Technology has changed how care is delivered to patients. Doctors can now remotely diagnose their patients’ symptoms, prescribe medication, and give them instructions for follow-up care at home, all from the comfort of their office.
Patients can also stay in touch with doctors through online chat or video consultations, making it easier for those who cannot afford a doctor’s visit due to financial constraints or other reasons.
Today, explore how technology is transforming healthcare delivery in four ways:
1. Wrist Technology
Wearable technology can be a great alternative to insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for patients with diabetes. The wristband works by measuring the color of the patient’s skin and calculating changes in blood sugar.
Wearable technology will help patients manage their disease more easily. If they need more information than the bands can provide, the patient only needs to glance at their phone or computer screen, which can be synced with the device.
The band functions as both an alarm clock and a calculator for medication dosages, reminding users when to take their insulin and how much they should take if they do not know how much that is.
However, doctors warn that patients must still pay attention to their body’s signals and that the band should be used in conjunction with other tools, not as a replacement.
Telemedicine means the use of medical technology to provide healthcare from a distance. It has three levels:
- Teleconsultation: transmission of patient data, images, or video for medical purposes between two points in time using standard telecommunications equipment (i.e., telephone lines, cell phones)
- Telemonitoring: remote monitoring of an individual’s vital signs at regular intervals by a clinician with interpretation and advice transmitted over the telecommunications link.
- Telediagnosis: the application of medical or clinical data processing at one site for use by a clinician at another site.
The benefits of telemedicine are vast:
- Reduced Cost: Physicians working out of their homes using an Internet connection pay less overhead than those with brick-and-mortar clinics. They can also run a virtual clinic alongside healthcare customer support services for their front-end needs. This also translates into reduced costs for patients through lower co-pays and diminished fees/charges.
- Convenience: Telemedicine allows patients to receive care without leaving home. Whether they are bedridden or unable to get out of the house for whatever reason, telemedicine gives them access to medical expertise that would otherwise be inaccessible.
- Improved Patient Outcomes: Studies have shown that providing remote monitoring services can improve health outcomes and reduce hospitalization rates.
- Elimination of Geographical Barriers: Because telemedicine reduces or eliminates geographic barriers to healthcare, it increases access to a wider range of services. Individuals living in rural areas can now receive specialty care from surgeons and oncologists at major medical institutions without relocating or traveling great distances.
3. Advancing Cardiac Monitoring using Modular Sensor Systems (ACMS)
Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) and high-risk patients are at an increased risk of cardiac arrest. One of the most important factors in saving these patients’ lives is monitoring their vitals. If they go into cardiac arrest, healthcare professionals need to be alerted immediately.
An advancing cardiac monitoring system (ACMS) uses a stand-alone tablet with open-source software that is cheaper than most hospital systems and has more features such as increased portability between monitors and the ability to write new software for any piece of the system. The tablet also reminds nurses when it is time to check on patients and records their activity.
This technology will save money for hospitals and lives by increasing patient monitoring accuracy during cardiac events.
4. Virtual Reality Used in Virtual Visits (VVs)
There is a growing need for remote medical treatments and easy access to healthcare. New technology will help with both issues: y-medicine”>virtual reality (VR).
Here’s one of the many scenarios: The patient puts on VR goggles and earbuds where they see their doctor’s office from the same camera angles as if they were actually there, along with a 360-degree sound that allows them to hear beyond their field of vision. Then the doctor can examine or talk to them as if they were in person using a microphone headset.
VVs would be a great tool for people who don’t have transportation to get to their doctor’s office and can also be used in rural areas where there aren’t enough doctors. With the virtual appointment, they can go to a local hospital or clinic with the equipment needed to use the technology and visit their primary care physician from anywhere in the world.
Indeed, technology is transforming healthcare delivery. Because of this, the way we think about healthcare is changing as well. It should be more accessible and affordable.