Emerging technology has impacted every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate, shop, have fun and participate in leisure activities, and also how we look after our health. Developments and innovations in technology have not only been beneficial to patients, they have also helped doctors, healthcare professionals and medical researchers to come up with more effective treatments and even cures for a range of diseases. From vaccines to online prescriptions, there is absolutely no doubt that healthcare is one of the industries which technology has had a huge impact on and created hundreds of positive changes for all involved. We’ve taken a look at some of the main ways in which technology has improved healthcare and continues to do so.
Thanks to improvements in technology, medical researchers have access to a lot more resources and information, as well as machines to aid with research work. This has impacted the healthcare industry immensely, as more and more cures and effective treatments are found for a range of diseases and conditions. Technology is helping doctors to make better diagnoses and therefore provide patients with better and more effective treatments which work.
With almost everybody in the western world having access to the internet, healthcare information has become much easier to get hold of. Although health care professionals don’t recommend putting your symptoms into Google search and diagnosing yourself, the internet has provided patients with a useful channel for discovering more about alternative treatments, information on disease and medical conditions, as well as nearby health care institutions such as hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. The internet is also an effective channel for patients to network and gain support through social media groups, forums, and apps.
Thanks to the internet and evolving technologies, it’s possible for patients to gain medical advice without even having to leave the home. Mental health patients in particular have access to online counselling services, which can be done through VOIP applications such as Skype which offer a video chat function so that the counsellor and patient can speak face to face. There are also a number of sites and forums online which are manned by qualified doctors and medical professionals, where patients can have their questions answered and advice given regarding conditions and symptoms.
Being able to pay for prescriptions and medical bills over the internet has provided patients and doctors with much more convenience than previously available. Software used by hospitals and medical practices allows patients to log into an account from home using an internet-enabled device, view their current prescriptions and order repeat medication or pay their medical bills. For patients suffering from serious conditions, the ability to order medication online and have it delivered to the door helps to minimize stress, as there’s no need to travel to a doctor’s surgery or pharmacy when medication is needed.
Secure Patient Records
Thanks to improvements in technology, gone are the days where healthcare professionals had to store patient records physically. Not only was this costly as physical space needed to be rented or bought as well as maintained in order to store the records, sensitive data was also at a much higher risk of being stolen or even destroyed. Today, medical professionals can store their patients’ information and data electronically, with many doctors and healthcare professionals using cloud based services or EMR systems for the most secure solution.
Due to improvements in communication thanks to technological advances, it’s now much easier for doctors to consult expert advice on the spot. Today, most doctors carry around a smartphone or other internet-enabled device with them, and they can use this to get in touch with colleagues and other experts all around the world if they need assistance in getting a diagnoses or want a more experienced doctor to verify their opinion. This process, known as telemedicine, is highly effective and has helped to treat a large number of patients without the need to move them to a more sophisticated hospital. Telemedicine is largely used during natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquakes when medical facilities are scarce.
Technology is also helping patients to maintain and improve their health due to the large amount of health tracking services available through applications and wearable devices. These apps and devices are available for almost any condition, such as sleep tracking, exercise tracking and calorie counting, and are even available tailored to certain conditions such as asthma or fibromyalgia.
How has technology benefitted your health? Let us know in the comments.