with greater precision and ease.
Overall, these technologies improve patients’ outcomes by reducing their recovery time and risk of complications. Given that most hospital care today is paid for through insurance, this also reduces the cost of treatment.
Medical professionals call this process cost-effective healthcare.
Less motion makes MRI scans more comfortable for patients
When an individual enters a hospital or clinic, they are typically asked to empty their bladder and then have an x-ray done of their digestive tract. This is due to the fact that most x-rays use radiation, and medical professionals want to make sure there is no obstruction in those areas.
But what if I told you that there’s a way to do these tests without using any radiaiton? And what if I also told you that this method doesn’t require lying down? That would be pretty cool!
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a very strong magnet to create images inside your body. But as technology has advanced, so can healthcare procedures and tools.
Recently, manufacturers have been able to come up with ways to limit the amount of movement needed to perform MRIs. This includes limiting the size of the scanner bed, suspending the need to lie down, and even creating handheld scanners.
These new technologies improve the overall MRI comfort level for patients while also reducing risk of injury should someone get close to the equipment when it is undergoing a high levels of energy.
New drugs are being developed to be more effective and less toxic
We have seen some incredible advancements in healthcare over the past few years, with new technologies improving diagnosis and treatment of disease. Technologies like MRI scans, CT scans, x-rays, blood work, and other diagnostic tests play an integral part in identifying diseases or symptoms and finding appropriate treatments.
New medications and therapies have been introduced into the market that were not available a couple of years ago. These newer, better medicines help in fighting serious conditions, which was not always the case before they came around.
By using technology to diagnose and treat patients, we can make sure that everyone has access to quality health care. It is proven that early detection of certain diseases leads to improved outcomes for patients, so this is very important.
The use of technology is helping reduce hospital stays
More and more hospitals are offering outpatient or shift-away care to patients, where people can stay at home while they heal. This is often referred to as telemedicine since it requires using technology to connect patients with doctors for treatment.
There are many benefits to this type of healthcare. It cuts down on costs by not requiring expensive medical facilities or equipment needed to give proper inpatient care.
It also helps save time, as people do not have to come into an office to receive treatments. Instead, you can easily visit a doctor through a video chat app like Google Hangouts or Skype.
Overall, there are no limitations to who can provide these services due to lack of resources or money. Anyone with a smartphone can offer this kind of care!
Dr. Vinay Kumar helped start the movement towards health via mobile apps when he opened his practice in India in 2013. Since then, over one thousand other physicians have done the same thing here in the United States.
New methods of delivering healthcare are being explored
Medical professionals have always relied heavily on technology to help them in their jobs. From recording patient visits using medical equipment, to helping with diagnosis by studying previous cases, technology has played an important part in ensuring that patients receive the best care possible.
Now, however, there are some new technologies which seem to be able to do more than just help doctors see what’s going on inside people’s bodies, but to actually fix or improve the body itself. These are sometimes called ‘bionic technology’ or even ‘techronic medicine’.
“We’re moving into this era where we can really augment our health,” says Dr William Bopp, CEO of Bionivid Health. “And I think it’s here now.”
Bionics refer to the study of bio-mechanics – how muscles work and apply force when they contract. A bionic leg, for example, would use muscle stimulation to mimic human bone structure and function, and apply appropriate loads as the person moves around. The goal is to create something better than nature gave you.
Dr Bopp notes that while bionic legs aren’t yet available, similar products already exist to restore partial functioning of other organs such as retinas (to restore sight) and kidneys (for kidney repair). And he predicts that these will soon become mainstream tools.
He gives the example of hearing aids.
Emerging technologies include 3D printing for organs, implants, and prosthetics
Recent developments in technology are exploring ways to improve healthcare through use of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and digital health devices. These new tools are getting better at detecting disease or warning us when we’re sick enough to seek help.
In fact, some experts predict that AI will take over certain tasks from human physicians within the next decade. This is because computers can process information much faster than people can!
If you’re thinking about how to improve your own overall wellness, you may be looking into more advanced therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, exercise, nutritional counseling, and/or stress management.
Acupuncture has been used around the world in various cultures for thousands of years as an effective complementary therapy for healing and preventing diseases. It works by our bodies’ natural ability to heal themselves; acupressure points communicate messages to the body to let it work on its own.
Chiropractic medicine uses manual manipulation to realign the spine and reduce chronic pain. Nutritionists evaluate what foods individuals eat and determine whether they need changes to promote healthy weight loss, increase appetite, or prevent disease. Nutritional counselors assess eating habits to see if needed tweaks are made to ensure adequate nutrition.
Stress is a major factor in poor health so professional counselors teach patients strategies to manage their stressors. Stress also affects food intake so nutritional counselors recommend finding ways to decrease stress to aid in weightloss or maintenance.
Digital health records are becoming more prevalent
It is no surprise that as healthcare technology continues to improve, we are now experiencing an era where every patient has their own digital record. This includes online medical histories, electronic medication tracking systems, and even smart devices designed to monitor vitals and warn of potential symptoms or conditions.
Overall, this is a very good thing for patients! Having access to your past medical information helps in two ways: you can compare notes with other doctors, and you can research disease processes and treatments to make better decisions for yourself or others.
Furthermore, having these tools makes it easier for professionals to stay up-to-date on your current condition and treatment. They may also be able to collaborate effectively with other physicians or hospitals for advanced care.
There are some drawbacks to having such a vast amount of data, but those are being worked on. At the moment, most people agree that having too much info at once can overwhelm anyone not used to interacting with large amounts of data.