Healthcare technology and medical science have paved the way for tremendous improvements in patient care and cost-efficient operations. Proper usage of technology and accessibility can be a blessing in the field of diagnosis and treatment. A safer and accurate diagnosis can bring more relevant results. Not just healthcare operations, technology is also helping patients facilitate better self-care with apps. There are chatbots for emergency support, wearable devices that track and store health data and generate predictive competence.
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Why is technology important in healthcare?
The role of technology in healthcare has increased by leaps and bound over the past two decades. And more efforts have been put forth to shape societal challenges and day-to-day challenges met by specially-abled people. Together with technology, the health information protection policies, virtual reception desk, telehealth support, and customer service are also beefing up. The increased IT-enabled services and technology providers have made healthcare technology accessible to hospitals, medical departments, and patients. It aims at saving more lives and improving the quality of life.
Today and in the upcoming years, there will be hospital setups where patients will be provided treatment virtually. Physicians will diagnose problems from afar, and even most rural areas will receive proper medicinal support with telemedicine. We are also using Artificial Intelligence, Robotic arms, and automation in clinical laboratories and pharmaceutical plants. So, technology has become the lifeblood of the healthcare sector now, and without it, both physicians and patients can go.
What are the usages of healthcare technology?
The development in technology for healthcare is aimed at various usages and applications. Technology is used in everything, from hospital administrative processes to surgery and cancer research to hospital administration. It improves healthcare effectiveness throughout the industry and makes the experience of patients as satisfactory as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the areas where medical technology has been a blessing.
- Rehabilitative care: Specially-abled people often have to struggle hard to lead a normal life. Their day-to-day activities and opportunities are restricted by disability. With improved rehabilitative and assistive technology, specially-abled persons can lead a more independent and social life. There are AI wheelchairs, eye detection technology, helmets for blinds, cognitive hearing aid, legged Segway, prosthetic body parts with sensors, and so many other devices that can help overcome physical and mental disability.
- Hospital Administration: Hospitals are always overloaded with administrative work alongside patient care. The recent pandemic brought forth more technology usage in administrative work as there was a shortage of staff. There are software, tools, and apps that make it easier for clinics and hospitals to take care of administrative needs. From an Artificial Intelligence integrated workforce management system to Virtual Reality for the reception desk, peak busy hours are handled efficiently. Meanwhile, apps for appointment booking helping patients and doctors manage their time resourcefully.
- Surgery: Today, robots play a vital role in the operation theatre. The progress over the years and in the coming years will be marvelous, with robots assisting doctors and nurses in surgery. Whether it is a minor procedure or an open-heart surgery, robots can assist surgeons. Robotic and automated surgical assistance is available in various forms – from an extra set of hands to a tiny bot that crawls underneath the skin. Alongside robots, Virtual Reality is also helping doctors explain the procedure and outcomes to patients better.
- Exercise and fitness: Exercise and health fitness comprise a large section of the healthcare ecosystem. Thanks to technological experts for developing hundreds of apps, wearables, gadgets, and tools that can do everything to keep us fit, track our daily workout regimen, and motivate us to keep going. If you stay fit physically, you will reduce hospital visits.
- Accurate diagnostics: Diagnostic errors are common in healthcare. However, a variety of tools are used today to overcome incorrect and erroneous diagnosis. Technology’s role in genetics, pathology, and other diagnostic processes is unparalleled. With the use of diagnostic technology, doctors can detect deadly diseases like cancer at an early stage. Errors in filing are reduced using electronic health records, patient engagement channels, clinical decision support, medical imaging information solutions, and digital health information exchange platforms.
- Mental Wellbeing: Mental disorders can be tackled by technology to a great extent. Virtual Reality plays a significant role in fighting against depression, Alzheimer’s, and post trauma stress. Through tech backed psychological treatments like exposure therapy, patients can learn to cope with stress and not let negative thoughts affect them. The telemedicine and telehealth apps also help psychiatrists and counselors to be available to patients whenever they need.
- Drug and Pharmaceutical: The pharmaceutical sector is introducing the usage of AI and robots in manufacturing firms as well as laboratories. Automation has boosted the new wave of drug manufacturing and research. From measuring chemical combinations to identifying patients for a drug trial, the tools can perform time-consuming tasks. Digital technology also boosts the relationship between healthcare providers and patients, improves public health with a sustainable healthcare system, provides faster, affordable, and more accurate treatment for diseases. Healthcare technology has helped us win the battle over pandemics like Ebola, SARS, and MERS. Contact tracing technology has helped control COVID virus.
How to make most out of the investments?
For healthcare technology investors or providers, it is important that you come up with something useful for your target customers. If you are targeting physically-challenged persons, invest in technologies like mobility aids, wheelchairs with AI support, or prosthetic devices. If you are looking to perk up healthcare as a whole, then invest in clinical research, precision medicine, virtual reality, robotic surgery, and more such technologies. Investment in technology should be teamwork where benefits and drawbacks are to be chalked out. Design thinking is an effective process in bringing technology that can profoundly change organizational structure and facilitate better patient care. Significant ROI can be reaped where unnecessary costs can be eliminated.
Sometimes, difficulty understanding the features and functions of a device can lower its value in the market. There might be problems in transitioning to a new technology from an existing system in a hospital and medical care office. Many medical technology manufacturers, providers, and hospitals have hired third-party healthcare BPO services to make such transitions easier. The third-party service providers have healthcare technology-specific processes that help end-users or patients and hospitals, offices, and pharmacies, troubleshoot any technical difficulties. They work in close collaboration with the manufacturers to understand the device’s functionality.
Can healthcare technology bring cost benefits?
Appropriate application of medical technology enables better healthcare decision making for doctors and physicians. Targeted care can avoid redundant treatment costs and lead to accurate and early diagnostic. Medical advancements that enable earlier diagnosis will reduce long-run treatment costs and bring operational efficiency.
For healthier communities and healthier individuals, the traditional healthcare spectrum should be transformed with technology-backed healthcare systems. The skyrocketing healthcare expenses, long wait times, limited access to insurance, and drug development make it a must for healthcare businesses to introduce tech-infused care.
Alicia Johnson is an outreach consultant for multiple technologies industries. With expertise in corporate communications and practical knowledge about different technologies, she has spent the past 7 years working in the technologies industry and she loves to share her experience with readers.