When it comes to healthcare, technology has always been a driving factor in terms of how far we’ve progressed. There was a time when X-rays were considered groundbreaking, and cancer was one of those diseases that almost meant certain doom. Look how the tables have turned. From in depth MRI’s that can tell you the position of every single slow and fast twitch fiber in your muscles, to extensive radiation and chemotherapy drugs that have been developed and lab tested to perfection and found to be super effective – Technology has always been in the forefront of health care, and it’s never stopped evolving.
Let’s look at simpler examples. At least 1 out of the 10 people you see on the street wears an activity tracker that gives him/her updates on the quality of their sleep, their resting heart rates, calories burned and sometimes even their SpO2 levels! Technology here is easing the load on health care services by simplifying and minimizing damage at the root level itself, helping you track your activity and overall physical health.
At a more macro level, the race for the vaccine was fueled solely by the technological advancements and millions of dollars that had been invested into Research and Development in some of the most high-tech facilities in the world. Without technology we’d probably still be in complete lockdowns, fearing our fate.
Dr. Glen from the Family Medicine for America’s health put’s it very objectively into words. She says,“ We believe consumer health technologies — apps, wearables, self-diagnosis tools — have the potential to strengthen the patient-physician connection and improve health outcomes.”
And to be honest, we couldn’t agree more. With that being said, let’s have a quick look at some of the brightest rays in technological advancements, that could further impact and improve health care as the years roll by!
Today’s consumer is always on the run, and doesn’t have time to book appointments and block calendars. They want the right treatment, and they want it at their own convenience. Currently, apps like Practo are absolutely dominating the market given the lockdown and isolation that people have been forced to go into. Specialists at your fingertips, prescriptions saved on your account info, appointments that you can pick and choose, we really have come a long way.
This gets even better when we think about the future of some of the local remote villages that have access to basic healthcare and doctors and nurses that have only done primary training. Telemedicine can bridge the gap (and already is) in terms of getting specialists to direct and share knowledge with these doctors and nurses, to ultimately provide better treatment for the local villagers.
2) The Internet of (Medical) Things: Wearable Healthcare
The Internet of things in medical devices lets you take a number of common medical measurements like temperature, blood pressure, glucose level, heart rate, etc. Some of the devices included are
- EKG monitors,
- smart beds,
- glucose monitors,
- connected inhalers, etc.
Patients can be supervised 24×7 in case of disease like Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, and companies like Philips are already offering holistic patient monitoring packages with a combination of healthcare devices connected to a computer network.
3) Consumer Convenience
The overall consumer journey has also gotten simplified majorly since the onset of this technological revolution. Right from Chatbots that offer assistance in solving queries around simple FAQs – like clinic hours, available appointments etc. To simplified payment methods like Scan to pay and even tracking prescriptions/bills/other paperwork for insurance purposes.
4) Empowering patients
Technological advancements in terms of diagnosis and treatment with regards to individual health have come a long way. Virtual Reality (VR) is taking long strides in the war against mental health, helping a lot of patients across the United States battle depression and anxiety. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data science have made predictive analysis so accurate that you can actually see the red flags before it’s too late.
In terms of physical health, in physiotherapy alone technology plays a major factor.
The tightest and most tense muscles are worked on by experts using soft tissue release techniques coupled with machines like the TENS machine that releases small charges of electricity into the muscle to artificially stimulate it and encourage blood flow.
Further more, devices like the Hyperice Massage gun allow patients to treat their sore muscles themselves almost as preventive medication, and keep them from becoming too stiff and sore.
The state of digital transformation in healthcare in 2022 looks quite exciting, doesn’t it? We haven’t even been able to scratch the surface entirely with regards to what technology is capable of. As with any industry, the goal is to create products and services that improve lives or fulfil a want or necessity. Technology can definitely help you realize this goal!