Technology has a massive impact on healthcare. Massive is a word not even enough to describe it. From minimally invasive procedures to more access to the best health care programs and options, it can be overwhelming.
So, we are going to go further into how technology was able to change the face of the healthcare system worldwide. And how it can still change in the near future.
E- records or electronic records present a more convenient method of gathering and storing information pertinent to the patient’s condition. From past medical interventions, allergies, contraindications, lab reports, to previous diagnoses, everything will be accounted for.
Faster gathering of data
Prior to the emergence of E-records, hospitals are already keeping medical records of their patients. But this can be a long and time-consuming effort. E- records will make the life of medical accountants easier. And it’s also easier to pull out records should the patient need immediate medical attention, especially if the patient is unconscious.
It paves the way for easier and smoother collaboration between medical doctors, surgeons, nutritionists, nurses, and anesthesiologists. And this also reduces biases and limits human errors. In addition, it will also increase accountability since there will be a clear and complete record of who prescribed what. Thus, it reduces the occurrence of malpractice.
There’s also improved collaboration between disciplines. And this is something that was rather difficult and challenging to establish in the past. Now, an integrated and comprehensive medical team can be formed seamlessly. And patients can have access to this. Thus, it results in better health care, particularly with those chronic diseases.
Technology allows doctors and clinicians to gather a huge amount of data pertinent to the patient’s condition, in less time. This is also very useful for clinicians and medical professionals who are undergoing epidemiological studies and researches. And with big data, it will allow doctors to give the best and most appropriate options for patients. It will also be able to determine risk factors better and faster. Thus, saving more lives.
Lower health care cost
With medical records being digitized, this results in a lower cost in healthcare services. Since there is less time involved in producing these data, patients can benefit from a more fair bill.
With the eradication of bulky papers, the workflow will now be simplified. And this will relieve stress from healthcare workers. Thus, they can focus more on the aspects of health care that matters the most.
Makes medical record accessible to all patients
Eons ago, when you wanted to request a medical record of a family member or for yourself, you had to wait for several days or even weeks. And you might not have access to everything that you want and need to see. With an electronic health record, even patients can easily gain access to their own medical records.
Family members can also e-message their specialists to ask for relevant questions. It can also be used to schedule a medical appointment.
Telemedicine or telehealth
Telemedicine breaks the barriers of distance and proper healthcare. And this is specifically useful in rural areas where the local hospital is very far from the folks’ homes. Patients who live in rural areas and need regular consultations will also benefit the most from this advancement.
Telehealth can also save more lives in patients who live several kilometers away and require urgent medical attention. It can also be useful for health care workers who live in far-flung areas. They can gain access to workshops, seminars, and be in the loop with the latest in the healthcare industry without having to travel far.
In addition, it facilitates better monitoring, especially in chronic conditions, or when the patient cannot go to the hospital for regular consultations. It indeed overcomes the barrier of long-distance.
The development in communication, collaboration, and information will lead to a more streamlined healthcare system. Clinicians and medical practitioners can compare a patient’s data with other patients who have the same symptoms. Thus, it will lead to a better and faster diagnosis.
And it also paved the way for medical tourism too. So patients can consult with experts and specialists who are located miles away.
Professionals who desire to obtain degrees in the healthcare industry need not leave their homes. With the birth of online education, they can enroll, study, and finish a course online. They will get a degree without having to step foot in school.
This opens a lot of doors to people who are passionate about pursuing a degree in healthcare but don’t have the time to do so. Now they can conveniently study at home and in their own time.
Mobile health checkups
Mobile health apps enable people to monitor their own health and manage their wellness. These apps will encourage patients to push through with a consultation should they feel that something is not quite going right. To date, there are over 90,000 health apps in online marketing that you can download.
A health app can be relevant to a specific condition. Or it can cater to general wellbeing. There are also apps that let you type symptoms that you’re experiencing, then it will give you an array of the possible causes. So it could also prompt you to seek medical advice once you see a list of possible diseases that can be associated with what you’re feeling. Thus, it paves the way for early diagnosis.
Apart from patients, medical practitioners will also benefit from health mobile apps. It can help them monitor the symptoms of their patients better. And there are areas where mobile apps are extremely useful -care management, diagnostic, and mental health.
Weight and fitness plans are more accessible for everybody
While nothing beats a personalized nutrition and exercise plan, health apps can provide general information for those who are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. There are apps that can track your food intake and recommend an exercise that you can do at home. It also lets you track your own progress.
And obesity is a huge concern and one of the leading causes of death and other diseases. And some people are just shy to consult a nutritionist and a fitness professional. So this can benefit them the most.
Better disease control
The development of software programs was able to classify illnesses and their symptoms and causes. Thus, it will allow medical practitioners to utilize these data so that they can treat a disease at its earliest stage, or even before the disease establishes itself.
Faster and more efficient diagnosis
Clinicians can hugely benefit from technology. Instead of hovering through thick medical books, they can gain quick access to medical journals and other references. This reduces the time spent on research, specifically in drug to drug interactions and contraindications. Thus, doctors would be able to give a faster and more accurate diagnosis.
Faster claim adjudication and payment processing
What used to take weeks to process will only take a few minutes. With online eligibility verification and electronic remittances, among others, payment processing is speedier by ten folds.
The emergence of value-based care
This will be a big trend in the coming years. Value-based care means that doctors and specialists will be paid based on the value that they provide to their patients. And it won’t be based on how many patients have consulted them in a day.
This trend is rather refreshing. And it focuses on quality patient care over the number of patients. So all of us can hope for better healthcare since doctors will also strive to do so. It’s going to be a double incentive for the specialists as well. They were able to fulfill the Hippocrates oath, at the same time, they can get bigger compensation.
Are there any negative impacts?
Digitalization comes at a rather speedy train. So there could be some bumps along the way such as:
- Physicians who aren’t accustomed to intuitive smartphones and gadgets often get frustrated when they encounter a non user-friendly interface.
- The danger of cut + paste phenomena in Electronic data gathering is a reality.
It’s true that these are possibilities in a digitized health care system. But this can be eradicated with proper planning and allocating a budget for research to determine what system helps and what doesn’t.
Technology may have bad effects on health. From digital eye strain, musculoskeletal problems to problems in sleeping, this is the price of convenience. Albeit these negative effects, there are more beneficial ones when it comes to the healthcare system.
And the benefits are massive and can mean better healthcare for everyone. Besides, the lack of discipline is the primary cause of the cons that mentioned above. You don’t necessarily have to blame technology for it.