The impact of technology has been phenomenal over the years. What was once unimaginable and a mere fantasy has now become reality thanks to advancements in technology. From the business world, through the educational industry, into our homes and so many other aspects of our lives, it has improved things significantly.
From devices such as pacemakers, medical alert devices, and health trackers to the storing of digital healthcare information and the latest Telehealth platforms, we’ll look at how technology has affected the healthcare sector, and whether it’s made it better or created some problems.
Easier Access to Information
One of the biggest impacts technology has had is to make access to information both easier and faster. This applies not just for healthcare professionals, but patients as well.
Gone are the days when healthcare professionals had to rely on physical records. Patient information can now be stored digitally, not only saving costs but freeing up space as well. Physical storage still has a part to play, but a large percentage of patient records is now digitized. This is far more convenient for doctors because it allows them to access information easily.
Sharing information with other parties can also be done simply and quickly, as long as both parties have a good internet connection. It saves doctors time and allows them to make critical decisions in time.
Better Patient Care
It is now much easier to take care of patients thanks to technology. Patient’s personal health can be tracked easily thanks to devices such as health trackers, pacemakers, and much more.
Should a problem arise, the data monitored via the devices can be shared with doctors who can then diagnose what’s wrong with the patient, without them having to be there physically.
Modern hospital equipment has helped the medical profession increase life expectancy. Certain major surgeries would have been very risky or impossible, but now they are manageable thanks to equipment such as Capsule Endoscopy cameras. The patient swallows the camera and the doctors can then monitor and identify any internal issues.
Telemedicine and Telehealth
The latest evolution in the world of healthcare is telehealth and telemedicine. It’s now possible for patients to communicate with their doctors from anywhere in the world. Telehealth platforms can help patients get the help they need at just the right time from the comfort of their homes.
Using the platforms, patients can check for symptoms, track their medication, contact specific doctors, and so much more. It’s also possible for them to check if they need certain medication, order it there and then, and then get it delivered to their home.
Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality
Artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry completely. It has the ability to mine medical records and the AI algorithms can design treatment plans, develop drugs quicker than any current doctor, and diagnose cancerous and non cancerous tissue samples.
Virtual reality is changing the lives of patients and physicians alike. Looking into the future, you could travel to Spain or home while you are in a hospital bed or you may watch operations as if you’re holding the scalpel.
Pain management is one area that has benefited from virtual reality. For example, during labor pain, women are being equipped with VR headsets that allow them to visualize a soothing landscape. Patients diagnosed with cardiac, neurological, gastrointestinal, and post-surgical pain have shown a decrease in their pain levels when using VR as a stimuli.
Personal Health Devices are Hack-able
Overall, technology has helped to improve the healthcare sector, but there have been some adverse impacts. For example, personal health devices designed to maintain the health of patients can be damaging as well.
Modern medical devices generally rely on the concept of IoT to function. Unfortunately, these devices can sometimes be accessed by unauthorized parties to cause harm to a patient. They can be accessed and hacked, if not secured, for harmful purposes.
Unfamiliarity with Technology
Another downside with technology in the healthcare sector is that not everyone is tech savvy. Some patients may even be adverse to using any technology, whatever its form. Some patients may not be equipped at all to understand the intricacies of various high-tech interfaces and functionalities of the medical devices they’re being asked to use. For these people, it can be very difficult for them to operate such devices on their own.
As a result, they may misunderstand the features or run into difficulties when trying to operate them, thereby limiting their usefulness. Seamless use of technology depends on the ability of the patients, which has to be considered.
Author Name: Dawn Cowles
Dawn writes with passion and experience on issues such as personal finance, parenting, pet ownership, health and wellness, technology, environmental issues, gardening and much more. When not busy writing, she can be found getting her hands dirty in her home garden in Bulgaria.